Health Strategist: An Essential Health Guide for Women in Their 30s

October 30, 2017

Healthy Living Through Every Decade: Advice from a Health Strategist

As a woman, health strategist and wellness doctor, I know all too well that maintaining healthy habits in your 30s becomes considerably harder, and with good reason. For one thing, more and more women are delaying starting a family until their 30s, so these years can be pretty taxing, both emotionally and physically. For another, many aspects of a woman’s physical health peak and then begin a slow decline during this decade, a natural progression that’s nevertheless difficult to accept. To boot, your career is likely in high gear, and you’re busy climbing that corporate ladder, making it tougher and tougher to carve out time for exercise and nutrition. Top it all off with a healthy dose of mom guilt and the ever-present feeling that you’re not measuring up because your life isn’t Instagram-perfect, and it’s easy to fall victim to the belief that you can never do enough, no matter how hard you try.

Say Ohm…Or Not

Yikes. Did that first paragraph make you feel a bit overwhelmed? If so, take a deep breath, and let it out. Now, do it again. Good! See? You’re well on your way toward managing your emotional stress, which is super-critical during these crazy-busy years. To set your mind at ease, you should know that this post is chock-full of simple (I promise!) steps that you can take to live a healthier, more stress-free life. You can read on for some concrete advice, but your first step is to learn how to relax! Meditating is a tried-and-true stress-relief technique that takes just minutes, helps you more the more that you do it, and has oodles and oodles of mental and physical benefits. Not crazy about meditating? No worries; there are other ways to tamp down stress, so go ahead and find the one that works best for you.

Let. It. Go!

Second, let’s do a reality check. As a television personality and health strategist, I often remind viewers that one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, whether you’re a mom, a married-without-children-wife, or a single woman, is to let yourself off the hook. Realize that life is absolutely NOT what your friends’ social media accounts would have you believe, and that their lives are just like your own—a juggling act that requires consistent effort to balance life, work, family, home, and, of course, your checkbook. Focus on you and your family, and keep your eye trained on your own goals based on what YOU (and your partner, if applicable) want. Remind yourself to forget the rest. Repeat as necessary.

Getting Physical

Okay, we’ve tackled guilt, frustration, jealousy, and other forms of emotional stress, but what about your physical health? Luckily, there’s a heck of a lot you can do to look and feel young for many, many more years yet, so don’t stress about your age. Seriously! While there are inevitable physical processes the body begins to undergo in the fourth decade of life, there are many strategies for staving off signs of aging. Let’s break it down:

Watch Your Weight

While having a healthy and respectful view of your own body is critically important for a woman of any age, it’s equally important to remember that being seriously overweight or obese is not good for your health. Luckily, despite the fact that your metabolism will slow down a little in your 30s, there is much you can do to combat the decline, and it doesn’t have to be painful or feel like deprivation. Try these two simple tricks: First, choose one of the unhealthiest aspects of your diet (just one for now) and vow to change it. Whether it be your soda-drinking habit (that includes diet!), your chocolate addiction, or your affection for fried foods, vow to cut back on one, and only have it on Sundays (and then in moderation). Two, buy a pedometer. It doesn’t need to be a fancy one—a basic model will do. Research shows that you’ll take more steps wearing a pedometer all day than not using one at all. Once you clip it on, aim for 10,000 steps per day.

Boost Bone Mass

Bone density begins to decline in your 30s, so start preserving it now by doing lifting weights twice a week to ward of osteoporosis and prevent future breaks. While it may seem hard to believe now, at some point, your body is going to become considerably more vulnerable to injuries from falls. Studies show an increased risk of mortality for older or elderly individuals who have experienced a fall that’s resulted in a broken bone. Keep those bones strong and set a good example for your kiddos (if you’ve got ‘em).

Heart-Healthy Health Strategist Habits

Yup, aerobic exercise is extraordinarily important, even with all those balls you’re juggling. As a health strategist and a mom, I understand how difficult it is to make this happen. Know that you may need to get creative now about squeezing in exercise as life gets busier. So, take the stairs whenever you can, walk the dogs around the block instead of farming the job out, and get down on the floor and play with your kids! Another great way to exercise if you happen to have children? Volunteer to coach their soccer, baseball, or basketball teams. Then get out there yourself and run around with them! The kids will have a blast and so will you. Plus, your child will adore you even more for making the time. No matter what you do, aim to get in some sort of exercise every day.

Reproductive Health

It’s tough to accept, but the reality is that most of a woman’s 30s are not actually prime child-bearing years, in terms of fertility. While this is an important thing to keep in mind, we recognize that more and more women are waiting to have children until their 30s, so take heart. It’s absolutely, completely, totally possible to get pregnant well into your fourth decade, but you should know it could, in many cases, get a little more difficult as your approach your 40th birthday. Also note that if you get pregnant once you turn 35, you’re automatically considered to be high-risk, so you may have to see your OB/GYN more often than you would if you were under 35. For many women, getting pregnant, even at 40 or later, isn’t any more difficult (phew!), BUT with advanced maternal age comes the statistical increase in the risk of birth defects. While this absolutely does not mean you rush having children before you’re ready, it does mean you should be fully aware of the pros and cons of delaying childbearing until your late 30s.

Also, many screenings and tests should begin during this decade, especially if you have a family history of cancer or heart disease. Ask your doctor which screenings you need based on your profile. Some that should begin when you’re in your 30s include those for breast cancer, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Okay, see, that wasn’t so bad, right? There is plenty you can do to stay in tip-top shape in your 30s, no matter what you’ve got going on. And remember, it’s still important to follow all my recommendations for women in their 20s now that you’ve reached a new decade. Have a question about staying healthy in your 30s? Contact me! And remember that as a television personality and health strategist, I can often be seen on various news and talk shows sharing more women’s health tips and advice, so keep an eye out for me!