Humans are social animals. That doesn’t mean everyone is an extrovert who loves socializing. But it does mean that having people in your life to confide in, support you, and spend quality time with is good for you. Research suggests that social interaction is important for our brain and mental health. One study found that people who have participated in social activities tend to be healthier, with a lower risk of diabetes.
Other studies have shown that having close friends keeps your brain sharp and slows cognitive decline as you age. Older adults who maintain close friendships have a lower risk of developing dementia. Social relationships are also associated with better well-being and longer life. So why not start forming lasting relationships in your 30s that will keep you healthier all your life?
Loading Up On Sugar and Skimping on (Healthy) Fat Will Age You
One of the trickiest things about entering your 30s is adjusting your diet to meet the needs of a changing body. Certain foods can be particularly detrimental to your health as you age. Despite their reputations, neither sugar nor fat is “bad” food. But it’s important to consume them in moderation and healthier forms. Reducing added sugar is a small diet change that has a big impact. Too much sugar can cause inflammation, leading to an increased risk of chronic illnesses.
Excess sugar is also associated with heart disease and certain cancers. Perhaps counterintuitively, some doctors recommend incorporating healthy fats into your diet. That includes unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish fatty fish and plant oils. These healthy fats are linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.
You May Think Chronic Stress In Your 20s Was Normal, But Cool It In Your 30s
Few things are worse for your mental or physical health than chronic stress. And studies show that women are more likely to experience stress than men. In the short term, stress causes headaches, makes it hard to sleep, messes with your mood, and zaps your energy. Being stressed for long periods due to overwork, health issues, or struggling to balance responsibilities can severely damage your health.
Chronic stress is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and cognitive issues like forgetfulness and difficulty focusing. Women with chronic stress may experience period irregularities or difficulty getting pregnant. Digestion and cardiovascular conditions are also more common in people who are chronically stressed. Finding ways to destress can be life-savingâliterally. Exercise, even just stretching, can help relieve stress and boost your mood. Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or prayer may help relax your mind and body when the stress gets to be too much.
In Your 30s Health Check Ups Become Even More Important
For women in their 30s, going to the doctor regularly is an important part of staying healthy. At your annual physical or well-woman appointment, your doctor can do routine health checks to ensure you’re as healthy as possible. The purpose of regular check-ups is not just to catch anything that might be wrong but also to prevent things from going wrong in the first place.
At your check-up, your doctor will check the health of your cardiovascular system by taking your blood pressure and cholesterol. Your doctor may also want to know about large, sudden, or unexplained weight changes, which may be a sign of serious health problems. Most women will need a pap smear and pelvic exam every three to test for cervical cancer and a breast exam to check for abnormalities, including signs of breast cancer. Annual skin cancer screening, which is more common in women, is also important.
Women Over 35 Who Smoke Are At Higher Risk Of Consequences
It should come as no surprise that smoking is bad for your health. But you may not know that smoking can cause unique health issues in women. Smoking impacts estrogen levels, which affect many aspects of reproductive health. Women who smoke may experience painful or irregular periods and premature menopause. Smoking can also cause infertility and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Smoking increases your risk of serious blood clots, heart attack, and stroke if you use hormonal contraception. This risk increases as you age, so much so that doctors warn women over 35 who smoke not to use hormonal birth control. Smoking also increases women’s risk of osteoporosis, an age-related weakening of the bones. All smokers are at higher risk of lung and throat cancers. But female smokers are also more likely to develop cervical and breast cancer than non-smokers. So quitting smoking will positively affect your health now and further down the line.
Moderate Drinking is OK, But Overdrinking Will Come Back to Haunt You
Most doctors agree that there’s no harm in having a glass of wine with dinner or an occasional cocktail. Alcohol consumption is fine in moderation, but excessive or binge drinking can cause serious health issues. Like smoking, alcohol has different health effects on women and men. Women generally metabolize alcohol slower than men, which means a smaller amount of alcohol can have a more pronounced effect.
Drinking too much impairs the function of the heart and brain. Both of these impacts happen faster and with less alcohol consumption in women than men. Women are at a higher risk of severe liver disease from heavy drinking. Alcohol consumption is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and several other cancers. Drinking can make existing health conditions like diabetes or insomnia worse.
Not Staying Hydrated Will Leave You Feeling More Sluggish Than Before
Dehydration happens when you’re not drinking enough water, leaving you feeling drained and disoriented. Most adults should drink around six and eight glasses of water a day, but few people do. Maybe you’re too busy to track how much water you’ve had or drinking soda or juice instead. Whatever your reason, now is the time to start getting hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches and make it hard to focus.
It can also lead to digestive issues like constipation and bloating and cause dull, dry skin. Over time, chronic dehydration can have serious impacts on your urinary system. Your kidneys filter waste from your body. Without enough water, the kidneys won’t function properly and may develop painful kidney stones. Dehydration can also lead to urinary tract infections. Drinking sugar-free flavored or sparkling water or adding fruit or fresh herbs might make it easier to stay hydrated.
Not Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D Will Hurt Your Bones
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to lose density and weaken as you age. Women are at a much higher risk of developing the condition than men because of hormonal changes during menopause. But osteoporosis isn’t inevitable. It’s very important in your 20s and 30s to take extra care of your bones to fortify them against bone loss later in life. The keys to strong, healthy bones are calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium is important to build your bones as you grow and keep them strong as you age. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Eating foods rich in these nutrients is an easy way to protect your bones. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium, as are green leafy vegetables, bony fish, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods. The best source of vitamin D is a bit of sunlight. The vitamin is also found in fortified foods. Both calcium and vitamin D can be taken as supplements.
Afraid of the Dentist? Poor Dental Hygiene Can Cause Serious Health Problems
Everyone knows brushing and flossing are important to avoid cavities and brighten your smile. But did you know that neglecting your oral health can cause serious health problems outside your mouth? Poor dental hygiene won’t just lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease. Several studies have linked gum disease to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
During pregnancy, poor dental health is associated with complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Pregnant women with gingivitis are seven times more likely to give birth prematurely, and their babies are at a higher risk of having low birth weight. In addition, cavities and gum infections that aren’t treated can develop into severe complications, including heart or lung infections.
Neglecting Mental Health is Just as Dangerous as Neglecting Physical Health
Taking care of your mental health is always important. Although mental health issues can affect people of any age or gender, some are more likely to affect women in their 30s. Women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression, and many are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s. Generalized anxiety disorder commonly appears in your late 20s and early 30s. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a mental health condition that can pop up in your 30s.
PMDD is an extreme form that causes severe symptoms, including severe mood changes affecting your day-to-day life. During pregnancy and after giving birth, many women experience mental health symptoms ranging from mood swings to post-partum depression. In their 30s, many women experience loneliness, relationship struggles, and chronic stress, which can impact their mental well-being. Seeking mental health care can be intimidating, but your mental health is worth it.
As you enter your 30s, sexual and reproductive health are especially important parts of your overall health. Your 30s are a good time to find a good gynecologist and get in the habit of having an annual pap smear and pelvic exam. Your gynecologist can help you figure out if you’re using the best contraception for this stage in your life.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, you may need to make lifestyle adjustments to increase fertility and reduce the risks to a potential pregnancy. If you are sexually active, you should be doing regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections like HIV, HPV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Don’t ignore symptoms. Untreated STIs can cause serious complications, including infertility, so detecting them as early as possible is important.
Your Skin Won’t Thank You For Skimping on Sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen is one of the easiest to keep your skin healthyâand you might be using it wrong. You might think you only need sunscreen on bright summer days, but that’s not true. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin during any season, even on cloudy days. Maybe you think you don’t need sunscreen because you never burn. Nope! Everyone should wear sunscreen because no one is immune to the sun’s damaging effects. Sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer.
Unprotected exposure to UV rays causes lasting damage to the skin, causing premature aging. But sunscreen is only effective against sun damage when it’s used correctly. You should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you have at least SPF 30 when you’re outdoors. Remember to apply it half an hour before being in the sun, and reapply it every two hours, more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
Your Body Isn’t As Young As It Used To Be, Don’t Risk Not Wearing A Helmet
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how many people don’t bother with safety gear when playing sports. Some people worry that wearing safety gear will make them look awkward or affect their performance. But it’s more than worth it to protect yourself against serious injuries, especially as you get older and your body becomes less resilient.
So, don’t leave behind that helmet while biking, skating, and skiing. It will keep you safe from potentially life-threatening head injuries. Safety guards and pads help prevent scrapes, sprains, and broken bones, while braces prevent joint injuries. Mouth guards are a good choice if you play contact sports like soccer or hockey or any sport with a risk of collisions. Eye protection, including sunglasses, keep your eyes safe from injury.
Not Protecting Your Eyes Will Make Vision Loss More Likely
Speaking of eye safety, there are many habits you should avoid in your 30s for the good of your eyes. One of the worst things you can do for your eyes is to fail to protect them. UV rays from the sun can aren’t just bad for your skin. They also cause lasting damage to your eyes, leading to cataracts and vision loss. A good pair of sunglasses will block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. If you wear glasses, look for ones with UV protection and keep your prescription up to date to avoid straining your eyes.
If you wear contacts, clean them thoroughly, and don’t wear them longer than recommended. Put your contacts in before applying makeup, and never, never sleep in your contacts. The blue light from computer and phone screens can also damage your eyes. If you work in front of a computer all day, consider using blue light-blocking glasses and screen filters, or rest your eyes frequently.
When was the last time you washed your sheets? If it’s been longer than about a week, there’s a good chance you might be sleeping on a petri dish. Between washes, your bed sheets harbor all kinds of gross things, including sweat, dead skin cells, saliva, hair, pet fur, bacteria, and fungi like dust mites.
When left to grow, these things can trigger allergies or asthma attacks. They can also cause skin infections, irritate skin conditions like eczema, and clog pores, leading to acne. To avoid this, strip your bed and wash your sheets in warm or hot water once a week. If you have sensitive skin, you may need to wash your sheet, especially your pillowcases, more frequently. And while you’re at it, toss your blankets into the wash every month or two.
Missing Routine Vaccinations Makes You More Vulnerable to Disease
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. Adults can also benefit from certain vaccines and boosters. For starters, you should get a flu shot every year. The shot decreases the chance of getting sick and having serious complications. Even a mild flu infection can temporarily increase your risk of heart disease. A flu shot is particularly important if you’re in a high-risk group, which includes people with diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and a BMI over 40 and those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
You should also check that you’re up-to-date on routine childhood vaccines. A tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine booster is recommended 10 years after your last dose, particularly for people who have or work with infants. In addition, a polio vaccine booster may be recommended to travel to countries where the disease is still circulating, including the U.K., Israel, Canada, and the U.S. Other vaccines you may need if you’re a world traveler are hepatitis A and B and meningitis.
If you feel stressed out when your work or living space is cluttered, you’re not alone. Research suggests that messiness has a negative impact on mental health and overall well-being. Clutter can cause overstimulation, making it hard to focus or relax. Messy living spaces are also linked to poor mental health and higher stress levels. In one study, women living in cluttered homes had higher cortisol levels, hormones released by our bodies in response to stress. Cortisol triggers inflammation, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. By decluttering, you can reduce stress, boost your mood, and give yourself a more positive outlook.
In addition, clutter can also lead to procrastination and feelings of guilt and shame, which can further exacerbate stress levels. Clutter can also create physical barriers, making it difficult to move around and complete tasks efficiently. Furthermore, a cluttered space can negatively impact social relationships, as it may be perceived as uninviting or unprofessional. By making a conscious effort to declutter and organize your space, you can create a more peaceful and productive environment, which can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
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