In general, significant health issues are more likely to develop in our forties, fifties and beyond. So the years leading up to this time are vital. The actions that we take today – what we eat and how much we exercise will impact our health tomorrow. The following are important health issues to start thinking about in your thirties.

Screenings and check-ups

Get into the habit of going for regular screenings and check-ups. That includes pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and attending regular well-woman exams.

  • Pap smears: Should be carried out every 3 years starting at the age of twenty-one.
  • Sexually transmitted infections: Testing should be carried out once yearly. For those with multiple sexual partners, testing should be carried out more frequently.
  • Well-woman exams: Most doctors recommend doing this exam that focuses on breast & gynecological health at least once a year.

Find the time to stay active

Regular physical activity can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Additionally, regular exercise may help to combat the symptoms of stress and depression.

From making you feel happier to promoting good skin, keeping your body active has positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional health

Pregnancy and family planning

The vast majority of women, even those will into their 30’s will go on to have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies. However, it is important to know that past the age of 35, there is an increased risk of pregnancy difficulties and miscarriage. Factor this into any potential family planning. Speak to your doctor about pregnancy planning or schedule a pre-pregnancy checkup.

Strong bones and drinking lots of milk

Once women reach their thirties, the body starts to lose more bone than it produces. Bone and joint health are frequently overlooked but the loss of bone mass as we age might become a problem in later life.

Balance bone loss by:

  • Doing weight-bearing exercises.
  • Eating a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium.
  • Take up Yoga or Pilates.

Eat well and check your cholesterol

You’ll thank yourself later. During this decade:

  • Cut out as many processed foods as possible (ie. those with high salt or low nutritional value).
  • Fill up on lean proteins and omega-3s like fish, eggs and nuts.
  • For every meal, remember that fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate.

Tip: If you’ve never had a cholesterol check, speak to your doctor about getting one done. Having your cholesterol checked at this age is not mandatory. But it can be a good early warning sign. If results show your cholesterol levels are fine, then great. You won’t need to have them checked again for another few years. If the numbers aren’t’ great, then this is a perfect opportunity to have a conversation with your doctor about how you can improve your diet and exercise.