2021 Health Checkup: Stay Healthy in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and Beyond
It’s important to prioritize your health, but are there some things more important than others depending on your age? Integrative medicine says yes.
Let’s sort through some of the confusion so you can narrow down where to put your energy, which checkups you should consider, and when to bring on an integrative doctor to partner in your care.
Scroll through to find your decade, or read ahead to find out what health looks like at every stage of life.
Establish Healthy Habits in Your 20s
A time of self-discovering, testing your boundaries, and hopefully a bit of fun for good measure, your 20s are an important piece of your overall health puzzle. Early in life it’s important to establish healthy habits and learn which behaviors truly make you feel your best.
Educate yourself about healthy foods, learn about common detriments to your health (such as environmental toxins or hormone imbalance) and learn to love activity and movement as a part of your routine.
Identifying your baseline and laying the groundwork with healthy habits that you enjoy will go a long way in helping you maintain your youth for decades to come.
Quick Tips for Your 20s:
- Educate yourself about healthy foods and behaviors.
- Get your hormone levels tested. Your integrative doctor can help you heal hormone imbalance and identify any fertility troubles early.
- Protect your skin from the sun.
- Protect your hearing.
- Establish your health baseline. Learn to listen to your body and how to read the distress signals it sends.
Self-Care in Your 30s
One of the busiest decades of your life; you may find yourself with a demanding career, a busy home life, and an ambition that can’t be matched.
All this mental and emotional stress can build over time and begin to take a toll, though, if you’re not proactive about protecting your health. Unhealthy habits leftover from your college days are starting to become more than a nuisance, and you’re finding you’re not quite as invincible as you once were.
Take preventative care seriously during this time. Your decisions now can quickly get the ball rolling toward better health, or trigger a cascade of issues you’ll end up troubleshooting later.
Quick Tips for Your 30s:
- Keep your weight in check as your metabolism slows a little after your teens and 20s.
- Test your insulin and blood sugar levels. This can be an early sign of metabolic dysfunction you can easily reverse if caught early.
- Build stress management techniques. Careers and busy family life can be stressful–even if it’s positive stress. Find out what fills your cup and make time for self-care.
- Take preventative care seriously. Test your cholesterol, triglycerides, and other cardiovascular markers. Making small corrections now can save you a lot of trouble later.
Not sure where to start? Read: 10 Simple Things to Do for Optimal Health.
Focus on Prevention in Your 40s
Your 40s are your sweet spot. You have a level head and know what you want. Your physique still looks good enough for a mirror selfie or two, and even though you’re starting to notice a hint of stiffness in your muscles, playing with your kids is still among your favorite things.
This decade can also set the stage for a turning point in your metabolism and cardiovascular health. Support your energy-producing powerhouses, called mitochondria, with N-acetyl cysteine and acetyl-L-carnitine (you can find both in Ortho Molecular’s Mitocore)
Women, focus on caring for your adrenal glands and decreasing stress, as perimenopause is on the horizon.
If you aren’t very active, it’s time to prioritize mobility and movement as the phrase “use it or lose it” has never been more relevant. Celebrate what your body can do for you, and show it consideration and love by taking care of your abilities.
Quick Tips for Your 40s:
- How’s your insulin sensitivity? Keep an eye on blood sugar levels that have crept up in the past several years.
- Women, take care of your adrenal glands now. They’ll be picking up the slack once you enter perimenopause.
- Consider a mammogram. Women aged 40-44 should think about an annual breast cancer screening, and from 45-54 have a mammogram every year (1).
- Stay active. Find types of movement you enjoy. Sports, games, hiking, or mountain unicycling–it all counts!
Optimize Nutrients in Your 50s
Your 50s are about more than just hitting the half-century mark. Turning 50 means you get to put all your hard-earned knowledge to work, and that includes taking care of yourself.
In your 50s, cardiovascular disease risk increases, which means you should work closely with your integrative doctor to determine your individual risk factors. Never underestimate the power of diet and lifestyle choices–they’re crucial for keeping your mind sharp and your body strong.
The average age for menopause is 51, so be sure to optimize estrogen metabolism and speak with your functional doctor about navigating menopause with whole-body treatments.
Quick Tips for Your 50s:
- Transition easily into menopause by optimizing estrogen metabolism and eating plenty of healthy fats to optimize adrenal function. Want to find out what your hormones are doing? Get them tested.
- Safeguard your heart. Men over 45 should find out how well their cardiovascular system handles stress. Get an EKG, a “stress test”, and keep an eye on cholesterol levels.
- Keep up with preventive and routine screenings. The vast majority of health problems have a better prognosis and chance of reversal with early detection.
- Up your nutrient intake. Not a big fan of fruits and veggies? As you age, your body’s demand for certain nutrients increases and a limited supply can make you age faster.
Aging Gracefully into Your 60s
At the stage in your life where your kids are grown, and you have a little more time to yourself, you may begin to look at life a little differently than before. You still feel 23 years old, but your physical body is reminding you that thought might be a bit overly optimistic.
By now, you understand the benefit of small, consistent actions over time, so use this to your advantage. Maintain your lean muscle mass which will help your metabolism function efficiently, and give you the mobility you may see your peers beginning to lose. Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle as you age, is one of the key determinants of aging.
Keep your mind sharp by reading, finding hobbies, and staying engaged in conversation with your friends and relatives. Your brain relies on continued critical thinking to keep communication pathways strong and functioning. Nearly 10% of those over age 65 are diagnosed with dementia (2).
Quick Tips for Your 60s:
- Maintain muscle mass with strength training–not just cardio. Loss of muscle mass due to aging, or sarcopenia, is one of the leading causes of accelerated aging.
- Stay current with your physicals. Your doctor needs to keep an eye on any important changes.
- Determine risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Not sure how to spot signs and symptoms? Talk with your integrative doctor at CentreSpringMD.
- Support immune function. New or worsening autoimmune conditions, and increased risk of infection are major threats as immune function declines with age.
Your 70s and Beyond
Want to make sure those golden years live up to their reputation? The connection with your peers and family, your knowledge, and experience have shown you that you get out what you put in–and the same goes for your health.
Rather than focusing solely on lifespan, integrative medicine can help you focus on healthspan, because life should be about thriving, not just surviving.
Strengthen your role in your community by getting involved with neighborhood or city events. If you’re retired, you’re in a unique situation to donate your time and expertise to important causes. This helps keep your mind active and establish routine where it might be lacking.
Take care of your immune health by eating plenty of colorful, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, quality protein, and healthy fats. Don’t forget–maintaining muscle mass is important! It’s the key to staying healthy and able.
- Difficulty sleeping? Don’t ignore it. Poor sleep can wreak havoc on your brain, nervous system, and immune function. Integrative medicine doctors can help you get to the root cause and find out what’s keeping you up at night.
- Maintain muscle mass with strength training and staying active.
- Maintain your mental acuity and learn the signs and symptoms of dementia.
- Protect your eyesight against macular degeneration, the most common causes of vision loss in those over age 60 (3). Supplement with lutein and zeaxanthin, or make sure to get plenty of yellow and orange fruits and veggies.
Stay Healthy at Every Age
Functional medicine isn’t just about preventing disease, but about helping you reach optimal health for your individual body. In doing so, we can increase not only your lifespan, but your healthspan as well–giving you a greater chance to enjoy life in the best way possible.
How can integrative medicine help you stay healthy at any age? Schedule an appointment and find out how CentreSpringMD does medicine differently.