Your 30s: maintaining wellness with healthy habits

Shift gears with fitness and nutrition. Once you hit your 30s, you may notice some shifts in your weight – how much weight you gain and where you gain it. To battle back, do some shifting of your own: a downshift in caloric intake and an upshift in activity level. As you age, your body requires fewer calories. Depending on your body mass index (BMI), a woman of 30 with sedentary lifestyle needs approximately 1,800 calories per day. If you are more active, you will need more calories per day. Explore ways you can balance the amount of energy you take in (through calories from eating and drinking) with the amount of energy you burn up (through activity).

Move it. The stress avalanche of modern life may leave little time or enthusiasm for exercise. Rather than settling for a workout that fails to inspire, freshen up your routine with new moves – any moves will make a difference! You could try the countless forms of dance, yoga, or martial arts. Leave your desk for 15 minutes in the afternoon and go for a walk. Play with your kids: jump rope, shoot hoops, or hop on the latest fitness video game console. Swim, hike, or join a soccer or softball team. Explore the many variations on aerobic exercise classes at gyms these days – hula hoop, pole-dancing and strip tease, spin, or step, to name just 5 of the 5 zillion kinds out there.

Find order in the food chaos. By the time you reach your 30s, you've heard a lot of news about food: Eggs are bad, eggs are good, superfood-this, omega-that. Whether you're feeding the whole family, eating for two or eating just for you, keep in mind a few basic ideas. Freshen up your fridge with colourful, seasonal fruits and veggies. Clear your pantry of empty calorie culprits, including soft drinks and sugary juices, and stock up on nourishing essentials and wholesome go-to snacks. Cook in healthy oils, choosing canola or olive over options with more saturated fat. Focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals, paying special attention to your intake of folate, calcium, and iron if you plan on getting pregnant. Do what you can to maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol level, and avoid the foods that cause you stomach upset or heartburn.

Sit pretty on strong bones. In your 30s, you lose more bone than you produce. Losing too much bone mass now heightens your risk of slumping into osteoporosis. Balance bone loss by doing weight-bearing exercises and eating a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and folic acid. While you're still years from worrying about the fabled dowager's hump, you may notice a sag in your posture after years of sitting at desks, carrying pregnancy weight - or the weight of those children once they're born. Strength training, especially focusing on your abdominal core, will help you maintain natural, aligned posture. Yoga and Pilates could also help, as the stretching exercises elongate the muscles and support the joints.

Be good to your breasts. A woman's relationship with her breasts is a complex one. As a thirty-something, you've gone from the pre-adolescent wondering phase and the getting-to-know-you phase of early adulthood. Now, perhaps you're noticing changes in your breasts, whether you've had children or not. To keep the girls in peak form, practice some breast TLC. Wear a supportive, well-fitted bra, and don't be too shy to go in for a professional fitting. Eat an antioxidant-rich diet to fight back breast cancer risks. You should be familiar with the look and feel of your breasts by now – continue to get to know them so you can scan for any lumps. Some lumps you may find could just be benign cysts. Fibrocystic breast disease is thought to occur due to hormonal changes. Considering breast-feeding? Turns out it's as good for you as it is for your baby: studies suggest breast-feeding may actually lower your risk – and your child's future risk – of breast cancer.

Support your skin. There's no escaping time. It marches right across our skin, leaving its imprint. When you look in the mirror now, you may spot the first visible signs of time's passage – slight wrinkles, especially around your eyes and mouth. You may also glimpse dry, dull skin or, as a cruel twist, adult acne. Keep your skin properly hydrated, and exfoliate regularly to remove dry, dull skin. Use products infused with antioxidants (like CoQ10 or vitamins A, C, and E) to repair damage done by sun, pollution, stress, and the natural process of aging. Don't forget to wear sunscreen even in the winter months!

Plumb for a balance. In yoga, teachers encourage students to find their centre or their plumb line. When they do, difficult balancing poses can become restful or revitalizing. A plumb line may swing or turn sometimes, but it always finds its centre. In your 30s, strive to find your plumb line for living, a centre that you can swing back to when you've swung too far toward worry or depression. To find your centre, examine your stress-list, reconsidering all of your must-do's. Can you scratch any out, leaving more time for the things you really need? Don't let stress ravage your sleep, your sex life, or any of the other things vital to our healthy, happy survival.

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