Our bodies change constantly throughout our lives, and so too does our focus.
Every decade has its own challenges, so we’ve ask our Nutrition Expert Lisa Donaldson and our Fitness Lead Tim Pittorino for their tips on staying healthy and strong through each phase of life.
Here’s how to make good health a priority in every decade – from your 20s through to your 60s – and help prevent many age-related health conditions.
In Your 20s
Your 20s is often about socialising, studying and self-discovery. This often means parties, alcohol and fast food. Your goal in this decade is to focus on eating nutritious foods, while still having a good time. Don’t get caught up on quick fixes/celebrity diets and don’t replace a balanced meal for alcohol. Learn to cook! Try out new healthy recipes, and do weekly cook-ups so you always have something ready to eat that’s filled with essential nutrients.
Your 20s is the time to set up habits to last a lifetime. Build strength by doing regular and relatively hard resistance training like push ups, dips, and lifting weights. From 27-33 your bone density starts decreasing, so the higher you build up your base, the longer it takes to go down.
In Your 30s
For many people, the 30s is busy as working parents or singles with a big focus on career. Being organised and staying on top of meal planning is critical to keep you in control and focused on your health. Do a weekly bulk cook-up to make sure you’ve got healthy options ready to go after a long day with kids or in the office. It will make your day to day MUCH easier!
When it comes to fitness, maintaining strength and building your fitness is crucial. As your metabolism is naturally high during your bulletproof 20s it can slow down in your 30s, so keep up the weight training and build up your fitness as much as possible. It gets a little harder once you reach your 40s! Trying to get pregnant? In terms of fertility the main controllable factor is excess weight. Keep your weight in a healthy range by doing regular exercise and following a calorie-controlled diet.
In Your 40s
People in their 40s are usually juggling many demands – home, children, work, parents – so stress management is crucial. There also may be focus on anti-ageing, so choose foods like blueberries that are high in antioxidants and pack a large nutritional punch. Healthy fats are recommended too – think salmon and nuts.
As the family begins to grow, so too does the size of your car, house and food budget, as does the financial demands. Getting a regular routine of exercise is not only essential to keep up with the demands of life, but for stress relief which leads to less risk of a heart attack.
In Your 50s
A lot of woman in their 50s will be going through menopause. For many, this includes weight gain, so watch your portions. Keep hydrated from the inside out, with two litres of water per day – pack a water bottle wherever you go!
Your mantra in your 50s is “Move it or lose it!”. As you can no longer depend on youth to keep you fit and flexible, you have to prioritise these elements with more planned activities, Cycling and swimming can be good, as running may impact the joints in a negative way. Pelvic floor and strength is also important as muscle mass continues to decrease unless adequately stimulated. Your main fitness goal? To make exercise fun and pleasurable.
In Your 60s
Bone health is crucial in this decade. Ensure an adequate intake of calcium rich foods to ward off osteoporosis and arthritis. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent medications, diseases and conditions like high blood pressure.
Once you hit your 60s, your focus is maintenance. While you can certainly improve if you have exercised regularly for the past few decades, now is not the time for personal bests, rather for maintaining the flexibility, fitness and strength levels achieved. Different, safer activities such as bush walking, rather than road running, or weight training to keep up strength are best.