If your teen years were for rebelling and your early to mid 20s were all about exploration, then your 30s should be about learning from old lessons, putting bad habits to bed and setting new wisdom to work for you and your future. No matter what your age, the sooner you start these seven significant steps, the better:
2. …And get comfortable in the kitchen. One of the best ways to know that you’re eating according to your plan is to cook for yourself. That way, you’ll never have to guess what ingredients you’re putting in your body and you can control the portions and flavors yourself. Need help making the transition from take-out slave to kitchen queen? Start with these articles on how to have fun with cooking and turn cooking into a habit and a hobby instead of a chore.
3. Set a bedtime. Think bedtimes are for kids? Think again. When you leave for college or get your first apartment, you might think that going to bed whenever you darn well feel like it is a hallmark of adulthood. But the truth is just the opposite. Setting a regular sleep-wake schedule helps you maintain a healthy body weight, manage stress and keep your skin glowing and wrinkle-free.
4. Try yoga or meditation. Meditation helps maintain your brain cells and preserve memory-related functions, and the stress-reduction component helps prevent such conditions as depression and anxiety disorder. To meditate, all you need is a quiet room. With your eyes partially closed, focus on your breathing and repeat the same word or phrase over and over again—it doesn’t have to be “ohm,” but it’s a good place to start. Much like meditation, yoga does a lot for you without looking like it—and there’s a meditative aspect to it, too. Yoga increases your flexibility, builds strength, lowers stress responses and blood pressure and contributes to longevity. It’s also is a great way to work on number five…
5. Practice balance. Falls and broken bones in old age are something we don’t tend to think about until, well, old age—or worse, when we fall. But recent research suggests that the time to think about falling is well before it happens, in your 30s and 40s. That is when you need to start improving your balance, beefing up the balance trifecta of vision, inner ear and proprioception (sense of body position) before their inevitable erosion begins after 40. Try yoga poses that focus on balance—such as tree pose, triangle pose and high lunge, among many others—or stand on one foot on an unstable surface, like a pillow or a thick 1970s-style shag carpet, while swinging the other leg back and forth.