Your health in your 30s

Posted on 7 May 2015

As you enter your 30s, you’ll start experiencing a few common aches and pains. Here’s a look at what to expect – and how to manage it.

First, the bad news. Your 20s are over, and you’re now – like it or not – a proper grown-up, with a 30-something-year-old body that doesn’t have quite the same resilience it did a decade ago. The good news? The typical aches and pains you may experience in your 30s are still manageable, and you’re young enough (just keep telling yourself that) to keep your body feeling young and strong.

Here are four typical health issues that men and women face in their 30s… along with tips on how to beat them.

#1. Your metabolism starts to slow
Expect your body-fat ratio to increase as it becomes tougher to keep off weight – or, conversely, easier to put on weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers… so you’ll need to work extra hard to keep those love handles at bay.

Move to an exercise programme that includes walking, running, cycling or swimming. Any aerobic activity is good, and will help to keep you in shape. Remember to match this with a balanced, healthy diet, that’s low on processed foods and saturated fats, and packed with fruits and vegetables.

#2. Bone loss begins
… but, at this stage of your life, that sounds worse than it actually is. In your 30s, your body will start breaking down your bones faster than it builds them up, which could lead to osteoporosis (a bone-thinning disease) in a few decades’ time. Prevent this by making sure your diet is rich in calcium, and by doing a combination of aerobic and strength training (weight lifting) exercises.

#3. Stress gets worse
And there you though high school was bad… Typically, your 30s are the decade you’ll spend trying to juggle work, kid and ageing parents. You’ll get stressed, you’ll get tired and – statistically speaking – if you’re a man you’ll be at a relatively high risk for depression.

You’ll want to smoke, drink and hit the junk food trail (especially if you’re working long hours). Don’t. Just don’t. Limit your alcohol intake, follow a balanced diet, and make time for personal activities that help reduce your stress levels. Golf, yoga, gardening, spending time with friends… whatever. And if the stress becomes too much to handle, ask your doctor for ways to manage it.

#4. You’ll feel it in your back
Think you’ve got everything under control? Your back might disagree. Lower back pain is one of the most common health problems among adults (according to one study, about 85% of people under the age of 50 reported having at least one episode of back pain).

Beat this by maintaining good posture, and by doing strength exercises using the correct weight-lifting form and technique. By the time you reach your 40s, you’ll be grateful you did.


The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.

Published in Healthy Life

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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