Men's health through the decades

The basic health message is the same for all blokes—eat well, don't smoke, go easy on the booze and keep fit. But as you get older there are some specific things to look out for.

This decade-by-decade guide to good health runs through the years of your life, and points out some of the things you should manage as you get older.

Each decade has a checklist of things for you or your doctor to check out.

Health in your 20s

Your 20s are an exciting time. You may be starting a career, travelling, and just generally enjoying yourself. Chances are you’re still relatively healthy and it’s hard to imagine getting sick.

While it’s important to have fun and live your life, you should remember that a healthy lifestyle now will pay dividends in the future. Young men can overdo things—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, experimenting with drugs and having unsafe sex. Too much excess, coupled with everyday pressures, can also take their toll emotionally and mentally.

Try to start some good health behaviours now, and remember that if you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s good to talk to someone, like family, friends or your doctor.


Health in your 30s

Your 30s can see many momentous occasions occur—building your career, starting a family or paying off your first home. Your 30s are also when your health can take a bit of a backseat to other things in your life, but what you do now can directly affect your health in the coming years.

It’s worth getting a health check-up in your early 30s to see how you’re travelling—blood pressure, cholesterol and fat levels are all important measures relating to heart health and can impact on other areas too. Your doctor can discuss any areas you may need to focus on.

As career pressures increase you should make time for your family, your friends and also take time out for yourself. Try to have at least 3 alcohol-free days a week and quit smoking.


Health in your 40s

Your 40s are when things can start to catch up with you. You’re working hard, feeling a bit run-down, short on time and find you’re not getting as much quality time to do the things you enjoy.

Juggling the demands of work and family commitments can be hard, particularly if your body has started to remind you you’re not as young as you used to be.

The trick is to find a healthy work-life balance. You’ve worked hard to get where you are but that shouldn’t be at the expense of your health.  There’s no point working for retirement only to find you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it.

Get a regular check-up with your doctor. Make sure you mention any family history of prostate or bowel cancer. It’s important to stay on top of your heart health by watching what you eat and staying active whenever possible. Make time for your family and friends and if you’re still smoking–stop!


Health in your 50s

In your 50s, you should be getting an annual check-up and discussing any concerns with your doctor. Along with weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, talk to your doctor about prostate testing and start screening for bowel cancer. As you age, you may find that your physical strength, energy and libido are affected. You may like to talk to your doctor about this.


Health in your 60s

A lot changes in your 60s—retirement, the kids have left home and started their own families and you find yourself planning what to do with your free time. This can be both exciting and challenging.

Ultimately, how healthy you are determines how much you can enjoy your newfound freedom. Good health means more opportunities in retirement such as travelling and spending time with the grandkids.

Just remember, it’s never too late to start looking after your health. Eating healthy is always a good step, and even if you aren’t up to hitting the gym, just going for walks and playing with the grandkids is a great way to stay active.

Get an annual health check-up and talk with your doctor about any health or emotional concerns you might have. If you notice anything different about your body, or something just doesn’t feel right, be sure to talk to your doctor.


Health in your 70s and beyond

From 70 years on your health directly impacts your lifestyle. You should be staying as active as you can and maintaining relationships with family and friends.

The risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, mental illness and falls increase for many men during this decade of life. It can also be hard dealing with illness, increased frailty, mental decline and partners or friends dying.

It’s important to manage these changing times and do all that you can to maintain your wellbeing. It’s never too late to improve your diet, get more active, find new interests and make new friends. Many men can find this time of their life very social and an opportunity to stay busy and have fun.

It’s important to stay in touch with your doctor and let them know if there’s anything bothering you.


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