How To Boost Longevity In Your 20s, 30s, 40s & Beyond, From An MD
For our 2022 Wellness Trends, we predicted the democratization of longevity, with new and improved at-home resources to assess your progress on the road to better health span. Essentially, it's never been easier to track your longevity in real time.
And to optimize your longevity "performance," so to speak, it only makes sense to consult performance-based doctor Myles Spar, M.D., an expert in personalized health care, advanced testing, and integrative medicine. "Be the CEO of your health," he says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. "Really figure out what you should be doing to achieve your goals, and let health be the most important tool you have."
Below, Spar breaks down exactly how to approach your longevity goals by decade so you can set yourself up for a long and healthy life—no matter your age.
In your 20s.
"The most important thing to be doing in your 20s is to stay physically active," says Spar. Twentysomethings may be more resilient in terms of a less than stellar diet and sleep schedule, which is why making movement a priority is key. It doesn't matter which type of movement you choose—we always say that the best exercise is the one that you'll stick to—just make sure you're incorporating some kind of regular activity into your routine. And if you need a little at-home workout inspo, be sure to check out our growing mbg moves library.
Says Spar, people in their 20s should also focus on how to manage their stress levels. Again, this looks different for everybody (and we have a few tips if you're not sure where to start), but it's important to find the techniques that work for your lifestyle. "Those are habits that really need to be developed early on," Spar says. "That will serve you for that health span goal your whole life."
In your 30s.
According to Spar, your 30s are where you should get specific with your health goals. "Really start to look at what is going on health-wise that could interfere with achieving your goals," he says. "Do you want to be a better spouse, a better partner, a better child? Do you want to be a better athlete? Do you want to excel in sports? Do you want to be as mentally sharp as possible?"
Reflect on what really matters to you, then do your research to figure out how you can meet those goals. "[Find] a health coach, clinician, or whoever can help advise you on the best diet, supplements, exercise, [and] stress management techniques," Spar adds.
In your 40s.
Once you hit your 40s, Spar suggests taking stock of your potential risks. "What are some things that could be coming down the road?" he poses. "[It's about] really getting those genetic tests done." Now, your genes are not your destiny, but they can help you determine what specific biomarkers you'll want to focus on.
For example, if you discover any family history or genes associated with heart health, you might want to make that a priority as opposed to someone else focusing on cognition. "Start to get more serious about attenuating those risks," Spar says, recommending you find a health care professional to advise you along the way, if you're able.
In your 50s & beyond.
"In your 50s, that's when you're really implementing some of those prevention techniques," says Spar, noting that the bulk of his patients seeking performance-based medicine fall into this age group. To stay proactive, he also recommends snagging a wearable health tracking device, if you can. That way, you can assess everything from your sleep to your stress to your blood sugar levels and make precise, personalized tweaks.
And if you are going to focus on one specific avenue, stress is a good place to start (long-term stress, after all, can affect your health in sinister ways). "At least figure out a way to know what stress feels like in your body," he says. "Get to know when you're stressed and what you could do to attenuate that. Try out different apps for meditation or breathwork, prayer, journaling. What can you be doing around your diet and supplements? Just try very consciously different things to tweak what your concerns might [be]."
We can go on and on about the best foods, exercises, and mindfulness practices for longevity, but the key is to figure out what tweaks work for your body and lifestyle. "We need to be much more proactive," adds Spar. "We need to really personalize health care. It's time."
Jason Wachob is the Founder and Co-CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of Wellth. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue, and has a B.A. in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years.