Growing old is a natural part of life, but you have the power to do it well. Here’s how to keep looking and feeling your best, decade by decade.
Bone up in your 20s.
You body builds new bone density until about age 30, so now’s the time to bolster bone health and lower your risk of osteoporosis. Eat plenty of foods rich in bone-building calcium, such as spinach, fortified orange juice, dairy products and fish. Aim for 1,000 mg of calcium from food each day (a half cup of spinach gives you 154 mg, while a half ounce of salmon will give you about 200 mg).
Save your skin in your 30s.
Protect your skin with sunscreen — applied generously and frequently, no matter the time of year. Look for products that contain retinol/retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids. (Topical retinoids help improve skin texture while alpha-hydroxy acids even out skin tone.) Be sure your product of choice has an SPF of at least 45 for best protection.
Strength train in your 40s.
Your metabolism can really take a hit in this decade, which is when you may start seeing a loss in muscle mass. Stay strong with simple weight-bearing exercises — you don’t need a gym or a stack of weights to do it! Plank pose is great for toning arms and abs, while three sets of 10 squats a day can build your leg muscles and also strengthen your core.
Make friends in your 50s.
Social networking is critical to your health, and studies show people with strong friendships have a better sense of well-being. So schedule a daily phone call with a friend or get a workout buddy. And don’t forget sexual intimacy either: Sex has many health perks, including some bonus calorie burning.
Prioritize your beauty rest in your 60s.
Retirement can be a freeing experience, but work sometimes helps structure our lives, and if you’re not careful, a reduction in daytime activity and an inconsistent morning wake-up ritual can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Always aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye and try to set a consistent schedule so that your body takes full advantage of the restorative power of rest.
Stay flexible in your 70s — and beyond.
Exercise is as important in your 70s and 80s as it was in your 20s, so try adding regular bouts of tai chi to your fitness routine. It’s a great form of slow-moving exercise that’s easy on joints and improves balance, which can help prevent dangerous falls. It also builds flexibility and knee strength. Aim for 20 minutes each day.
Read more from Dr. Oz:
Dr. Oz’s four-step summer skin Rx
How Dr. Oz stays healthy: His seven daily health rituals
Dr. Oz on sound sleep, less stress and better sex
-Article originally published May 2013.