How my health changed after 30
Hey, remember cassettes? What about the first-ever Gameboy? Did you see the original Jurassic Park at the cinema when you were a kid? If you answered yes to one or more of the above, you’re probably in your thirties. And like 32-year-old writer and editor, JAMIE WILLIAMS, you might be noticing a few important changes to your overall health and fitness. Here, he shares his experience of getting older and what he’s come to realise since hitting the big 3-0.
Firstly, breaking habits is hard. In my twenties, I did everything wrong. I smoked, I drank lots of alcohol and I ate a ton of junk. Now, everywhere I go, I hear people telling me to do things differently: eat more veg, drink more water, do lots of yoga. I hate yoga. I really, really hate yoga. But, what I have learned is that change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Something small is usually enough. Today, for example, I’m having a break from sugar; tomorrow, I’ll try and do the same. The key is to keep things simple.
Physically I feel great, but my body isn’t what it used to be. I have a lower metabolism, my joints ache in the morning and if I’m not in bed by 9:30 pm, I really feel it the next day. I always thought people who spoke like this were exaggerating, but I now see that it’s just natural when you age.
I’m aware of my health now more than ever. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that both my parents have passed away, but I’m definitely conscious of my own mortality. I used to think I was invincible, that I’d live forever. But the older I get, the more I see that my health is not something I can take for granted.
On the plus side, my mental health is the best it’s ever been. During my twenties, I used to worry about everything – money, what people thought of me, what I was going to be when I ‘grew up’, whatever. But now that I’m in my thirties, I have a much better grip on what’s important in life. I still suffer from anxiety, but the gift of ageing means I’m much more willing to address it with healthy strategies like meditation or talking things out – rather than just drowning it in booze.
I’ve also become a pretty fantastic cook. That’s right, the guy that lived on frozen pizzas and ready-meals actually enjoys preparing real food. Don’t get me wrong, I still like a huge, greasy burger now and then, but I’m happy to say that most of my meals are home-cooked. I know exactly what goes into my body and I feel a whole lot better (and a lot more smug) as a result.
Having health insurance is now really important to me. Like many people my age, I’m succumbing to the common ailments of getting older. For example, I’ve recently been prescribed glasses, my teeth have needed the odd filling and I now need a regular massage to iron out those cricks and cracks in my back. I’m also aware that as a man over 30, I’m more likely to experience something serious, like testicular cancer or heart disease. Having health insurance gives me total peace of mind, as I know I’ll be covered if anything goes wrong.
Ageing is inevitable. Poor health doesn’t have to be. I used to believe that my health was something that just happened to me, that I didn’t have any control over the condition of my body. I now see that the opposite is true. Of course, I can’t predict what’s going to happen further down the track, but with the right lifestyle choices and a good dose of positivity, I will be much better placed to enjoy the wonderful years ahead.
Feeling your age? There are plenty of benefits to signing up for myOwn health insurance: you can claim from 50% to 70% back on extras from recognised providers up to your annual limits, and you get access to the AIA Vitality program, which rewards you for taking steps to improve your health.