Men’s health by the decade: Your guide to staying healthy at every age

Men's Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Dec 22, 2022

Every guy wants to age well, right? But you may not know where to start, what to ask your doctor about or which health screenings to keep track of as you get older. Here’s your guide to men’s wellness through the decades.

In your 20s

In your 20s, it’s easy to feel invincible. Why worry about your health now, when you’re in your prime? But neglecting to take care of yourself during your 20s can negatively impact your health later on in life.

By starting these habits now, you can put yourself in a good place to stay healthy for a long time:

  • Establish healthy sleep habits and get 7-9 hours per night.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Learn how to cook at home.
  • Get in the habit of annual doctor’s visits, even if you’re feeling well.
  • Find a hobby that brings you joy.
  • Quit smoking and limit drinking.
  • Get tested regularly for STIs.

In your 30s

You may still feel invincible in your 30s, but you may also be experiencing big changes as work and family take priority over your own health. But these years lay the foundation for a healthy life ahead—so what you do with this time matters.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that men get a variety of screenings throughout their 30s, including for diabetes, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. These are things you may not have thought about during your 20s.

Make sure you see your doctor annually, even if you’re well. Here are a few other important reminders and things to keep an eye on during your 30s:

  • Get yearly immunizations, including your annual flu shot.
  • Add a cholesterol screen to your annual checkup.
  • Ask your doctor about screenings for diabetes and blood pressure.
  • Watch out for common signs of diabetes, including fatigue, increased thirst and frequent urination.
  • Consider starting periodic self-exams for testicular cancer.
  • Start or maintain healthy habits, like eating a colorful, high-fiber diet, getting regular exercise and sleeping 7-9 hours per night.
  • Maintain regular dental and eye check-ups.

In your 40s

When you hit your 40s, many of those healthy habits from your 30s should carry over, with a few important additions:

  • Keep body mass index (BMI) below 25.
  • Limit high-fat meals containing trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Get adequate sleep (between 7-9 hours).
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Address medical problems early.
  • Get your immunizations on schedule.
  • Maintain regular dental and eye check-ups.
  • Continue regular health screenings (like cholesterol and blood sugar).
  • Schedule your first colonoscopy at age 45.

The American Cancer Society recommends that every adult begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 45, unless you are at high risk due to family history, inflammatory bowel disease or other risk factors. The good news is, you won’t need another screening for 5-10 years, depending on which method of screening you choose.

Another issue after 40 that can affect a man’s well-being is his satisfaction with his career and himself. Mental health is one area many men neglect, but it’s one that can have a big impact on your health and happiness. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or a therapist if you’re feeling depressed, anxious or not like yourself.

In your 50s and beyond

In your 50s, life might be starting to slow down—but this is not the time to neglect your health. Your 50s are the prime time to get serious (if you weren’t already) about regular check-ups and screenings. You’ll keep these screenings up for the next several decades.

  • Continue regular check-ups with your primary care physician.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek care, even if you think your symptoms are minor.
  • Continue regular colorectal cancer screening every 5-10 years based on the screening method.
  • Talk to your doctor about your prostate cancer risks.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise and 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Pay attention to your heart health, including cholesterol and blood pressure, to help prevent heart disease.
  • Maintain regular dental and eye check-ups.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about sensitive topics like depression or anxiety, trouble sleeping and erectile dysfunction.

As you age past 50, keep up these healthy habits and stay in conversation with your doctor about your risks for certain health conditions. As you age, you can work together to keep you well for many years to come.

Find out more about primary care, or find a physician near you.

More topics to explore

We make it easy.

Healthcare doesn't have to be difficult. We're constantly finding ways to make it easy so that you can get Better and stay that way.

Better tools make it easier

We all have different healthcare needs. Handle them your way with the MyBSWHealth app. Download the app today and take a hands-on approach to your healthcare.

Text Better to 88408