Your 20s and 30s: Bone Up.
Your bones have reached 90% of their peak mass by the time you reach your 20s; after age 30 or so, the best you can do is maintain the amount you’ve built up. So consider this your last chance for growth! Make sure your daily diet includes 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption. If you can’t get the full dose from food, bridge the gap with a supplement, but realize that with calcium, more is not better. “New data shows that excessive calcium in supplement form increases the risk of kidney stones and possibly vascular diseases,” says Felicia Cosman, MD, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. So consume no more than 2,500 milligrams a day, she says.
Build those biceps.
Your ability to build muscle also peaks in your 20s. And if you don’t do any strength training, your muscle mass will start to declineover the next 20 years, you could lose as much as half a pound of muscle per year. If you’re pressed for time, you only really need to target eight major muscle groups: biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, core (including lower back), and shoulders. You don’t even have to hit them separatelyjust do a basic sequence of squats, lunges, push-ups, biceps curls, and triceps dips (two sets of 15 reps, three times a week).
Besides the myriad other reasons why you shouldn’t smokehello, cancer!add bone health to the list. “Smoking reduces the efficiency of the bone-building cells,” Dr. Cosman says. “Plus, it lowers your body’s production of estrogen, which could cause you to go through menopause at a younger age and put you at risk for osteoporosis.”