11 Things We Do When We Hit A Milestone Birthday

Two Caucasian women are indoors in a health center. They are wearing casual athletic clothing. They are sitting on the floor and reaching their arms into the air.

Turning 30, 40, 50 or 60 pushes millions of us into a lifestyle overhaul as new Bupa research reveals that taking part in a Tough Mudder style event, a 10k run or a marathon has replaced the stereotypical convertible sports car, that marks a milestone birthday.

The research by Bupa Health Clinics found that almost a quarter (24%) of Britons  – that’s 13 million people – sign up for a competitive event, such as a 10k run, marathon or Tough Mudder style event to mark a significant turning of age.  Meanwhile 53% of us cut down on alcohol or give it up completely, and half (50%) of us are booking in for a health MOT, following a new trend dubbed “The Zero Effect.”

Birthday party in garden all singing

The turn of a new decade prompts around half (47%) of us to make a positive lifestyle change but the point in which we do it is different for men and women. On average, women are more likely to make changes a decade earlier than men.  Women take stock of their health when they reach 30, while men are more likely to make health and lifestyle resolutions at 40.

Jake Williams Lifestyle Health Adviser at Bupa Health Clinics, says: “Entering a new decade is one of many triggers that can prompt us to think about our health. In our clinics, we often see customers coming in for a general health check shortly before, or after turning, an age ending with a zero.

“While taking stock of our health is something to be embraced and encouraged, it’s important we don’t ignore our health for the other nine years. One of the most alarming stats in our report showed that 54% saw a medical professional about a symptom they’d been ignoring until they reached a milestone age. Anything unusual or concerning should be checked and dealt with as soon as it comes to our attention.”

Here ithe full list of the top 11 actions men and women do at the turn of a new decade:

Smiling mature woman with orange juice at breakfast table outdoors

Pic: iStockphoto


Men Women
Cut down or give up alcohol Start a new healthy eating plan
Book a health MOT Have a niggling symptom checked
Start a new healthy eating plan Cut down or give up alcohol
Have a niggling symptom checked Join a gym
Decide to go travelling Decide to go travelling
Stop smoking Book a health MOT
Join a gym Seek a better work / life balance
Seek a better work / life balance Seek help with a mental health issue
Seek help with a mental health issue Stop smoking
Sign up for a competitive event Sign up for a competitive event
Go vegan or vegetarian Go vegan or vegetarian



However, while a significant birthday prompts a health and lifestyle overhaul it doesn’t last long. The study by Bupa Health Clinics shows the changes only last on average three years, although a quarter of Britons (25%) relapse within the first 12 months. Only a handful (5%) maintain their new regime for eight years or more.


Here are the top 11 positive things you’re likely to do after blowing out your 60 candles! 

  1. Booked a health MOT
  2. Started a new healthy eating plan
  3. Had a niggling symptom checked
  4. Cut down on alcohol
  5. Decided to go travelling
  6. Stopped smoking
  7. Joined a gym
  8. Got a job with a better work/life balance
  9. Sought help with a mental health issue
  10. Decided to go vegan or vegetarian
  11. Signed up to a competitive event
Portrait of happy senior woman in a kayak holding paddles. Woman canoeing with man in background at the lake.

Pic: iStockphoto

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!