AT FIRST GLANCE, DR. ANABEL LOPEZ AND MARIA LUISA SALCINES DON’T SEEM TO HAVE THAT MUCH IN COMMON, OTHER THAN BEING TWO OF OUR HEALTHY VALLEY COVER GALS THIS MONTH: DR. LOPEZ IS AN OB-GYN WHO RACES AROUND AFTER HER TWO-YEAR-OLD, AND MRS. SALCINES IS A GRANDMOTHER OF THREE. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO LIVING HEALTHY LIFESTYLES, THEY ARE MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT. THIS IS ALSO TRUE OF THE TWO OTHER WOMEN GRACING OUR COVER: DR. OLGA GOMEZ MOUNTAIN BIKES, AND DR. ANA POSADA-DIAZ MAKES HEALTHY HABITS A DAILY PRIORITY. HERE ARE THEIR TIPS, SO YOU CAN FOLLOW THEIR LEAD.

THE 20S: DR. ANNABELLE LOPEZ

In your 20s it’s all about setting the stage for what is to be a long, healthy and fit life, and no one exemplifies that better than Dr. Annabelle Lopez, 28, who says, “I try to eat healthy everyday.” In fact, she rarely eats out, preferring to sit down to dinner with her husband and her extended family: parents, sister, and grandmother. “I’m Cuban, and our food is not really healthy, but five or six years ago, we all decided to eat healthier, so we try not to fry things,” she says. She’s also determined that Sophia, her daughter, will never struggle with weight. “It’s harder to break a habit once it’s embedded, so I started when she was a baby. No Coke, no Happy Meals—she’s into broccoli now,” says Dr. Lopez.

Indeed, Dr. Lopez is building a wonderful foundation for herself, her daughter and the rest of her family while cultivating close family bonds, which cuts down on social isolation, a risk factor for heart disease.

THE 30S: DR. OLGA GOMEZ

For Dr. Olga Gomez, a pediatrician and mother of two, it’s all about time shifting. “I work one week on and one week off,” says Dr. Gomez, 37, so, during the “on” week she’s busy with her medical practice, and on her “off” week she fills her schedule with all the other activities she needs to do. “I exercise; I go to the salon for a manicure and pedicure; and sometimes I have lunch with my husband (fellow physician Jose Bejarano). I also take my kids to the park; we all like to ride bikes together,” she says.

The key to staying active is variety. Dr. Gomez not only likes to go bike riding, she also goes mountain biking, and she manages to squeeze in a half-hour family swim in the pool as well. “That’s what keeps me alive!” she exclaims. Dr. Gomez may be onto something here!

THE 40S: DR. ANA POSADA-DIAZ

 “To try to stay healthy I eat a balanced diet, walk and read a lot, and proudly care for my family with great love and joy,” says Dr. Ana Posada-Diaz, 44, exuding the sense of enthusiasm that keeps anyone young. In fact, she says, this is the time to step-up, not wind down, your exercise program. So, in addition to cardiovascular exercise, like walking, swimming or Zumba, be sure to include some strength-training exercises as well, like working with weights. Remember, your body builds muscle tissue when it’s young, so you need to work on retaining it. This will provide you with plenty of strength and endurance, now as well as later on.

IN YOUR 50S: MARIA LUISA SALCINES

If you want an example of how a healthy lifestyle pays off, look no further than cover gal Maria Luisa Salcines. Mrs. Salcines, 52, proclaims that she hates to exercise, but her exercise regimen is impressive. She does cardio (elliptical trainer or treadmill) in her home gym at least a few times a week, does sit ups and uses weights. When it comes to food, she has revamped all of her family’s Cuban recipes. “My family is Cuban and they can’t tell [that I’ve changed the recipes],” she says. And she gives herself a treat—a very tiny treat—every day. “I eat one little piece of chocolate, or four little M&Ms, or maybe a tiny Snickers bar.” She also has another healthy secret: self-fulfillment. Mrs. Salcines writes a column for The Monitor and she’s the author of “Little Things Remembered,” her memoir of being a Cuban immigrant. In other words, to stay healthy and vital, no matter what your age, there is nothing like putting your heart and soul into your work, and Mrs. Salcines certainly has found the key to that!

STAYING BEAUTIFUL …

Eating right, which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and daily exercise will help give you a healthy glow, but here are two more health tips for women of any age: If you smoke, quit, and also take your sun exposure judiciously. In addition to causing lung cancer, smoking causes wrinkles. And too much sun exposure not only leads to skin cancer but also leads to age spots and wrinkles. These two tips will not only make you healthier, but keep you looking great as well.

By Charlotte Libov