When you’re young and full of energy, it seems hard to believe that anything could go wrong. But as many learn the hard way, health isn’t something you can take for granted. Your twenties are when your energy and fitness levels are at their peak and you can ensure they remain that way for the decades to come by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
You already know why you should do this. Increased muscle mass, reduced visceral fat, cardiovascular and hormonal benefits, increased endurance – the advantages are endless. Getting in shape is never as easy as it is in your twenties. If you don’t exercise currently, it’s an easy thing to get into. Sticking to it isn’t, and that’s where dedication comes in.
2. Eat healthy
Learning to watch what you put into your body is a great habit to learn at any age. Your body needs proper nutrition and bad eating habits will set you up for a lifetime of hospital visits. That means less junk and processed foods and more fruits, vegetables and lean meats. If you’re not eating healthy, remember that getting in shape is going to only get harder as you grow older.
3. Get enough sleep and rise early
Remember that saying about going to bed and rising early? While today’s culture encourages you to be a night owl, learning to adopt healthy sleep habits will not only help you stay (and look!) healthy, but also make you more productive. Establish a regular bedtime routine and avoiding stimulants later in the day will help you sleep earlier.
4. Ditch the cigarettes
All the horror stories you’ve heard about smoking are true. If you’re already a smoker, giving up smoking is the best thing you can do for yourself right now. Otherwise you’re just opening yourself up to a lifetime of addiction and lung/throat issues.
5. Drink more water and less alcohol
Have you heard beer described as ‘liquid bread’? It’s not a very inaccurate comparison. Alcohol isn’t strictly unhealthy. In fact, some, such as red wine have been shown to have several benefits. But there’s absolutely no drink that comes close to being as healthy for you as water, and most of us don’t get enough of it. Carry bottles of water with you to ensure you get enough throughout the day.
6. Protect yourself from the sun
UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin and eyes. It might not show in your twenties, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re older if you use SPF now. Use sunglasses when you’re outdoors and invest in a quality sunscreen. Avoid using tanning booths for the same reason.
7. Take care of your teeth
Most of us take our teeth for granted. Surprising, considering we only have a single non-replaceable set. Diligent brushing and flossing is essential so that your teeth remain strong. Poor dental hygiene might not bother you now, but they’ll definitely line up a string of dental extractions for you in the future. Get used to brushing twice a day and flossing regularly.