While most people don’t start taking their health seriously until their 40s, it’s wise to begin the process much earlier. Young professionals, even those in their early 20s, should pay closer attention to their lifestyles to ensure they’re doing everything they can to remain healthy. This will lay the groundwork for decreasing the risk of such things as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Taking Care of Your Body.
Eating well in your 20s is vital to an overall state of wellbeing, not just now, but as your mature in the future. Poor eating habits can create a deficiency of necessary vitamins and nutrients, while also adding trans fats, sugars, and high-calorie content. While nutritional cleansing programs help rid the body of some of these toxins and to inspire good health habits, a permanent change in diet is needed for long-lasting health.
For instance, research is uncovering more and more evidence that processed meats contribute to causing several types of cancer. Just by switching to a diet that replaces those foods with salmon and poultry, you can reduce your risks of developing cancer and improve overall heart health. Additionally, eating more plant-based foods, which includes vegetables, fruits, and nuts, you can pack your body with a wide range of vitamins, nutrients, and protein. Round off your diet with whole grains, such as brown rice, to add extra protein.
Studies have found that people actually begin to gain extra weight, starting in their early 20s, so this is also the time to start keeping a closer eye on the scale. By maintaining a watch on your weight, you can drop those three to five pounds, instead of waiting until you’ve gained 20 or more pounds.
Of course, regular exercise is just as important as pursuing healthier eating habits in maintaining an overall good physique. This is especially important for young professionals, who may feel they’re too busy trying to establish their careers. Even if you are living a hectic life, look for ways to add physical activity to your days, even if that means jogging to your car or taking a 30-minute bicycle ride later in the evening. The type of activity you get isn’t as important as the fact that you are doing something for your body.
Your Mental Health is Equally Important.
Equally important is your mental health and this is also something that can’t be taken for granted in your youth. In fact, those in their 20s are at a high risk of developing mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Issues of low self-esteem and poor body image concerns can also lead to the development of eating disorders. While these risks are all high, there are some things you can do for yourself.
It’s important to recognize your vulnerability to mental illness, especially if there’s a history of it in your family. By acting now, you can strengthen your mind, just as physical activity conditions the body. Begin by surrounding yourself with positive people. Choose to associate with people who make you feel good about yourself and who value your company. Research has shown that social connections strengthens the mind and can reduce the risk of cognitive degeneration later in life.
Additionally, doctors warn that poor sleep habits increase the likelihood of developing depression. It’s important to ensure you get 7-8 hours of good, quality sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, experts recommend turning off electronic devices at least 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. Drink herbal tea or take a warm bath to help yourself relax. You may also try meditating before bed.
Staying mentally fit also requires deviating from your routine. Consciously, doing something different can break up your average routine and give you something new to appreciate. It may help you develop new hobbies or interests and to meet new people. On a deeper level, new experiences force the brain to learn and adapt to new situations. This strengthens cognitive function and boosts concentration and memory.
Staying fit in your youth is important for your present, as well as for your future. By taking care of yourself now, you’ll be giving yourself a stronger mind and body for your later years, which will help in fighting off the degenerative diseases that ultimately affect us all.