Let’s face it, not all 20-somethings have health and fitness at the top of their priorities. Between the hustle of progressing in a career, maintaining a social life and in some cases starting a family, broccoli and burpees tend to sit last on the list for most of us.
But it’s not too late to change things up. In fact, your age is still very much an advantage.
As you age, your body begins to develop natural wear and tear, and your physical capacity essentially peaks in your 20s. At that point, it’s the perfect time to develop proactive habits to protect your health for years to come.
Here’s a few things to consider…
1. Adopt a realistic and sustainable exercise routine.
A German study found that people who implemented healthy habits in their 20s maintained their healthy lifestyle over time more often than those who didn’t have solid exercising and eating habits and another study at Northwestern University found that simply adopting healthy habits in your 20s provided long-term benefits, similar to those formed from being active and healthy since childhood.
One of the most beneficial exercises to start is strength training as it helps boost your metabolism, build muscle, decrease aches and pains of ageing and increase your energy levels. Cardio exercises can also help improve your stamina, lung capacity and blood pressure.
Make sure you choose exercise that you enjoy (or at least don’t totally hate) and pick something that is realistic. If you live out in the country, don’t bother driving miles to the nearest gym, just go for a run, walk or cycle. Plenty of workouts can even be done at home such as HIIT training and Youtube has thousands of video guides to motivate you.
2. Develop healthy eating habits now not later.
The Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado James Hill says, “In your 30s you start to see signs of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as diabetes or hypertension.” A decade of forewarning allows you to start thinking about the content of your diet and adjust your lifestyle now.
Your 20s are a time when you’re prone to fast food , cheap grocery shopping and a lot of alcohol. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be a difficult habit to acquire. A few simple and effective changes can include eliminating sodas (including diet soda), switching to lighter snacks like apples and popcorn, cutting back on alcohol and even making healthier choices at a restaurant. Order a water instead of a soda, or ask for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger.
3. Go for endurance skills.
Your 20s is the perfect period for endurance fitness, and a great way to develop healthy muscle mass and promote heart and lung health is to pick up endurance training.
Of course, extreme endurance sports can majorly drain your overall health, and we’re not suggesting you sign up to the next triathlon just yet so take it easy and build on your cardio levels week by week.
It’s easy to take your good health for granted when you’re young. However, now is the perfect time to apply habits that will maintain your healthy lifestyle well into your golden years.