As a 20-something, you’re excited to start a career, move out on your own and meet new people. But what about developing or maintaining good health habits? Probably not so much. But being mindful at a young age can have a lifelong impact on your wellbeing.
Cultivate these nine healthy habits in your 20s to get on the road to good health!
1. Exercise Regularly. Daily exercise is essential for good health. It can help decrease blood pressure, improve blood sugar and cholesterol, and independently reduce your risk of heart disease later in life. And it’s not only good for your body, but also for your mind.
2. Get Enough Sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night. Lack of sleep not only leaves you groggy, but can lead to serious health concerns, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, consider putting away your electronics and establishing a bedtime routine. Daily exercise can also help you rest easy, as can cutting back on caffeine after noon and alcohol after 6 pm.
- If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the label, don’t eat it.
- If the package crinkles when you open it, don’t eat it.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and focus on produce and fresh meats.
- Limit white carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, etc.).
5. Wear Sunscreen. Be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when you go outside. And remember to reapply every two hours. There is no such thing as a “healthy tan”!
6. Have Safe Sex Every Time. Using condoms with all sexual encounters will not completely eliminate the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI's), but it will significantly decrease your chances of picking one up.
7. Drink Only in Moderation. If you do drink alcohol, drink in moderation and beware of oversized servings! Remember:
One drink= 12 ounces of beer (one bottle) OR 5 ounces of wine OR 1 to 1.5 ounces of liquor
8. Treat Mental Illness. If you feel depressed, have lost interest in things you used to love, or are struggling with stress or anger, reach out for help. Your physician can recommend coping strategies and treatment options.
9. Have a Positive Social Network. Studies have shown that people with quality friendships live longer, healthier lives. Your 20s are a great time to think about who you are and who you want to be and to cultivate positive relationships that help you be the best you possible.
These are just a few tips to get you on the right track to a healthy adulthood.