Your twenties are the time to take advantage of all that energy and drive. It's a time to get out, explore and push yourself, but it's also the best time to lay the groundwork for a healthy adult life. These are our 10 rules to make your twenties the launching point for a balanced life.
1. Learn the basics in the kitchen.
It's time to move on from dorm food and frozen meals. Grab some cookbooks, a friend or your mom and get in the kitchen and start getting acquainted with cooking if you haven't yet. Learning to make your own food is perhaps the most important step in supporting your health. Develop some go-to recipes, write them down and go to the farmer's market to discover new foods and learn how to cook with them.
2. Find a form of exercise you enjoy.
This is the decade to be active as much as possible, so don't shy away from activities on your own or with friends. But you should also find a method of exercise you can commit to to manage your weight and support your heart, muscles, joints and more. Developing a routine that gets you exercising five days a week is best.
3. Stretch every single day.
While building muscle mass and a lean physique are nice, the other important way to take care of your body is to stretch it each day. Stretching, even just five to 10 minutes a day can help build additional strength, keep the joints limber and reduce blood pressure.
4. See your dentist.
Your teeth can be a major indicator of the health of your entire body, so don't skip out on your regular dentist appointment. It also goes without saying if you take care of your teeth now, there's a better chance you'll have all of them later on in your life. It's amazing the difference brushing and flossing twice a day can make, so make sure you do it.
5. Pick a stress reliever.
This decade will also be one of professional and personal ups and downs as you finish school, start your career and maybe settle down with a partner. Finding an outlet for the stress and anxiety that can come with long hours and constant changes is essential for your mental and physical wellbeing. Be it painting, playing music or doing yoga, find a way to unwind at the end of the day.
6. Avoid being sedentary.
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most dangerous, increasing your risk for disease, so this is a reminder to utilize all that energy and keep moving. Avoid too much time in front of the TV at night and on the weekends and make an effort to get up and move every hour if you sit at a desk all day.
7. Balance out your diet.
Take stock of what you're eating and how you feel and look for ways to balance out what is missing. This may mean adding a protein supplement to fuel your physical activities or a multivitamin to make up for any nutritional deficiencies. Seeing a doctor and/or nutritionist can also help determine more what your body needs.
8. Take care of your skin.
How you treat your skin now will impact how it looks later on, so do what you can to look after it. Ladies, wash off your makeup at night, guys, use a moisturizer after you shave and everybody lather up with sunscreen year round to reduce your risk for skin cancer as well as age spots and wrinkles. Making sure to eat your greens and get your essential fatty acids will also translate to better skin. And one more: Drink your water!
9. Control your vices.
It's time to ditch the bad habits. Quit smoking, take stock of how much alcohol you consume and cut back on the junk food. Plain and simple.
10. Keep tabs on your health.
You only get one body, so take care of it. Schedule your annual exams and screenings and pay attention to how you feel and the advice of your doctor(s). It takes effort, but there's no question it's worth it.
Check back next month for the latest installment in this series. Stay well!