There is no denying that the choices you make throughout your 20s can affect all aspects of your life as you get older.
Have you ever wondered why some old timers will say “the youth is wasted on the young?”
In many cases, they are lamenting the fact that they didn’t start certain positive behaviours and habits at a younger age. After all, the foundation to good lifelong physical and mental health starts in your 20s, but many people don’t come to realise this until they are middle aged.
An oft-cited 2012 study shows that women who developed healthy lifestyle habits in their 20s were healthier as they aged
They were far less likely to develop heart disease, the number one killer in the UK. While it’s never too later to make healthful changes, it’s always better to start early. We don’t think anything of buying expensive anti-aging skincare, but what about you internal health? What is true for eye cream is certainly also true for good nutrition and physical exercise!
Here are just some of the most effective things that you can do now, while you are still in your 20s, in order to improve your quality of life as you age.
Eat a well balanced diet
Sure, the term ‘well-balanced’ gets bandied about all the time, but what does it actually mean? Forget fad diets, buzzwords and any eating plan that suggests you cut out entire food groups. Focus instead on sensible portions (which are often a lot smaller than what is served in restaurants) of healthy foods. Whole grains (at least 180 grams per day), protein (think tofu, lean meats, legumes, and seafood), and loads of fruit and veg. It’s not rocket science, but when you cement unhealthy habits in your 20s it becomes even harder to undo them in your 30s and beyond.
Don’t beat yourself up for the occasional indulgence
Remember, there are no such things as ‘clean’ or dirty’ foods. Everything, from the greenest head of broccoli to the greasiest burger, can be part of a balanced diet that doesn’t deprive you of treats, flavours and fun.
Start a fitness routine that includes weight training and cardio
You’ve surely seen it – every New Year’s Day people flock to the gym, trying to turn over a new leaf. If you focus on building a fitness routine that works for you now you can always add in new exercises, activities and classes along the way. Your heart –and waistline – will thank you.
Spend time cultivating your bone health now
While you’re in your 20s, you don’t always realise just how important your bone health is – and will be. Osteoporosis is a disease that disproportionately affects post-menopausal women, so boosting your calcium now will help you in the long run. This doesn’t just mean slamming glasses of milk! Leafy greens and legumes pack a powerful calcium punch.