20 Health Tips to Make The Most of Your 20’s
The new rules for this decade of life
Here are the top 20 ways to improve your health in your 20’s and have a long, active life. You'll find a few surprising tips in this useful list.
Whether you opt to meditate more, get more Vitamin D, work out to improve your bone density or just have lots of safe sex, you're likely to find something that will improve the quality of your life now and well into the future.
Top 20 health rules
1. Start a mini-meditation practice. Meditation doesn’t have to take a long amount of time to be effective - even taking just 3 minutes 3 times each day to breathe deeply, visualize the positive and release anxious or negative feelings can generate huge transformation. Mini-meditation is extremely effective at interrupting negative thought patterns, releasing old beliefs and honing your mind toward a calm focus on success.
2. Go after your life and career dreams with passion and conviction, but take this time in your life to also learn how to create space and balance in your life. It’s not only good for your personal health, but will also make you a smarter, more creative and more productive worker. That might mean giving yourself 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, allowing yourself a walk during the work day to connect with nature and regroup, or putting your weekly yoga class on your calendar and honoring it just like you would a business meeting. This is a critical time for creating your life-long habits and rhythms and so is the best time to ensure you are taking your well-being into consideration when creating your daily routine.
3. Love your body. Appreciate it. Treasure it. Say nice things to it every single day. According to body image research, it’s likely that you're too hard on yourself and spend way too much time worrying about how much better you’ll look (and feel) “if only”. If only you could lose 10 pounds. If only you could remove that dark spot. If only you could afford countless beauty procedures. You’re in your 20's and your body rocks. Appreciate it so that you don’t look back and think to yourself “I wish I was as hot as I was when I thought I wasn’t as hot at all.”
4. If you like sleeping on your stomach, try to break this habit. This puts undue strain on your back and neck and can eventually cause problems like lower back pain. Sleeping on your stomach also causes premature wrinkles and changes the shape of your breasts as your face and your breasts get compressed onto your pillow/bed night after night as you sleep.
5. Drink plenty of water and get at least eight hours of sleep. It sounds simple enough and we hear it often, but many people don't actually get enough of both. An adequate amount of water and sleep daily are key to a sound mind and body.
6. Try to avoid cosmetics and skincare with toxic ingredients such as lead, aluminum, triclosan, etc. Read labels. Research ingredients. Be mindful of what you put in and on your face and body. Toxic substances even in miniscule amounts accumulate in the body over time and can cause a host of unwanted conditions.
7. Get some sun. Vitamin D can help women struggling to conceive. Women who were given extra vitamin D reduced their risk of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by 99% according to a Yale University School of Medicine study.
8. Treat your body like a temple. Respect and cherish it. And be honest to yourself. If something or someone is not good for you, or brings negativity, step away.
9. Up to age 26, women should consider being vaccinated against HPV, the cervical cancer virus. It is a safe vaccine that is standard of care and can help prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills about 4000 women every year. The HPV vaccine can also prevent cervical pre-cancer, or dysplasia, which is not fatal, but can progress to cancer and can be very stressful for patients.
10. Always have safe sex. Use protection every time you have sex, unless you’re utterly sure that a guy is in the clear where diseases are concerned. Condoms aren't foolproof, but they can lower your odds of contracting bacterial STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as those transmitted via skin contact like herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV).
11. Women should become breast cancer aware in their 20’s and report any breast symptoms immediately. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women,
the number one cancer killer of Latino women and the number two cancer killer of non-Latino women. Women should perform monthly breast exams and report any pain, swelling, lumps, rashes or other changes to their healthcare providers immediately.
12. Cut back on alcohol consumption. The risk of breast cancer is between 11% and 22% higher in women who drink alcohol compared to non-drinkers. Research shows two alcoholic drinks a day can also increase the risk of cancer of the pharynx by 75% and of the esophagus by 50%.
13. Have more sex. Having more than 200 orgasms a year can reduce your physiological age by six years, according to a study at Columbia University.
14. Add calcium to your diet. Bone mass can increase until around age 30, which will lower your risk for osteoporosis later in life. Boost your calcium intake through diet rather than supplements. Dairy is a great source, but include other food groups as well to meet the recommended daily allowance of 1,000 milligrams. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so apply sunscreen and head outdoors for 15 minutes three times a week.
15. Work out to increase bone density. Weight-bearing and strength-training exercises will exert force on your bones and stimulate new growth. Do a minimum of three weekly 30-minute sessions a week.
16. Wash your hands. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is the most effective thing you can do to prevent catching infectious illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.
17. Drink tea. There is a link between heart disease and oral health. Germs in the mouth create tiny blood clots that can cause a narrowing of the arteries, and that can lead to heart attacks. Drinking black tea is one of the best ways to fight plaque and cavities and improve your overall health.
18. Get enough folic acid. Even if you're not ready to have kids, it's crucial that you take in 400 micrograms of this B vitamin daily because it can prevent serious birth defects when you do conceive.
19. Wear sunscreen. Melanoma is the second most common cancer for women in their 20s, and other types of skin cancer are rising too. So regularly apply sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of 15, and avoid indoor tanning.
20. Schedule regular Pap tests. This quick, simple test detects cervical changes brought on by the human papillomavirus (HPV), an STD with more than 100 types. A yearly Pap test will reveal any suspicious changes and they can treated before they become cancerous.
Sources: David E. Bank, M.D.; Dina Proctor; Dr. Jess, Astroglide’s resident sexologist; Michele Periquet, health coach; Rachel Begun, nutritionist; Antonio Pizarro, M.D.