Healthy Living in Your 20s

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Tips for Young Adults: Staying Healthy

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Young adulthood can certainly be a wonderful time of life! Between the ages of 20 and 29, most people are at, or near, their physical peak; many have completed, or are close to completing, their formal education and are well on their way toward becoming independent; and some have found their life partner and have started a family. However, there are also challenges associated with life in your 20s.

It’s important to stay healthy—physically, mentally and emotionally—in your 20s and learn how to deal with the issues and concerns many of us face during this decade. Doing so can go a long way toward ensuring good health later in life.

Good Health in Your 20s

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For young adults, staying healthy commonly involves making good lifestyle choices and decisions, taking precautions to avoid accidental injuries, and following recommendations for preventative care. Healthy tips for people in their 20s include the following:

A Healthy Lifestyle in Your 20s

Eat a healthy diet to reduce your risk for heart disease and other chronic health problems like diabetes.

Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight by limiting fast foods and processed foods and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low- or nonfat dairy products.

Important nutrients that young adults often overlook include protein, calcium, potassium, healthy omega-3 fats, and folic acid (for women during their reproductive years). Pay attention to portion sizes and get in the habit of chewing your food slowly. Take supplements as recommended by your health care provider.

Do not smoke or use tobacco products. Nicotine is highly addictive and smoking and tobacco use are associated with a number of serious health problems. Also, make sure your home has working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and in every bedroom.

Avoid illegal substances and drink alcohol only in moderation (no more than 2 drinks per day for men, 1 for women). Never drink and drive or get into a vehicle with an impaired driver.

Always wear your seat belt and follow laws regarding cell phone use while driving. If you ride a motorcycle or recreational vehicle, be sure to wear a helmet.

Get enough sleep. This may be easier said than done for many young adults, but studies confirm that a proper amount of sleep at every age is essential to maintain good health.

Preventing Health Problems in Your 20s (and Beyond)

Bone mass peaks in your 20s so it’s important to build bone through weight-bearing exercises like hiking, running and strength-training to reduce your risk for osteoporosis later in life. Get regular exercise—at least 30 minutes on most days of the week—and vary your exercise program for the best results.

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Protect your skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun to reduce your risk for conditions like skin cancer, vision problems and premature aging of the skin. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that blocks UVA and UVB rays whenever you spend time in the sun.

Avoid indoor tanning salons. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and sunglasses, and stay in the shade as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, for additional sun protection.

Practice good hygiene. Shower or bathe daily, brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and follow recommendations for preventing illnesses, such as washing your hands frequently.

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