Everyone wants to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. You want to live a long, active, and engaged life – and building such a life starts now. Are you in your 20s or 30s now and having a hard time with weight management, suffering from fluctuating energy, and tackling out-of-control hormones? Do you feel that younger generations are struggling more with weight issues a lot sooner?
This has been put down to more sugar in our foods, more fast food available on-demand, more processed foods, and more stress in our lives at a younger age. Whatever the case may be, as we roll through the decades, there is a definite shift in why and what our bodies demand from us to stay fit and healthy – take it from someone who is now in her 50s and has experienced this firsthand. But I’m here to tell you it’s not all doom and gloom! I am a great believer that age is just a number, and it’s all about having the correct mindset. But like anything in life, it takes time and effort, and if you don’t nurture it, it will fail.
What We Have Going for Us in Our 20s and 30s
In our 20s and 30s, our bodies are in their prime. It’s here where we need to build the foundation for our future health. We have everything, due to our hormones being at their highest peak (though of course, they do fluctuate – we are females after all). Theoretically, if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have the following functions:
- You have the ability to recover better from a great training session.
- You can build and retain muscle mass a lot easier.
- Your bone density is at its peak.
- You can get away with not going to the gym from time to time or eating and drinking a little more than you should.
- You are more fertile, your hormones are raging, and you have a great libido.
- You have an endless supply of energy.
At this stage, you should be feeling on top of the world, and that anything is possible. You may be at the start of your new career, a young budding entrepreneur, or a female athlete in the full throes of training – the world is your oyster! But we can all have bad days, where daily stressors can zap some of that youthful power. Social media and poor self-confidence, for instance, can damage your self-worth and take a toll on your health and well-being.
When I look back to my 20s, I wish that I had the confidence I have today. When we feel we don’t fit in or we struggle with our own self-worth, this opinion of ourselves takes a toll on our health and happiness. An imbalance in our mental well-being can be just as damaging as the comfort food eating we turn to each night – in fact, they go hand in hand and can have a spiralling effect. So working on your self-confidence as well as your overall health and wellness is the key to having your cake and eating it too!
As you move into your 30s, you might find you’ve accumulated more self-knowledge and self-worth, and you may have a clearer sense of what’s important to you in life, and a little more confidence to change things that are right for you. Healthy lifestyle habits might become a little more important to you now, too, so here are a few nutrition and lifestyle tips to be on top of your game in your 20s and 30s.
1. Nutrition Is Key
No matter what age you are, choosing the right nutrition is imperative to your own health and wellbeing. Don’t join the fad diet brigade as it will set you up for a fall later in life. Your 20s and 30s are the foundation years for your health and well-being, so choose wisely.
2. Learn About Yourself
Understand your body and what makes it tick, and learn what’s important to you and your goals. Don’t be afraid to do what you want as it’s your health and well-being in question.
3. Learn Good Habits
Start applying good habits now and ensure that they are right for you. Begin with some small, quick wins. Habits take time to create, so be patient and don’t give up.
4. Learn the Fundamentals of Exercise and Nutrition
Don’t just dance to the social media beat – educate yourself on how to put your health first! Consider a variety of activities, create a strong foundation, and most importantly enjoy what you do.
5. Start Weight Training
This is important, especially for females. Our bone density mineral peaks in the late 20s and 30s, and the body stockpiles more minerals than it uses from birth to young adulthood. After the age of 35, this ratio reverses and bone mineral density decreases. You might not think about this in your 20s, but you need a strong foundation that will assist you for the rest of your life, especially when you head into menopause.
6. Get Enough Vitamins and Minerals
If you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals through your food, your body will start sending you signals. If you want to be at your best, these are some of the essential must-haves.
- Iron: It is vital to the transport of oxygen to the tissues in your body. Iron is especially important for women who are menstruating or pregnant.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants help prevent or slow down damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are waste substances produced by cells. If the body cannot process and remove free radicals efficiently, oxidative stress that can harm cells and body function occurs as a result.
- Fish oil: Omega-3s are important for heart and blood vessel health, and for reducing circulating triglycerides to lower heart disease risk. It also supports healthy joints, reduces inflammation, and optimises brain operations.
- Vitamin B-Complex: Vitamin Bs are just a good all-rounder in relieving stress, boosting cognitive performance, boosting energy, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. You normally can find enough of it in your food, although older adults may need a little more B12.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin helps our bodies absorb calcium from our diet and any supplements we may take. Vitamin D also plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones.
- Calcium: Ensuring we have enough calcium in our diet can help maintain bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
7. No filter Needed
If you haven’t started to look after your nutrition by now, then you need to get a move on. Nutrition is not just about your weight, it’s much more than that! Want to look good and have great skin? The answer is nutrition and exercise. Want to have the energy to run your empire? Nutrition and exercise. Want to have strong bones and a healthy heart? Nutrition and exercise!
8. Create Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep is so important for both our physical and mental health. A healthy bedtime routine can boost your immune system and sharpen your cognitive thinking. Believe it or not, a good night’s sleep is crucial not only to maintain your energy levels, but also for your waistline! Some good sleep habits to form include:
- Don’t eat too late.
- Calm your mind and body before bedtime.
- Sleep in a dark, cool room.
- Switch off all devices one hour before bed.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, take magnesium one hour before bedtime as this can help with getting a good night’s sleep.
By establishing these sleep habits early in life, it’ll be easier for you to stick to a healthy sleep routine later in life when other stressors, such as work or family, start to take over.
9. Learn How to Cook
This helps you take control and have a good overall picture of what you are eating. Don’t rely on takeout or packaged convenience foods that are often higher in sodium, saturated fat, preservatives, and refined carbohydrates. You can also batch cook to freeze as this saves time and money.
10. Schedule Some Down Time
In your 20s and 30s, having fun and partying is natural, but be mindful of the post-party munchies. This is where a lot of the damage is done, as too much sugar and fat intake can gradually creep up on you.
11. Work on Your Confidence
Your self-confidence and self-love is part of nourishing and nurturing your mind and body. This isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us. Working on it will have a powerful impact on your life moving forward.
12. Variety Is the Spice of Life
Try new things, and step outside your comfort zone. Everything is good for you in moderation, so learn something new about yourself and don’t say no until you have tried it.
13. Keep an Eye on Your Periods
They give you a good indication that all is going well. There are plenty of apps that can help in period tracking. They can also be useful to monitor moods and cravings.
14. Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food
Don’t put yourself under undue stress over fad diets, crazy detox, low carbs, or whatever else might be trending. These will all play havoc on your metabolism and make it harder to manage later in life. Enjoy food and play around with it!