Let's face it: Not all millennials are the spokespeople for prime physical health. If you've reached adulthood without ever picking up any exercise routines or if you're in your 20s and you know you're eating habits are pretty poor, you might assume you've cemented your fate health-wise.
Just because you weren't a child athlete, doesn't mean you're too old to develop and refine some new skills. In fact, your age is still very much an advantage.
As you age, your body begins to develop natural wear and tear, and your physical capacity essentially peaks in your 20s. At that point, it's the perfect time to develop proactive habits to protect your health for years to come.
Adopt a sustainable exercise routine.
A German study found that individuals who implemented healthy habits in their 20s maintained their healthy lifestyle over time more often than those who didn't have solid exercising and eating habits.
Another study at Northwestern University found that simply adopting healthy habits in your 20s provided long-term benefits, similar to those formed from being active and healthy since childhood.
Strength training is one of the most beneficial exercises to start. It helps boost your metabolism, build muscle, decrease aches and pains of aging and increase your energy levels. Weightlifting can also improve joint and bone health, both of which decline as you age.
Cardio exercises can also help improve your stamina, lung capacity and blood pressure, and it offers varied movements for your muscles. Be sure to stretch before and after exercising to prevent your muscles from tearing and weakening as you age.
Start developing healthy eating habits.
Even if you don't have a history of munching on vegetables, now is a perfectly good time to start. The Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado James Hill says, “In your 30s you start to see signs of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as diabetes or hypertension.” A decade of forewarning allows you to start thinking about the content of your diet and adjust your lifestyle.
Kayla Itsines repeatedly urges people to make healthy eating a normal part of their lives in her bikini body guide. If you're overweight or obese, you don't need to achieve major weight loss goals to see health benefits. Dropping 10 percent of your body weight can significantly slash your chances of developing weight-related illnesses.
Your 20s are a time when you're prone to fast food and cheap grocery shopping, so eating healthy can be a difficult habit to acquire.
Some simple changes to your dietary habits include eliminating sodas (including diet soda), switching to lighter snacks like apples and popcorn, cutting back on alcohol and even making healthier choices at a restaurant. Order a water instead of a soda, or ask for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger.
Go for endurance skills.
An excellent way to begin developing healthy muscle mass and promoting heart and lung health is to pick up endurance training. Not only are your 20s the perfect period for endurance fitness, but you can still achieve new fitness goals well into middle age.
The Couch to 5K exercise program, for example, was written with inexperienced exercisers in mind. It was developed by a young man in his 20s interested in creating a workout program for those who hadn't worked out before.
Of course, extreme endurance sports can majorly drain your overall health, so moderation is key.
It's easy to take your good health for granted at this point in your life. However, now is the perfect time to reinforce it by adopting habits to maintain your healthy lifestyle well into your golden years.