Our 20s are a complicated time filled with exploring and learning, and with this navigation can come a few mistakes. Although we are still figuring things out, early adulthood is an important time for health and brain development, so, yes, there are some habits we should kick in our 20s. No one's saying you have to be the perfect pinnacle of health, but now's the time time to start thinking about taking care of yourself and planning for our future.
"Your 20s are a time of change and new beginning for most people — graduating college, starting a new job, moving to a new city, getting married, having kids — so it’s also the perfect time to embark on healthy changes," says Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS to Bustle over email. Because, if not now, when? "As people age into their 30s and 40s and beyond, it is more difficult to make major changes because of ingrained habits, family responsibilities, and obligations and a general risk aversion that tends to come with age." No time like the present.
Everyone's lifestyle is different, and there's definitely no harm in that, but there are some important aspects of your health that everyone should pay attention to. If you're in your 20s and looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, consider ditching these six habits, which can help set a routine for the rest of your life.
1. Binge Drinking
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks, but associating a good time with a dangerous amount of shots may not be the best idea for your health. "Alcohol can actually be good for you in moderation — particularly if it is a dark beer or antioxidant-rich red wine — but in excess, alcohol wreaks havoc on many of the body’s major systems, including the liver, hormone levels, and natural sleep patterns," says Dr. Axe.
2. Not Getting Enough Sleep
"You think it’s no big deal that you pulled a couple all-nighters last week? Wrong," says Axe. "Missing sleep can take years off your life." Experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night, so now's the time to start fitting in those hours of rest into your day.
3. Eating Fast Food
"Food is our bodies fuel, so when you don’t fill it with proper nutrients, you can’t expect it to run well," says Dr. Axe. "When you eat cheap, highly processed fast food, you are filling your body with chemicals, preservatives, and genetically modified foods." You know what's right and wrong when it comes to food.
4. Crash Dieting
There's no time better than the present to start loving and respecting your body, no matter what shape or form, and this includes treating it well. "All of us should be striving to be our healthiest selves," says Dr. Axe. "The problems occur when people resort to unhealthy means of dropping pounds, like starving themselves, jumping onto whatever the latest fad diet is, or spending hours at the gym trying to burn off excess weight." So-called "cleanses" might be any easy choice, but they're not necessarily the right one.
5. Popping A Pill For Everything
It can be tempting to take an over-the-counter painkiller for every headache or ailment, but there are negative long-term effects if you ingest too many of these anti-inflammatories. "Over the long term, chronic pill-popping can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues that involve small amounts of bacteria and digestive enzymes leaking into the bloodstream," says Franci Cohen, certified fitness trainer, exercise physiologist, and nutritionist to Bustle over email.
6. Stalking On Facebook (And Sulking About It)
Who can resist checking on an ex or some old friends here and there, but if you're constantly comparing yourself to others on Facebook, it may be time to log off. "Social spying bombards us with upward social comparisons, ones where our nights sitting on the couch with a Lean Cuisine watching TV — and surfing Facebook — feel low compared to the high life," says Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez over email. "You have to be aware of what you're seeing — and what you're not seeing — or else you'll never get off the couch and face the real world."
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