Healthy habits by age 20

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Healthy habits

Many studies have shown the quality of life is improved by habits we form at an early age.  Here are 8 healthy habits to have by age 20:

  • Learn to Cook – We are a fast food nation and it has had a significant impact on the health of our nation.  Learning to cook allows you to create healthy options and prepare your food before you are hungry.  Using fresh ingredients and eating less processed food can lead to a health lifestyle.
  • Cut back on Sugar – Were you a sweet tooth growing up?  The sooner you break your sugary eating habits the better.  Sometimes the best measure is just not to have sweets in the house.  Sugar can cause mood swings, drops in energy, and increased weight gain.  Work on making it an occasional indulgence.
  • Practice Portion Control – By your late twenties you will notice a change in your ability to scarf down anything in front of you and not put on a pound.  Your body gets used to the quantity of food you eat, even though it doesn’t need the larger portion.  A smaller, less stretched stomach tells the brain sooner that it is full.
  • Do what you love for a job – Mental health is strongly correlated to doing things you enjoy doing.  Find a job that taps into what you enjoy doing, not just the money it pays you.  Enjoying what you do leads to improved personal life, less stress, and better peace of mind.
  • Weigh yourself regularly – Keeping a healthy weight is helped by knowing what your healthy weight is.  Being healthy is trying to keep it within 5 pounds either way of that weight.  Yes, being underweight has as many health consequences as being overweight.
  • Stay active –  You don’t have to be an athlete to stay active.  Find something you enjoy doing that keeps you physical active and off the couch.  Gardening, cleaning, and woodworking are great activities that keep your body moving.  Hobbies such as sewing, reading, painting are great for mental health but are not physically active enough to condition your body.  You don’t need to go for hikes, biking, running, or play sports to necessarily help stay active.
  • Have an “Overindulgence” Plan – Whether it’s the holiday, a party, or a night out with some friends, we sometimes let all the good habits go to the wayside.  This is OK, it is just important to have a plan to counteract these times for going of the rails.  This helps minimize the impact and gets you refocused.
  • Create Routines – Habits are routines, scheduling you time and being disciplined to that time allows you be consistent with all the above habits.  Use a calendar to manage your time.  Take time during the week to plan.  Spend 15 minutes in the morning to review your plan for the day.  Only 20% of our life is outside of our control.  Take control of the other 80%
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