In today’s world, there are many demands on young people’s time: jobs, classes, and family commitments, to name a few. If you are an ambitious young adult, chances are you don’t have much free time, and your health may be suffering as a result.
But eating healthy foods and staying physically active are essential to leading a fulfilling life and building a healthy community. By prioritizing your own health, you are investing in your future and the future of the people around you. Here are a few steps you can take to improve your diet and exercise routine.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. The Harvard School of Public Health reports, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.”
When choosing fruits and veggies, look for a variety of colors and types.
We recommend: For dessert, instead of a cookie or a candy bar, try a piece of fruit. (Bonus: Keep fruit where you can see it, so that when you crave something sweet, you’ll be more likely to reach for an apple or banana.)
Limit your consumption of unhealthy foods, including pre-packaged, fried, and sugary items.
A diet rich in fast food and sugary treats is probably not a healthy diet. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite treats. Try saving sweets like ice cream and candy for special occasions and limiting your intake of fried and pre-packaged foods. Here are some healthy eating tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
We recommend: Find a few yummy recipes—either from a recipe book, a family member, or a website—and start cooking more of your own meals at home.
Exercise regularly—every day, if possible.
You probably know that exercise is important: it helps control weight, combat disease, improve mood, and boost energy. The World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, per week. Exercise can be fun: walking, hiking, dancing, swimming, or playing sports are just a few examples. And exercising with a friend or in a group can help make physical activity more enjoyable and motivate you to be consistent.
We recommend: Find ways to fit short periods of physical activity into your day: by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example, or using part of your lunch break to go for a walk.
Drink lots of water (and not much else).
Water is the most important chemical component in our bodies and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches, dry skin, and lack of energy. Try to limit your consumption of other beverages, like alcohol and sugary sodas, to special occasions.
We recommend: Get into the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you and try to finish it multiple times per day.
You’re already working hard to achieve your educational and professional goals. Don’t let your health fall by the wayside. You owe it to yourself and your community to prioritize your health and wellbeing. By following the tips listed above, you can ensure that you are living a healthy, happy, fulfilling lifestyle.