How to improve your health in your 20s and 30s to live longer
- Six experts share the must-have habits you should adopt in your 20s and 30s that could help you live longer.
- They include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, wearing sunscreen, and reducing stress.
- It’s never too late to make healthy changes, but the earlier you do it, the better.
With many theories about what helps us live longer, from one tech CEO Brian Johnson‘s 111 daily supplements for fitness kings Ellen LaLanne Swearing to Work in Her 90s – It’s hard to know what tips to incorporate into our lives.
So, Business Insider asked six experts in fields ranging from fitness to brain health to break down what we can do in our 20s and 30s (and beyond) to give us the best chance at living a long, healthy life.
Their main message: It’s never too late to improve your health, but the earlier you start, the better.
Eat a Mediterranean diet
Registered dietitian Claire Thornton-Wood said her most important dietary changes follow Mediterranean dietEat less and more sugar Fermented foods.
“One of the best eating patterns to consider from a longevity and anti-aging perspective is Mediterranean diet (That means plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, eggs, and a small amount of lean meat),” Thornton-Wood said.
“There is some evidence that healthy gut bacteria affects mental health and mood, and this can be enhanced by eating a wide range of plant foods and eating at least one fermented food every day,” she said.
With that in mind, Thornton-Wood recommended eating whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice or pearl barley more often, as well as fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, or kimchi, because of their wide-ranging health benefits.
Reducing sugar intake and Ultra-processed foods It can boost your skin and teeth, Thornton-Wood said, adding that poor oral health is linked to heart disease, and can make eating more difficult as you get older.
All of this can help maintain a healthy weight, which has a direct impact on blood pressure (nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure), and insulin resistance (which is a precursor to diabetes, which affects approximately 15 % of US adults), and cholesterol. Cholesterol levels (10% of US adults have high cholesterol), and heart health (about 5% of US adults have coronary heart disease).
Research suggests that it’s not just the food we eat that’s important for longevity, but how we eat it. Eat regular, healthy meals, especially Shared with loved onesThis is also linked to healthy aging, Thornton-Wood said.
Plan your workouts around the five pillars of fitness
Movement is important at any age, but we tend to become less active over time, which means the older you get, the more intentional you have to be about exercising, said personal trainer and sports scientist Luke Worthington.
It divides physical health into five “pillars,” which are equally important at all stages of life: strength, cardiovascular fitness, mobility, body composition, and emotional well-being. He said: We should try to maintain a balance between the five when planning our exercise regime.
Sarcopenia – Age-related muscle loss – it starts in your 30s, so strength training becomes especially important. However, building muscle at a younger age can be easier and is therefore important to combat muscle loss later on. Strength training also helps reduce bone density loss, which is important for healthy aging, Worthington said. Low bone density can lead to OsteoporosisIn addition to muscle deficiency, it can increase the risk of falls and injuries as a person ages.
Well designed Progressive strength training The program should cover all movement bases, ensuring you’re moving and strengthening your body in all directions, while also improving your mobility and cardiovascular health, Worthington said.
“You get the most bang for your buck by focusing on multi-joint or compound exercises, and this allows us to work more of our bodies at once,” he said. Compound exercises Includes deadlifts, squats, lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups.
If you’re already active and/or have plenty of time to devote to meaningful exercise, Worthington recommended aiming to do the following each week:
Two to three resistance exercises
One high-intensity cardio session delivers an impact like tennis, boxing or dancing
One exercise that focuses on movement and motor control, such as reformer Pilates, yoga or barre
One or two low-intensity cardio exercises, such as cycling, elliptical or climbing sessions
However, in the end, any movement is better than none, so do what you can and what you enjoy, Worthington said.
Exercise, stop smoking, and take your blood pressure to make sure your heart is healthy
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, there are things you can do to significantly reduce your risk factors.
Dr. Nicole Harkin“The choices and lifestyle habits you develop now can have a significant impact on your heart health in the future,” said M.D., a preventive cardiologist and founder of the Whole Heart Medicine practice in San Francisco. “In particular, if you have a strong family history.” “From heart disease, it’s important to lay the foundation for a proactive heart health plan now.”
She recommended that everyone get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked in their 20s and 30s, because if they are higher than normal, it could lead to conditions such as coronary artery disease – which is when the heart’s blood supply is blocked by fatty deposits – later on.
“Lifestyle can be a powerful change agent. I’ve seen cholesterol drop from a severely abnormal level to a very normal level just with dietary changes alone,” Harkin said.
The American Heart Association recommends following DASH diet, which means dietary methods to stop high blood pressure, for heart health. Much like the Mediterranean diet recommended by Thornton Wood, the eating plan centers around lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes and limits red meat, sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat.
Joan Whitmore, senior cardiac nurse at the UK-based charity British Heart Foundation, said people in their 20s and 30s should also get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week, and where possible, continue to do so. that. Stress to a minimum.
Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do for your heart health, she said.
But even Small changes Your lifestyle, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or getting up from your desk once an hour to take a brisk walk, can have a big impact if done consistently, Whitmore said.
Add sunscreen, retinoids, and alpha hydroxy acids to your skin care routine
Skin cancer is the most common form of the disease in the United States. Anyone can get it regardless of their age or skin color, and most cases result from overexposure to ultraviolet rays. A person’s prognosis depends on the type of skin cancer they get — melanoma is the most deadly because it is more likely to spread — as well as how early it is caught and their general health.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, protecting the skin by staying in the shade, wearing clothing that protects against UV rays — such as a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed hat — and applying broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF 30) or higher is important. To prevent skin cancer. Also avoid indoor tanning beds.
Aside from the risk of cancer, skin appearance is also a concern for many of us as we age. Starting around age 20, we produce less each year CollagenIt is a structural protein that plays a key role in maintaining skin elasticity, volume and moisture. Dr. Charles Buza, said a board-certified dermatologist based in New York and founder of MOMADerm, a cosmetic dermatology clinic.
As collagen decreases, age-related changes such as sagging and hollowing of the skin gradually begin to occur, he said. In your 20s and 30s, it’s normal to notice some of the subtler aspects of this process, which may look like some fine lines around the eyes and forehead, or a loss of plump cheeks.
Although age-related changes are completely normal, there are steps and lifestyle choices that can make a big difference and keep your skin looking healthy.
“I would expect someone who frequently tans and follows an unbalanced diet to experience more severe signs of aging than someone who regularly uses high-quality skincare and maintains a diet and exercise routine,” Boza said.
He recommended following a skin care routine consisting of daily sunscreen throughout the year. Retinoids At night, regularly Alpha hydroxy acids Uses. He calls this the “three pillars of anti-aging.”
In terms of lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night are good for your skin. He also suggested training yourself to sleep on your back, as it protects the face from potential volume loss and wrinkles while sleeping.
Take care of your body to protect your brain
Dr. Dale Bredesen, a neuroscience researcher at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California and an expert in neurodegenerative diseases, said the improvement Brain health It involves promoting the health of the whole body.
Consistent with Thornton-Wood and the AHA’s nutritional advice, this includes eating a diet rich in plants, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, and limiting them. processed And inflammatory foods.
Do exercise regularlySleep for seven to eight hours a night, manage stress, and maintain “Cognitively stimulating“- which for many people can mean taking up hobbies and taking on new challenges such as learning a language – which is also important.
Some supplements, depending on a person’s needs, may also help maintain brain health, he said.
“Most importantly, if something doesn’t seem right, or is getting worse, see a doctor who is an expert in identifying and treating the root causes of health conditions,” Bredesen said.
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