According to the National Council on Aging, about 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease, while 77 percent have two or more.
Although you may think that you can deal with health challenges if or when they arrive, the actions you take when you’re young can dramatically affect your health later on.
The key to aging with ease is starting to care for your body when you’re young and taking intentional preventative measures to decrease your chances of developing ailments and illnesses.
If you’re in your 20s and aren’t sure how to take preventative action aside from exercising and eating healthy, consider the following precautions.
Abandon Harmful Habits
Though easier said than done, one of the best things you can do for your future health is to eliminate harmful or indulgent habits, for example:
- Smoking– If you or someone around you notices that you smoke too often, the first thing you should do is try to get help. You can try switching to nicotine gum to wean off cigarettes eventually. You should try and find out what stresses you out. Abandoning smoking can help prevent lung cancer, premature wrinkles, and bad breath in the future.
- Binge Drinking– If you drink too much or too often, you should try to reduce the number of glasses or how many times you drink per week. You can also join a support group for help. If you can stop binge drinking, you can prevent alcohol addiction, liver diseases, cancer, and heart conditions.
- Binge Eating– Binge eating often begins from stress. To help curb this habit, you can keep a food diary, keep yourself occupied so you don’t get bored, and keep temptations out of your house. Stress eating can lead to a binge eating disorder, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Stay Up to Date on Immunizations
Make sure that you’ve had all the necessary vaccines, including a booster vaccine, which you get at any time. Be sure you have a proper record of your vaccinations and know where to find them so you can pass the information along if you switch doctors.
Vaccines help provide immunity for infectious diseases, and if you haven’t had them, you are at risk for recurring illnesses that can easily be prevented.
Preventative Tests and Screenings
When it comes to health conditions, you can often see a glimpse of your possible future by looking into the past. You should talk to your family members, particularly your parents and grandparents, to determine if any inheritable conditions run in your family.
Thankfully, you can get diagnostic tests or genetic screenings for many conditions and diseases. By catching symptoms early or knowing your risks ahead of time, you can keep closer tabs on your health and catch abnormalities before they become bigger issues.
Fortify Your Bones, Joints, Skin, Eyes, and Teeth
The body you have in your 20s is the same body you’ll have for life, so it’s never too early to start preparing for the inevitable weakening effects of age.
- Bone Health–To improve bone health, make sure you get enough vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium. You can also take collagen peptides, a protein supplement that helps prevent bone loss. Apart from this, you may also want to consider targeted strength training.
- Joints– To keep your joints strong and flexible as you age, you can stay active, practice good posture, stretch often, and make sure you get enough protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids through your diet or supplements.
- Skin– If you maintain soft and supple skin, you should use sunscreen daily, keep your skin moisturized, drink plenty of water, and get sufficient sleep. Apart from this, you should also keep away from refined carbs, sugar, and junk food.
- Eyes– To improve your eye health, make sure to get enough sleep, wear sunglasses, eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, and protect your eyes from overexposure to blue light.
- Teeth– If you want to take better care of your teeth, make sure you brush twice a day for at least two minutes. Apart from this, you should avoid acidic and sugary drinks and visit a dentist regularly for checkups.
Act Now, and You’ll Thank Yourself Later
Like most habits, treating your body right is a practice best learned at a younger age. If you form healthy habits for eating, exercising, and self-care now, you’ll thank yourself down the road.