The roaring 20’s – your metabolism is on fire and you’ve got all the energy to go, go, go!
Right now, you’re probably at the most active stage of your life. You may not notice it but now is when you are walking and generally moving more compared to later in life. Your high level of activity means your energy demands are greater – you can eat more! You may look back on this time and think “remember when I could eat whatever I wanted, and didn’t change one bit?”. During this stage of your life, your body is most forgiving – however, your body and brain are still maturing and developing so ensuring your diet is full to the brim with nutrients is super important.
Stressing about studies or a new job can take its toll – it’s important to control these cortisol waves with good sleep and stabilising your blood sugar levels. A balance of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins are your friend here! It can feel tempting to dip your toes into diet trends you see around you – but these don’t tend to build long-term, healthy habits.
Silver-bullet, too-good-to-be-true, diets focussed on excluding and restricting essential macronutrients tends to yield short-lived results. Instead, try focusing on what foods you can include to enhance your diet. What foods do you love that also provide your body with good nutrients? These don’t have to be expensive – oats, kiwifruit, frozen berries, eggs and lentils are all brilliant, low-cost options.
Now is the time to build a good foundation that sets you up for life! By putting the work into your skeletal body now, your body will thank you later on down the track. Proper fueling and weight-bearing exercises can help ensure optimal bone growth. Getting enough calcium and rays of sunshine for a bonus of vitamin D will also keep your bone density in check.
Certain contraceptives deplete the body of specific nutrients. The pill depletes you of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin C. Topping yourself up in these areas either through diet or supplementation is ideal and will ease the effects once you decide to come off the contraception!
For those that are having a regular period, iron requirements go up (5). Low iron can make you feel lethargic, weak and generally cold – not a very nice thing! Foods high in iron include meat, seafood, beans, dark leafys, dried fruit, fortified cereals and peas!
Unfortunately, your 20’s also comes with newfound pressure. Stepping out of high school, it can feel like you’re now an adult and must have life figured out. Thankfully, you don’t! It seems like our 20’s is where we put the most pressure on ourselves in our study, early in our career and even in our appearance. Thankfully now is the time to test the waters, get uncomfortable, explore and find out what you truly love and have passion for.
Exercise-wise, there isn’t a lot that you can’t do.
However, there is a lot that you should do. Starting weight training now will set you up for life. When you exercise, your muscles develop muscle memory. This is their tool to learn how to build and repair themselves over time. Your bones also get stimulation to keep on building – so they will be dense for the future ahead.
Love cardio? Great! Now is the time you can push the boat out with forgiving joints and a strong metabolism. Keep that metabolism hearty by refuelling properly after each session. Consider joining group training sessions – it’s a great way to meet like-minded people and get fit while you do it. Making friends during adulthood can feel awkward – but putting yourself out there by trying a new sport or class can introduce you to new friends for life! Boxing, F45, Hot Yoga, HIIT, Spin take your fancy? Sure, why not!
As much as your body is reactive and quick to recover, prevention is better than a cure – get into the habit of stretching it out before and after. Active, dynamic stretches before your workout and passive, deeper stretches after will keep you limber and decreases the chance of injury down the road.
There are some wonderful things that come with being in your 20s
• You recover quicker
• Your bodies are more forgiving to eating too much, drinking too much and lack of sleep
• You can build muscle, bone and connective tissue quickly
Enjoy your 20s!