So why does heart health matter to someone who’s looking forward to their 21st birthday or just celebrating their 28th? Because what you do as a young adult has a surprising effect on your health for the rest of your life. Setting good habits early prevents damage, which is turn reduces your chances for serious disease. Since your life expectancy is likely to reach over 90 or 100 by the time you’re reaching your golden years, that’s a lot of decades to spend dealing with ill health that emerged in your 40s and 50s. Instead of living 40 years or more with heart disease and high pressure, take action in your 20s to protect yourself from these effects.
First, you don’t need to be in your 40s or 50s to have a heart attack or stroke. Each year, hundreds of people as young as teenagers experience serious heart related illnesses. Some are congenital, but a surprising amount are linked to stress put on the heart through obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, clogged arteries, and a general lack of overall conditioning of the cardiovascular system. Smoking is one of the biggest risks for an unusually early heart attack or stroke, so quitting as young as possible or avoiding any chances to start are one of the best actions you can take as a 20-something for a stronger heart the rest of your life.
Long Term Rewards
Small actions taken during your 20s also give greater protective benefits to your cardiovascular system than when you start later. For example, a healthy diet and exercise program offer the most benefit when followed for decades rather than a few years. This is because they prevent damage rather than reversing it. It’s not possible to indulge in unhealthy habits, like over-consumption of sugar and a smoking habit, for years and then expect a change in lifestyle to restore your heart and lungs. Setting yourself up for long-term good health in your 20s rewards you with payback for every day of up to 70 more years of life.
Developing a cardiovascular workout routine as a young adult that you can stick to for life is a great gift to your future self. Whether you prefer to run, walk, swim, bike, hike, or jump rope, it should be an activity you can do in most types of weather and wherever you relocate to in the future. Making a commitment to some kind of heart conditioning exercise not only helps you keep your weight at a healthy level, it regularly conditions and tones the muscles of the heart. A well-toned heart is less prone to developing valve and chamber issues later.
Nothing affects your heart health and weight quite as much as your diet. While high fat diets were once considered the direct cause of most cases of heart disease, now nutritional science is pointing the finger at sugar rather than fat and dietary cholesterol. Regardless of the changes in research, the fact remains that a well-balanced diet high in nutritionally rich foods and with low sugar and moderate fat intake promotes a healthier heart. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of cake here and a well-marbled steak there, but making these treats instead of your daily meals can keep you heart attack and stroke free decades from now.
Finally, starting the right kind of nutritional and herbal supplements early in life offers you the greatest disease prevention benefits these products provide. Supplements are particularly prone to only working when you get a steady supply of them over a long span of time because they slowly help the body perform better rather than quickly solving specific problems. Starting on Meta-Sitosterol from Metagenics as a young adult can help you keep your blood cholesterol levels healthy from the start, while our OmegaGenics lines offer cardiovascular support plus other benefits like mood stabilization and healthy weight management.
If you’re not sure what to take as a young adult for long-term better health, schedule a consultation for testing and recommendations based on your lifestyle and unique health needs. Understanding your risk factors can help you prevent disease in a target way that really makes a difference to your overall enjoyment of life. Prime Wellness has all the tools to help you achieve a healthier life, regardless of how old you are when you start taking better care of yourself. Thanks to Dr. Austin’s training through a Master’s course in lipid pathology, she can provide customized recommendations based on your exact lipid levels. Advanced testing available at our office includes CRP, Troponin, and complete lipid profiling through the Boston Heart Diagnostics labs.