When you’re young, you should be enjoying your life. Maybe this wasn’t something you were ever told directly by anybody, but it doesn’t have to be explicit. Look around, and you’ll see the message everywhere, clear and consistent.
Young people are most likely to be targeted by advertisements for soft drinks, fast food, and other unhealthy products. Their bodies are healthy, their lifestyles active. The inference is: why not reward yourself or experiment with these indulgences?
Advertisers would have us believe that in our youth, we can tolerate a certain unspecified level of unhealthy living. In effect, you can save the worry for later. ‘Adulting,’ being sensible, and keeping things together are for older people.
But youth doesn’t last, and if you abuse your body in any way, it will fade even more swiftly. Here’s why you should start to resist these negative influences and practice healthy living from an early age.
Borrowing from future health
The concept of debt is simple. You buy something now, and you pay for it later. We witness this in practice throughout our lives. When we’re young, our parents make monthly payments for their houses and cars. Eventually, we take on student loans and apply for credit cards, and then it’s our turn to pay the bills.
Financially, we’re familiar with this operating model. But we seldom realize that our health works in the same way. If you indulge in something unhealthy now, you’re borrowing from your future life expectancy. Consume sugary snacks and lounge around the house all day, and you’ll inevitably put on excess weight.
Being overweight, in turn, puts you at increased risk for several conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. It reduces your quality of life as you may tend towards even more sedentary living or deal with negative body image.
Anything unhealthy can be easily dismissed as a one-time, negligible indulgence. But that’s rarely the case when you are constantly bombarded by ads and other influences, such as your peers. It becomes a habit, with the result of snowballing debt in terms of your future health. And at some point, you might not be able to pay off that debt.
Fighting on many fronts
It’s one thing to need some relaxation or a visit to the chiropractor because you’ve been working or playing hard. But if light activity leaves you fatigued or in pain, that could be the wake-up call you need to start rounding into better physical shape.
Yet being healthy isn’t all about your body weight. You probably know that to stay fit, you need regular exercise and a healthy diet. But the battle for overall health is waged on multiple fronts, which might not be evident in your youth.
Young people have a higher metabolism. Their bodies can adapt and recover more quickly. This makes it easy to offset other potentially harmful factors. A high level of stress, irregular sleeping habits, and toxins from smoking or alcohol can all be masked by the strength and resiliency of our young bodies.
As we grow older, though, these additional unhealthy influences become more pronounced in their impact. Hitting the gym can’t relieve you of chronic stress. Eating your vegetables doesn’t mean you can get away with drinking or smoking.
Habits and priorities
Thus, even while you’re still young, it’s vital to keep a watchful eye on all the different aspects of your health. Find a daily workout that you can commit to. Choose to eat healthily and sleep regularly. Recognize the sources of stress in your life and find ways to manage them. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol, and the people who encourage those substances.
It’s certainly a long list of practices to follow. The Internet can provide a wealth of helpful information. But attempting to make these changes can be overwhelming.
Learning the best practices for a healthy lifestyle is just the starting point. You also need to conduct a realistic self-assessment of your current level in each aspect. This will help you to determine how far you need to go to achieve your goals. It will guide you in trying to prioritize each area of improvement.
Above all, master the process of habit formation. This way, you’ll be able to implement small changes with consistency. Remember that being healthy is a lifestyle commitment. If you can integrate these healthy habits into your life from an early age, you’ll be giving to the future instead of borrowing from it. Instead of playing catch-up and paying off health debts as you grow old, you can enjoy a high quality of life because you invested in your well-being.