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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Never too young to hit menopause – The Hindu

In Family, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle, News, wellness on December 7, 2015 at 08:42

By Nikhila Henry| Hyderabad 

Menopause need not necessarily hit women in their fifties. As per a curious health trend, several women approaching city gynecologists with menstrual complaints were found to have had early menopause that hit women anytime between 35 to 45 years of age.

This, even as the World Health Organization calculates 51 years as the average age of menopause among women.

For Swati (name changed), her 35th birthday celebrations last year had not gone too well. While she was long past her menstruation date, she had experienced nothing more than erratic spotting. “After 35, my menstrual cycle became rather erratic where there was either too much or too little gaps in between the cycles. It was only recently that I consulted a gynecologist to realise I could have hit menopause already,” Swati, who is now 36 years old, said. In most cases, early menopause is caused by rapid hormonal changes in the body induced by change in lifestyle, food, sleep cycle and stress, gynecologists opined. In some cases, the reason could also be hereditary, they said. In three of the top super speciality hospitals in the city, an average of 40 women with early menopausal symptoms come for treatment every six months, doctors said. Over a decade or more ago, the count used to be less than a handful during the same time span.

Young women who experience early menopause usually do not notice or acknowledge the bodily changes they go through. “When you reach menopause, your body experiences several changes. But when it happens at an early age, women hardly think of menopause as the cause and treat themselves for weight loss or gain and go for hormonal therapy,” said Dr. Santha Devi, a Hyderabad-based gynecologist.

Among the common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes where the face or skin burns up without any apparent cause, spotting and erratic menstrual cycle.

For senior gynecologists, causes of early menopause should be researched on. “Whether the cause is genetic, lifestyle or even environmental is still to be asserted, and research in this area is a must,” said Dr. Santha Kumari, organising secretary of the Federation of Obstetrics & Gynecological Societies of India, adding that pollution and climate change too could be affecting menstrual health of women.

Wellbeing diet

Young women reaching their mid-thirties could keep up a healthy menstrual cycle and also look forward to wellbeing after menopause if they regulate food habits. From sticking to low fat food to eating fibre content, women could help sculpt their diet habits to make their bodies healthy, doctors said.

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The 6 Biggest Health Mistakes Women Make in Their 30s

In Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle, News, wellness on August 29, 2015 at 10:00

By Joan Raymond | TODAY Show

For many women, turning 30 marks the real beginning of adulthood. You’re established in a career, and maybe in a relationship. You might be thinking about starting a family. You feel pretty good about yourself, and all the health indiscretions of your 20s — remember those all-night parties and how you still managed to make it into work the next day? — haven’t taken much of a health toll.

Let’s face it, ages 30 to 39 are prime time. “All in all, the thirties are a very positive time for health, but it’s also the time you have to start developing excellent habits as an investment in the future,” says Dr. Debra DeJoseph, medical director of The Women’s Health Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.

In other words, the healthy lifestyle habits you ignore now could set the stage for a less than healthy life in your 40s and beyond.

Here are the six biggest health mistakes to avoid in your 30s.

1. You don’t think about your muscle mass.

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Although aerobic exercise is “arguably the single best thing you can do for your cardiovascular health,” and some studies show it may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer, women in their thirties should make time for strength training, too, says internist Dr. Holly Phillips, author of “The Exhaustion Breakthrough; Unmask the Hidden Reasons You’re Tired and Beat Fatigue for Good.”

At about age 30 — even if you’re active — humans begin losing muscle mass. If you’re a compete couch potato, you can lose as much as 5 percent of muscle mass every decade after age 30.

To help keep your muscles strong and functioning well, women should incorporate strength training into their exercise regimens. “Strength training creates microscopic tears in muscle tissues,” which then triggers the muscles to rebuild and strengthen, says Phillips.

2. You ignore a metabolism slowdown.

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An extra bonus of strength training is burning calories, which increases your metabolism, says Phillips. It seems that as we age, metabolism does slow down for various reasons, including genetics, hormones, and diet, to name a few. Add into the mix the fact that body fat increases incrementally after age 30, with fat accumulating around the middle, according to the National Institutes of Health. Although the metabolic slow-down in your thirties isn’t huge, if you don’t take steps to rev it up, you could potentially pack on double-digit pounds as you age.

Keep your metabolism peppy with strength training. “It (strength training) not only burns calories, but it increases the percentage of muscle mass in your body which boosts your metabolism in the long-term,” says Phillips, who suggests cutting out as many processed foods as possible during this decade filling up on lean proteins and omega-3s like fish and nuts. Also, make fruits and vegetables about 70 percent of your diet, she suggests.

3. You miscalculate fertility.

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Very simply, age is a factor when it comes to fertility. The older you are, the tougher it is to conceive, and there is a “gradual decline” in fertility for women, starting at about age 32, which takes a sharper drop when a woman reaches about age 37, explains OB/GYN Dr. Judith Volkar of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “In general, women don’t understand the decline in fertility and they put off child bearing thinking they have plenty of time,” she says. “But peak fertility for women is when they’re in their twenties. It can be a difficult conversation when a woman in her thirties or older is trying to get pregnant and can’t.”

To be clear, pregnancy is “absolutely not impossible” in the 30s, and many women will get pregnant, says Volkar, citing stats showing a woman’s chance of conceiving within a year in her earlier 30s is about 75 percent, dropping to about 65 percent in the late 30s. “Education is really important, and I don’t want to alarm women, since putting off childbearing until the 30s makes a lot of sense for many women,” says Volkar. “I just want women in their 30s to be mindful of fertility.”

4. You don’t make time to see the doctor.

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We know you’re busy, but it’s important to make time for screening for a variety of problems that are “silent” like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Ideally, women should start being screened in their 20s. But if you don’t know your cholesterol numbers by now, make the time to schedule a lipid panel screening, which includes total cholesterol, LDL levels (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. If all is good, you don’t have to have another test for about five years. But if your numbers aren’t stellar, you and your doctor can work out a plan that includes diet, exercise, weight loss, and sometimes, medication, says DeJoseph.

Regardless of your age, get a blood pressure screening every one to two years. And, of course, don’t put off PAP testing, Starting at age 30 (through age 64), get a PAP test and HPV (human papillomavirus) test together every five years — or a PAP test alone every three years. You may have to have more frequent PAPs if abnormal results are found.

5. You treat your skin like you’re still a teenager.

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Adult acne is an issue for women in their thirties. “It’s almost epidemic and it might be caused by stress, diet and hormones,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. The biggest mistake women in their thirties make is treating their acne with “. . . harsh chemicals designed for teenage skin,” she says. Instead, she recommends choosing gentle cleaners that don’t strip the skin of natural oils. Look to retinoid creams or lotions that can help with breakouts as well as reduce wrinkles — even though you may not have many yet. And if that doesn’t work, see a dermatologist who can provide a customized treatment plan.

And, of course, don’t forget about sunscreen — ever. Sun damage, wrinkles, and dullness may not show up until your forties, but “anti-aging skin care products and lasers aren’t magic,” says Krant, adding that “every day counts in reducing cumulative ultraviolet radiation damage to cells and connective tissue.” Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and chest, too.

Don’t think you’re too young for skin cancer. Familiarize yourself with skin cancer symptoms, and see your doctor if you notice suspicious moles or skin changes.

6. You light up.

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Although smoking cigarettes is no longer socially acceptable, many women still light up, whether it’s to reduce stress or try to maintain weight. Although women are not as likely to smoke as men, about 18 percent of women ages 25 to 44 are smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Smoking affects everything from your ability to conceive, the health of a fetus and, of course, your health even if you don’t want to get pregnant,’ says OB/GYN Volkar. “The earlier you quit, the better your health.”

Those aren’t empty words. A 2012 study of some one million women published in The Lancet showed that quitting smoking before age 40, “avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking,” according to the authors. So, if you’re still smoking, it seems that right now — today — is a great time to quit. There are many programs and medications available to help you kick the habit for good.

Source: HealthNewsDigest.com

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“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”

In Career, Contributors, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Quotes, Relationships, Spirituality on May 16, 2014 at 09:00

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By Carolina Santurian

The thirties, the 3rd floor, “la flor de la edad”, whatever you may call it, I am sure it represents more than a number to every woman. As we approach this age, I believe most of us find ourselves in a state of anxiety that we have not experienced before. We all get too concerned thinking how we are going to keep up with society standards and prototypes. We are leaving our fabulous twenties to start a “new life” in our thirties. Supposedly, at this age is when we make money, when our professional careers need to go uphill rapidly, when the period of time to have kids becomes shorter every day; that’s assuming you have already found the love of your life and have gotten married. Ufffffff, it is so overwhelming. From my perspective, I don’t think I fit there.

When I was kid I use to see people in their thirties as old people. I couldn’t picture myself at that age. However, if I tried I would see myself married at the maximum age of twenty-seven, and I knew I wanted to be a young mom. Today, I am thirty-two and none of these has happened yet. I still want to get married, that is the one thing I dream of everyday; having kids, well, that’s on another level. Don’t get me wrong; I love kids, you will understand as you read.

I am originally from Argentina and I moved to the U.S. in 2002. I graduated cum laude at Barry University with a Major in Advertising. During my college years I met wonderful people who have become close friends. I had the opportunity to work at MTV Latin America, which still sounds like a dream to me. Last year I also became a Realtor. Honestly, I never ever thought I would be capable of moving to a country so far away from mine and earning a degree in a different language. But here I am, after all!

At the sweet age of twenty-eight, when I was about four days away from a trip to Europe with one of my sisters, my cousins, my mom and grandma, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the moment the doctor gave me the results in front of my dad and my boyfriend, with no “anesthesia”, in the coldest way one can speak to a human being, I literally froze. I sat down and the first thought that came into my mind was: I am going to die. My dad’s reaction was quite the reaction of a dad who is seeing his little girl suffer, in fact, it was that times 17. All he wanted to do was to punch him in the face, HARD. My boyfriend, on the other side, reacted in a more practical way. He started asking what we needed to do to get rid of it. In the meantime, I remained silent. Long story short, he wanted to perform a double mastectomy. That’s when my dad asked him for all the results and we GTFO of there. I then spoke on the phone with my gynecologist in Argentina and we decided to fly the day after just to see him. In less than ten days, I had a lumpectomy; it wasn’t necessary to remove the breast, only the lump. As soon as I recovered from surgery I came back to the U.S. for treatment. I went through eight rounds of chemo followed by six weeks of radiation.

As I look back, and I don’t like to brag about it, I think of how brave I was. I lost my long red hair, my eyebrows, my lashes, I gained so much weight, I felt so tired and nauseous, but I still managed to beat cancer. Needless to say, what kept me alive was love. The love from my family, my boyfriend, my dog and my friends did wonders in my healing process. I don’t think I’d be writing here today if it wasn’t for them. Despite the immense sorrow of seeing me go through that, they would still put their best face everyday and stayed by my side when I needed them most. My dad even shaved his head to make me feel better. One of my friends has donated her hair twice in my honor to make wigs for the people fighting cancer; my dog would lick my bald head every morning in the innocent attempt to make my hair grow back I think. My mom, she gave up her life in Argentina for six months to be unconditionally by my side, and my sisters, there are no words that can describe what they mean to me, they are my most precious treasure. Now, my boyfriend, he is the one who saved my life, not only because he was the one who found out I had a lump but because he is the man of my dreams, the one who deals with my extremely hot temper, the one who makes me laugh, the one who loves me and my dog like no one else does, the one who does everything to make me happy, the one who I know I will marry one day.

All in all, you must be thinking now of the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Well, let me tell you, having been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of twenty-eight and being alive to tell the story, one can say I am a tough cookie. However, I now find myself way more sensitive, and vulnerable than before. I don’t know if it’s the cancer or the thirties, or something else, but my heart feels a lot softer. My respect, compassion and love for animals have grown immensely, not to mention the dream of some day owning a huge farm where I can take care of all the animals that need a loving home. I also feel much more nostalgic, I am not a big fan of the passing of time. For me, time flies, and it is not a cliché. So that is one of the things I learned from what I have experienced; life was created to be lived, to do the things we love and enjoy every minute of it. My grandfather used to say this to me all the time: “Problems are part of life, some are bigger than others but they will always accompany you wherever you go”. The trick here is to give the right amount of importance to each of them, and that is something I am working on daily. I am a very anxious person, and I tend to worry about things before they even happen. I’ve been like that since a long time ago so I know that changing the way I think will be a life-long endeavor.

As a breast cancer survivor, with no history of breast cancer in my family, I would like to mention that I now strongly believe in the connection of the mind and body. Fear, anger, hate, envy are feelings that take us to no good place. With this, I mean that my cancer was something brought about by repressed feelings from my childhood, which is a whole different story, and also by the way I used to look at life. We are what we think; I am positive about that. Your mind can either save you or kill you.

To conclude my story, I want to tell you that I got my hair back, that I was able to go on that Euro trip a year later, that I am still the hot temper redhead I used to be but with the ultimate goal of becoming a person filled with inner peace in order to embrace all the good things God has put in my way. I look forward to traveling the world, as that is what I love the most and to live my life with passion. James Dean once said: “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”. From now on, that will be my motto.

Let the thirties look good on you or better said, let you look good on your thirties!!!

Love,

Carolina

About Carolina:

Born and raised in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Moved to Miami, FL in 2002 and have lived there since then. She has a passion for animals and strongly support the cause to stop their abuse. Her family, boyfriend, dog and friends are the most important thing to her. Her ultimate goal is to travel the world and live a happy healthy life. 

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Quitting by 30 ‘cuts smoker risk’

In Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle on October 30, 2012 at 16:35

 

Women who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases, according to a study of more than a million women in the UK.

The results, published in the Lancet, showed lifelong smokers died a decade earlier than those who never started.

But those who stopped by 30 lost, on average, a month of life and if they stopped by 40 they died a year younger.

Health experts said this was not a licence for the young to smoke.

Former smoker Angela

Angela started smoking when she was 11. “Before I knew it, I was addicted,” she said.

She used to hide her habit by taking the dog out for a walk. At one point she was smoking 10 cigarettes a day and more if she was going out.

After several attempts to quit she was successful: “I had a bit of a health scare and that really gave me the motivation to finally kick the habit.”

She is now 29 and says it is “brilliant” news that quitting before the age of 30 could make a big difference to her health.

“It’s amazing, I can feel it already actually.”

The study followed the first generation of women to start smoking during the 1950s and 60s. As women started smoking on a large scale much later than men, the impact of a lifetime of cigarettes has only just been analysed for women.

“What we’ve shown is that if women smoke like men, they die like men,” said lead researcher Prof Sir Richard Peto, from Oxford University.

He told the BBC: “More than half of women who smoke and keep on smoking will get killed by tobacco.

“Stopping works, amazingly well actually. Smoking kills, stopping works and the earlier you stop the better.”

Professor Peto added the crucial risk factor was “time” spent smoking, rather than amount.

“If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day for 40 years it’s a lot more dangerous than smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years,” he said.

“Even if you smoke a few cigarettes a day then you’re twice as likely to die at middle age.”

He added it was hard to measure the risk of “social smoking” a few times a week.

Early death

The records from 1.2 million women showed that even those who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day were more likely to die sooner.

Sir Richard said that it was exactly the same picture as for men.

The British Lung Foundation said the prospects for long-term health were much better if people stopped smoking before they were 30, but cautioned that this was not a licence to smoke “as much as you want in your 20s”.

Its chief executive, Dr Penny Woods, said: “Stopping smoking can also be difficult to do – an estimated 70% of current smokers say they want to quit, so you shouldn’t start and just assume you’ll be able to quit smoking whenever you want to.

smoking

  • Smoking is responsible for more than five million deaths worldwide every year
  • Smoking tobacco is a known or probable cause of around 25 diseases
  • Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals that can damage the human body
  • Eighty of which are known to cause cancer

“The best thing for your health is to avoid smoking at all.”

Prof Robert West, from the health behaviour research unit at University College London, said it was important to remember that smoking had more effects on the body than leading to an early death, such as ageing the skin.

“Around your mid-20s your lung function peaks and then declines. For most people that’s fine – by the time you’re into your 60s and 70s it’s still good enough. But if you’ve smoked, and then stopped there is irreversible damage, which combined with age-related decline can significantly affect their quality of life.

“Obviously there is an issue around smoking if they want to get pregnant because it affects fertility and then there are the dangers of smoking during and after pregnancy.”

The chartered health psychologist, Dr Lisa McNally, who specialises in NHS stop smoking services, also emphasised other factors.

Speaking to BBC News, she said: “There’s the danger isn’t there that people could almost take permission to continue to smoke to 30 or even to 40, but actually in my experience younger women quit smoking for other reasons other than life expectancy.

“They’re more concerned about the cosmetic effects.”

The Department of Health has announced that more than 268,000 people registered to take part in its “Stoptober” campaign – the UK’s first ever mass event to stop smoking.

Health minister Anna Soubry said the £5.7m campaign had “exceeded expectations”, adding that smokers were “five times more likely to give up for good after 28 days”.

Source: BBC Health

30 Things I Know About Health Now That I’m 30

In Beauty, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle on October 16, 2012 at 10:27

30 Things I Know About Health Now That I’m 30

By Meredith Melnick-The Huffington Post

I’m turning 30 today and, as has become HuffPost tradition, I wanted to share some of the health lessons I’ve learned along the way. There is a fundamental irony to writing a health-themed “things I’ve learned” blog at the age of 30 when, medically speaking, I’ve already been mature for more than half my life. Leaving my twenties is a cultural milestone rather than a biological one. And while it may seem glib to compare the two, there is an undeniable disconnect between our biological and social expectations for people, especially women.

But first, a caveat: I still have yet to go through the major health issues that face large numbers of women: giving birth, having a major health scare or developing a chronic condition of any kind. I’m sure that one or more of these will change over the next 10 or 20 years, but as I stand now, I don’t feel as though I inhabit a dramatically different body than I did five or 10 years ago. I’m approximately the same weight. I have relatively similar anaerobic capacity and strength.  I continue to vacillate between a plant-based and omnivorous diet. Sometimes I like the way I look and sometimes I shake my fist at the universe that I was not born Penelope Cruz’s identical twin. I’m a pretty normal woman, in other words.

Except that, apparently, living in a normal woman’s body in America in 2012 is remarkable in the truest sense of the word: a part of the public discourse. I can’t control how we examine and devour the female form in the celebrity culture. I can’t stop the cynical political machine that jeopardizes the medical rights of young women through devastating legislation and willful misinformation. But I can tell you what it’s like to navigate from within one human body, from behind this set of secondary sexual characteristics. And how, more than anything, becoming an adult is an exercise in self care. I am the steward of this thing, the murky depths of which are unknown even to the most advanced medical minds. I’m doing my best and this is how:

1. You are the only expert on your body
Doctors are your most important resources in your mission to take care of yourself, but they are only as useful as the information you give them. That doesn’t mean you should give equal attention to your Aunt Phyllis’ creative ideas on antibiotics or your own home remedies, but it does mean you need to be an active participant in your own health. Make sure you’re keeping track of symptoms, patterns and lifestyle factors. Don’t lie about risky behavior like unprotected sex or drug use — your doctor isn’t the school principal, she isn’t there to scold you. But she does need the full picture to offer you the best care.

2. You will now have peers who are doctors and that will be crazy
That friend from your freshman dorm who lived on cold pizza and cigarettes? He could be a neurosurgeon by now. Turning 30 means that all your friends who started medical school after college are now charged with caring for your hospitalized love ones.

3. It is your responsibility to be scientifically literate
You can’t rely on health news alone (thought it’s a good place to start). To truly understand the latest developments in health, you need to learn how to read a study. That means boning up on things like what constitutes statistically significant data, the difference between in vitro and in vivo lab research, what “confounding factors” refers to and more. That way, the next time you see a headline like “Eating Unicorn Meat Causes Cancer,” you can evaluate the study and realize that, actually, the research found something much less definitive and far more convoluted like: a compound found in unicorns, when applied directly to mouse cells in a petri dish, resulted in an increase of cancer cell division.

4. Internet symptom databases are only sort of your friend
Yes, reading up online is important. But checking each symptom you have on a database will inevitably lead to panic and misinformation. Yes, a headache can indicate a brain aneurism, but chances are that’s not what you have. What’s more, diagnosing yourself using a search engine could delay your visit to a doctor, who can offer you a proper diagnosis.

5. As a scientifically literate person, you must learn not to call your gynecologist “the lady doctor”
It isn’t cute. Let’s train people to hear real, adult words from real, adult women. We have vaginas and those vaginas are sometimes cared for by gynecologists.

6. And once you can say gynecologist, find one you can trust 
Many women see their gynecologists as often or more often than their GPs, so in many ways this is your primary doctor relationship. I think my gynecologist is one of the best doctors: he’s flexible, involved and careful. He takes everything seriously, offers suggestions and backs them up with research. Decide what your criteria are and make an informed choice. Shop around!

7. Birth control is medication and medication is a Big Deal
Perhaps because it is extremely common, birth control is often overlooked as the ongoing, long-term medication that it is. If you decide to take it, you could be on it for decades. That means there’s no settling: find the absolute best method for yourself. Don’t suffer through intolerable side effects and make sure you know what all the options are. Talk to your doctor and read up about all the methods out there.

8. Yes, your fertility is on the decline
We may be engaged in a culture of prolonged adolescence, but our ovaries are unaware of that fact. By 30, your ovarian reserve will have begun its decline (the height of fertility is in the early 20s) and that decline will become precipitous by 35. That means, if you want to give birth to biological children, it requires a bit of planning.

This necessarily introduces a new dynamic: you are biologically compelled to act out a social behavior (planning a family, looking for a mate) in a way that your male and non-child-seeking peers do not. Yes, it’s unfair, but what can you do? As Cole Porter wrote, “We’re merely mammals.”

9. Speaking of mammals, smelling like a human is healthy — and sexy
Don’t smell like flowers or like a poundcake. There’s no reason to stop bathing, but ditch the heavy, synthetic fragrances. Smell like you. Not only will you cut down on the number of potentially harmful endocrine disrupting compounds you are exposed to (common beauty product ingredients like phthalates and parabens), but you’ll also make a statement. It’ll be attractive to some people and it will offend only the sort of people who reinforce that tired old social expectation that women should rise above their earthly bodies — shouldn’t have bodily functions or smells or imperfections. And why would you want to cater your grooming habits to someone who wants to deny your humanity?

10. Facial moisturizer: 
A lot of beauty products include pseudo-scientific advertising terms that make them seem like medical remedies. As someone who is deeply skeptical of anything that is advertised with digitally enhanced models, I have previously dismissed many skincare products. But moisturizer not only protects the hydration of your skin just at the age when it begins to lose moisture, lotions that carry sunscreen are a necessity for every day.

11. Start protecting yourself from the sun now, if you haven’t already
Skin cancer is still the most common type of cancer in America. The sun damage that often causes it may start accumulating early, but a lifetime of sun exposure contributes to the risk. That means wearing a daily sunscreen, covering up with hats and clothing in direct, prolonged sunlight and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes. And just because you don’t burn doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk.

12. Accepting your body might be hard, but it’s also really fun
Unsurprisingly, as a teenager I struggled to accept my appearance. I managed to drop 20 pounds during my first semester of college by living exclusively on garden salad, miso broth and fat free frozen yogurt (and midori sours, because I was a teenager unleashed on the public with a fake ID). Thanks to a hearty Mediterranean metabolism, the extent of my disordered behavior was largely hidden by a more-or-less healthy BMI, but I can tell you that I was grumpy. I was moody and spaced out, but most importantly, I had the same love/loathe relationship with my appearance as always. Now, reunited with my 20 pounds, I’m a great deal happier with how I look. And I’ve given up the exhausting habit of thinking about it all the time.

13. Find a physical activity that you love
Preferably one you can do for a long time. Everyone of every age needs to incorporate daily physical activity into their lives, but that will be infinitely easier and more enjoyable if it’s something you truly love. It doesn’t have to be conventional and it doesn’t have to be focused at a fitness center: find a passion in tournament volleyball, folk dancing, horse-back riding or a bike commute and you’ll be a healthier, more youthful adult later on.

14. Run a race
As a preternaturally embarrassed person, the idea of running en masse filled me with dread and was long filed under the category of public spectacle (see also: parades; the ‘Happy Birthday’ song). But one weekend, a friend convinced me at the last minute to join her for a small 5k race near my house. I quickly realized that there is something primal and energizing about running in a pack — something that makes race running an entirely different experience than a solo jog.

15. Grow your own food
Even if it’s just a basil plant on the kitchen windowsill, having food that you’ve grown yourself will help inspire more whole food recipes. Because if there’s one thing that doesn’t go with fresh produce, it’s processed junk. And even if you put those hard-earned basil leaves on a frozen pizza, training yourself to appreciate the taste of fresh, whole foods will help in the long run.

16. Learn to meditate
Choose your reason: many people meditate as a way to center themselves and set a focus and intention for their day. But if that sounds new age-y to you, there are plenty of research-based reasons to take up the practice: it reduces anxiety, helps treat trauma, increases empathy and may help prevent the onset of age-related dementia.

17. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
Sorry for yelling. But please: pay attention to the people around you. It’s bad for your brain and bad for you eyes and bad for your relationships to text and instagram your social interactions away. Even if they don’t say so, even if they don’t seem to notice, your loved ones will benefit from your shift from half to full attention. If I’ve been too shrill and brief on this topic, a good place to learn more about the psychological and social costs of our smartphones can be found in Sherry Turkle’s brilliant book, Alone Together.

18. See a therapist
Visiting a therapist has probably been the nicest thing I’ve ever done for myself. You don’t need to be dysfunctional to go — you just need to be interested in learning more about yourself and the dynamics you have with other people. There isn’t anybody who doesn’t get stuck — who doesn’t fall into rote patterns in professional and personal relationships. And there’s nothing wrong with seeking the help of a professional to help guide you through a deeper understanding of yourself.

19. Learn to cook
Cooking for yourself is the best way to control what goes into your body. You will use less oil than a restaurant, fewer ingredients than a fast food meal and it’ll be easier for you to modify dishes to make them more healthful.

20. Know when to splurge on organic
There are differing and passionate feelings about the importance of eating organic produce. Given its higher cost and lower availability, it’s not surprising that many people choose conventionally-grown food instead. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing: some foods tend to have higher pesticide loads than others and so it is possible to choose a combination of cheaper, relatively clean fruits and veggies and more expensive, must-be-organic foods.

Here are some things to try:

21. Veganism
Try it for a week or a month or however long you’d like. It’s useful to know how your body feels without animal products. You’ll be a more creative chef and adventurous eater afterwards and you’ll be forced to consider your nutrient intake — on the modified diet and off. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a primer on what to consider.

22. Yoga
Because flexibility and muscle mass diminish with age and a strong yoga practice can help retain and enhance both.

23. Surfing
Physical courage, like flexibility, diminishes with lack of practice and with age. It’s important to remind your body of what it feels like to be on shaky ground. It’s important to use your brain to problem-solve different landscapes and spatial surroundings. If you’re not near water, many other activities, like rock-climbing, can also accomplish this.

24. Fermenting things
Taking produce at its peak season and learning to preserve it for later is a healthful way to keep veggies on hand in the pantry. When a salty snack craving hits, you’ll be glad to have pickles instead of chips. And, like many single 20-somethings, it might take a little longer than the shelf life of a cucumber to work your way through the fridge — making fermentation an easy way to keep food waste down.

25. Sleep isn’t just for wimps, it’s for you too
I’ve gone to high-pressure schools my whole life full of determined children, influenced by their equally ambitious parents. What I noticed is a certain machismo about forgoing sleep for schoolwork. And that, frankly, backfires. Not only do studies show that losing sleep harms overall school performancechronic sleeplessness is associated with a host of health problems — from cancer to heart disease. That chemistry midterm, on the other hand? You’ll probably forget about it.

26. On that note, stress is just as insidious — and just as dangerous
It’s associated with some cancers, poor memory and learning acquisition and more. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of school or work, but it’s also important to find a healthy, productive way to de-stress. De-stressing is also your job.

27. You don’t need “study drugs”
Enthusiasm for “study drugs” like Ritalin and Adderall was just reaching a fever pitch as I graduated from college. I admit it — I took a couple of pills, mostly out of curiosity, to see if it would help with my papers. But my experience was similar to what’s born out in the research literature: you might have more fun in your library carrell, but you won’t do better work. And you’ll feel like your head’s stuffed with cotton balls the next day.

28. People you love will have health scares and it won’t be okay
During one 18-month period about five years ago, three people who were close to me were simultaneously diagnosed with different types of cancer. I thought I was handling everything pretty well. I could rattle off all the medications everyone was on (my chemotherapy puns are to die for). I could give injections. I had the stamina for marathon bedside sessions. But also, I couldn’t remember anything. Words escaped me. I couldn’t focus: I would forget what a conversation was about midway through. I was literally browning out from the stress.

29. Caretaking is hard
The cancer wasn’t a blessing in disguise. It sucked. And while it sucked most for the people going through it, it wasn’t great for the caretakers either. Being cancer-associated is its own kind of exhaustion. And, as a young person, you are far more likely to find yourself in the role of caretaker than you are patient. So please realize that what you are doing is not for the faint of heart and it requires a great deal of energy and emotional fortitude. Go easy, don’t forget to do nice things for yourself and, above all, ask for help.

30. Listen to yourself
At this point, you’ve been around the block a few times. You are a better judge of character than you used to be. You know your body and its reactions to things. You have a sense of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Don’t deny yourself what you know that you need: time alone, a nap or even a few days without heavy meals. You are the expert, don’t let anyone else tell you how you are.

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