On a base level, weight loss for people in their 20s is no different from weight loss for others. Diet and exercise are still the most reliable strategies to slim down and improve health, and 20-somethings need to work at them just as diligently as anyone else to see results. However, since people in their 20s often have different budgets and schedules than others, there are a few tips that can help weight loss work more successfully for them.
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Regular exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight, and people in their 20s have a bevy of activity options that can help fulfill that purpose. The Cleveland Clinic recommends combining strength training, flexibility exercises and aerobics for weight loss. College students and grad students can access all of those activities by working out at their institution’s gym. Many companies that employ 20-somethings also offer gym memberships or access to fitness equipment.
Many people in their 20s struggle to find time for exercise because of hectic work schedules and social commitments. One solution is to combine social time with exercise. Find a workout buddy who will help you stick with a weight loss plan in the long term, and motivate each other to work harder. Joining a community or intramural sports team is another way to meet new friends and talk while getting exercise. Fitness classes and structured workout programs at gyms or sports centers are also helpful options for people who can afford them.
Eating a variety of healthy, nutritious, low-calorie foods helps take weight off faster. Since many people in their 20s don’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals each day, it’s helpful to have on hand prepared snacks and meals that offer nutritional benefits without many calories or fat. HelpGuide.org recommends fresh fruit, plain coffee or tea, whole-grain products and lots of water. Pre-chopped veggies and fruits, and quick-cook grains can also help in easy meal preparation.
For adults under the age of 65, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, plus two weekly strength training sessions. Each strength workout should consist of at least eight exercises with a minimum of eight reps each. The ACSM’s guidelines generally work for weight maintenance, but young people who want to lose weight may need to build up to exercising for longer periods of time. For weight loss, the American Council on Exercise recommends 45-minute or longer workouts on five or six days a week.
The Mayo Clinic stresses the importance of choosing an exercise and diet plan that works for you and accommodates your schedule, budget and preferences. Make losing weight and working toward better health a priority, and figure out how it can work for you. Exercising in small bursts is OK, as is making only gradual changes toward healthier eating. Starting the process in your 20s paves the way for healthy later years and helps build a strong foundation for continued improvement.