Be Your Healthiest Today

Be Your Healthiest Today

By Sharon LiaoYour concerns are different now than they were 10 years ago, so why follow aone-size-fits-all plan? We show you where to focus your efforts.

Hit the gym, whip up a low-fat meal, meditate. Sometimes there aren��t enoughhours in the day to hold down a job and do everything you��re supposed to do tostay in tip-top shape. Rather than try to squeeze it all in, take stock ofwhat��s most important for your health right now. ��As you age and your lifestylechanges, your priorities naturally shift, and your habits should reflect that,��says Brent Agin, M.D., a physician in Clearwater, Florida, and the co-author ofHealthy Aging for Dummies. That��s why we asked the experts to spell outthe steps women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s should never miss. Follow thissimple decade-to-decade guide and you��ll fight disease, ward off weight gain,and feel your best for years to come.

Stay Healthy in Your 20s

Now that you��re out of college, you��re so focused on starting your career,dating, and maybe getting married, you��re not terribly concerned with yourlong-term health?you figure that��s something you can worry about later. Butlike a 401(k), the more you invest now, the better off you��ll be in the longrun. Start banking on your future with these smart steps.

Count Your Cocktails Given those happy hours with your co-workers, dates at the wine bar, and thatmimosa-filled bridesmaids�� brunch, you have a drink most days of the week. Nobig deal, right? ��Actually, it depends on your family history,�� says ArthurKlatsky, M.D., an adjunct investigator at Kaiser Permanente��s Division ofResearch in Oakland, California. Research shows that a daily drink can protectyour heart, but Klatsky��s study found it can also increase your chances ofdeveloping breast cancer by 10 percent. Toss back three cocktails a few times aweek and those odds jump to 30 percent. ��Alcohol causes your body to pump outmore estrogen,�� explains Klatsky. ��Over time elevated levels can activatehormone-sensitive breast cancer tumors.�� The bottom line? ��If breast cancerruns in your family, it��s probably best to scale back to a few drinks a week,tops,�� he says. But if your main concern is heart disease, a single serving ofalcohol?that equates to 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces ofbeer?a day may be well worth it.

Practice Safe Sun By now you��ve probably heard the ��Wear sunscreen!�� recommendation a hundredtimes over. Yet this message still isn��t registering among 20-somethings:Melanoma is the top cause of cancer among 25- to 29-year-old women, accordingto the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In part, this is due tothe fact that more than 60 percent of young adults suffer at least one sunburnper year, according to another study. So before you head outside, apply asunscreen with SPF 30 to all exposed body parts. If you��re planning on spendingthe day outdoors, stash a 3- or 4-ounce tube of waterproof sunscreen in yourbag and use the whole thing. Every two hours, apply about an ounce, or 2tablespoons, all over your body.

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