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Body image is a tricky subject and is, unfortunately, a pain point for so many women. We are bombarded with imagery giving us unrealistic expectations of what health and beauty are supposed to look like. With all of that happening, it is incredibly easy to overlook the strength and beauty we already possess.
For me, getting educated was a huge turning point in how I perceived and treated my body. When I began understanding how my body actually worked and the countless processes it is executing daily just to keep me alive I began to have a whole new appreciation for my body outside of just how it looked or performed.
As I’m sure you know, your 20’s are a crazy decade full of so many milestones and life changes. Whether you’re navigating your 20’s with mental clarity and grace, or are still figuring out how to navigate your quarter life crisis, our bodies go through a ton of changes either way.
If you’re in your late 20’s and are beating yourself up for not looking like you did when you’re 20, show yourself some major grace. If you are in your early 20’s and think everything is going to stay exactly the same as it is now, buckle up babycakes. Your body will change, and it’s not a bad thing. With every year that passes by, the fact that you are still here to get older and to experience another year of life is a beautiful thing. So let’s chat about what’s going on with your body between the ages of 20 and 30.
Your Metabolism May Be at its Fastest
When you’re in your late teens and early 20’s, your body reaches its highest basal metabolic rate. Translation: that’s likely the fastest your metabolism will run without factoring in activity level.
This is probably the last time period you can get away with eating junk food and not feel many serious consequences as a result of it. But if you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you’re not into eating copious amounts of junk food no matter how old you are 😉
Your Brain is Still Maturing
Also in your early 20’s, your brain is in its final stages of development. Your corpus callosum (the tissue connecting the left and right hemisphere of your brain) continues growing through your early to mid 20’s, which may lead to greater maturity and cognitive function (source). In other words, your ability to make sound decisions and maturely react to stimulus around you will likely improve during this time period. Hallelujah.
Your Bones Are Strong – Keep Them That Way
By the time you reach your mid 20’s, you are approaching your body’s peak bone mass. Before about age 30, your body is able to form bone at a greater rate than bone is broken down through a process called bone remodeling. To keep your bones healthy later in life (especially post-menopause), it is incredibly important to start taking your skeletal health seriously now. Make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, and strength train regularly to ensure you’re keeping your bones as strong as possible.
Fertility – It’s a Thing
Alright, we aren’t talking politics here. Straight science, no chaser – so take from this information what you will. While every woman is different, many women experience peak fertility between the ages of 23 and 31 (source). That’s a thing that happens. And it has a big impact on how our bodies look, feel, and perform.
Peak Muscle Mass
Yup, that’s right ladies. Most women reach their peak muscle mass in their late 20’s. Don’t fear muscle though – muscle is truly the fountain of youth. Having more lean muscle mass helps you look younger, helps prevent injury, and keeps your metabolism revving (because our early 20’s were a long time ago). Every decade after 30, lean muscle mass declines, potentially making you more susceptible to weight gain and injury.
When it comes to precious muscle, our bodies have a “use it or lose it” mentality. By incorporating a strength training regimen into your routine while you have peak muscle mass capability, and continuing to strength train as you get older, you can help fight muscle loss down the line. Keeping as much muscle on your body as possible as you age can help keep you moving, grooving, and injury-free.
In your late 20’s you may also notice your body becoming curvier than it was in your early to mid 20’s. Due to metabolic and hormonal changes, some women experience increased body fat, making them naturally curvier. Maybe that’s what Fergie was talking about in regards to her lovely lady lumps.
Skincare Matters Big-Time
If you don’t already have a solid skin care regimen, now is the time to get on it sister. As we get older our skin becomes less forgiving. If you want to keep your glow, make sure to use natural sunscreen daily, moisturize liberally, keep yourself hydrated, and make sure you’re getting good sources of collagen in your diet, as our body’s ability to produce it naturally begins to dwindle after our 20’s.
Notice a recurring theme? No matter how old you are, it is so important to make taking care of your body a priority so you can live your best life today and tomorrow. I would love to continue the conversation with you in the comments below.