In every magazine you pick up nowadays, there are a multitude of advertisements claiming to make you look younger through injections and magical wrinkle reducing creams. Instant surgery to zap away fat and hair dyes to cover every single gray hair! However, few of these products actually work as well as the advertisements you see claim.
The fact of the matter is that aging is inevitable – everyone gets older, and there’s not much to be done to fight it. Many great characteristics come along with the aging process too such as wisdom, experience and understanding. But we still want to fight the negative things that happen to our body such as wrinkles, skin spots and sagging skin!
Many anti-aging cosmetic skin care products and procedures have places in millions of American’s daily routines; however, there are many natural ways to slow the overall aging process. The true key to looking young is to feel young! It is critical to take care of our bodies, because various diseases, pain and stiffness and chronic stress can take a serious toll on your body. What we do to take care of our bodies on a daily basis can help to maintain a youthful appearance – here’s a list of many things you can do (at not much cost) to make you feel vibrant and strong. We encourage you to take part in healthy activities daily to promote youthful aging in your later years.
Adjust your mindset
Research has attributed the most severe aging to occur at the cellular level of our bodies. Much of our lifestyle habits including exercise, nutrition, stress management and sleep will improve the body’s ability to repair cellular damage that is inevitable as we begin to age.
Traditional medicine focuses on treating the disease to prolong life. But many health professionals encourage the practice to shift the focus to prevent disease in the first place.
Diseases occur when we fail to keep our bodies and minds active and is not always an inevitable consequence of aging. Arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and even dementia often occur due to an accumulation of unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Much of what you decide to do on a daily basis will not only extend the life of your life, but the quality of those years as well.
Exercise: The Fountain of Youth
A good workout gives us naturally flushed cheeks and a sense of well-being, which are just a couple more reasons to include regular exercise as part of a daily routine to help age naturally and beautifully. Three types of exercise that will keep you looking and feeling young include:
• Aerobic exercise increases circulation throughout the body and strengthens the heart and lungs. It helps digestion, helps reduce anxiety and stress, and improves the quality of your sleep. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, hiking or dancing can also slow bone loss.
• Strength training has been shown to build bone mass, which helps to prevent and slow down osteoporosis. Building muscle mass keeps us strong and speeds up your metabolism, which helps maintain a healthy body weight and youthful figure. Strength training keeps us agile and improves balance, preventing falls and debilitating fractures.
• Various sporting activities such as golf, gardening, bowling, tennis and ballroom dancing involve the physical and mental stimulation, maintaining youthful minds, bodies and spirits. In general, experts agree that the more you can move — although it is not as intense as the traditional forms of exercise — the better your body and your mind will be as you age.
Much has been written about the power of nutrition in preventing disease, strengthening the immune system and improving your complexion.
Real food is more beneficial for your body and skin than just supplements, and eating a wide variety of super foods increases the chances of absorbing the most nutrients possible.
If keeping your skin healthy is your concern, foods containing Vitamins A, C and E and polyphenols (antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties to protect and improve your skin) should be part of your daily diet. Here are some examples of foods that provide these wonderful key nutrients:
• Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale), red, yellow and orange products (such as melon, carrots, peppers), and asparagus
• Vitamin C: red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, oranges, and melon
• Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, tomato and spinach.
• Polyphenols: Green tea, cocoa and dark chocolate.
Most health professionals who study the effects of food on aging agree that a balanced diet consisting of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products low in fat, healthy monounsaturated fats, seeds and nuts and whole grains will provide your body with the key ingredients to maintain a young and healthy looking body as you age. Minimize the intake of sugar and highly processed foods and drink plenty of purified water and green tea, and you’ll be doing your best to keep your body functioning as you age.
Get your beauty sleep
If you ever have a sleepless night or stay up too late, you will probably notice signs of sleep deprivation in the mirror the next day. Dark circles under the eyes and the pallor of your skin can definitely make you look older and tired. Repeat this night after night, and chronic sleep deprivation will age your body from the inside out.
Most of us do not get enough sleep, and it plays a significant role in our appearances. Individuals who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night may be at increased risk of viral infections, heart disease, obesity and stroke, with an associated decline in mental functions to boot.
If your lack of sleep is due to your desire to do more every day, think about the time you waste due to fatigue interfering with your efficiency. Adjust your attitude and your habits, and start working to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
If your lack of sleep is due to insomnia, a snoring partner or other nocturnal disturbances, some simple lifestyle changes could help. Reduce caffeine afternoon, kicking the dog out of bed, or to keep a pad on the nightstand to write things you need to remember in the morning. If this does not work, talk with your doctor to rule out sleep or other medical conditions that may be keeping you from getting the rest you need.
Calming activities: deep breathing, meditation and Yoga
Chronic and unmanageable stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and can make us feel older than we are. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and inflammation of the skin. Stress has also been shown to suppress the immune system, making us more prone to illness and disease.
Everything you do to manage and relieve stress will have a positive impact on the way you look and feel as you age. Putting aside a few minutes each day to be quiet, center yourself, and release concerns is some of the best all-natural medicine. Do deep breathing exercises or meditation a part of your routine. Yoga has the advantage of not only calming the mind, but also to keep the body flexible and strong.
Protect your skin (and eyes) from the Sun
Nothing ages the skin faster than overexposure to the sun. Collagen, the structural protein of our skin, breaks in response to UV radiation. The sun also increases the production of free radicals, which damage cells and break down collagen as well. Although sunscreen offers some protection, many people apply too little of it, and not often enough.
In addition to being a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect the health of your eyes and will help prevent wrinkles that accompany squinting into the sun. Buy sunglasses that provide 99-100% UV protection for both UVA and UVB rays. Use Sunscreen or Anti Aging Sunscreen to protect the skin from exposure. Also wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and other sun shielding apparel.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol
Smoking can accelerate the aging process and shorten the duration (and quality) of life greatly. Decreased lung capacity, emphysema and heart disease are all associated with smoking, not to mention the negative effect it has on your appearance. Smoking is related to wrinkles around the lips, yellowing of the teeth, and advanced aging. If you want to look younger, feel younger and live longer, stop smoking!
Alcohol is another habit you should give up to look and feel younger. One alcoholic drink a day for women and up to two per day for men (4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of spirits) can have beneficial effects on the heart, but the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse of Alcohol and Alcoholism reminds us that chronic alcohol consumption can lead to premature and exaggerated aging. Over time, the excessive consumption of alcohol negatively affects almost every physiological system in the human body. So if you like the occasional drink, go ahead and participate. But if you overindulge too often, you should consider cutting back for your health.
Do what you can to slow down the natural aging process, and enjoy younger & glowing Skin for years!
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