No one wants to leave this life in a hurry, and it is not that hard to understand. The world we live in presents us each day with ample and mind-blowing opportunities for personal enjoyment. Given this, nearly everyone (unless you’ve a death wish!) wants to live their lives to the fullest, living nothing undone as we make this exciting odyssey through life.
It’s all the more reason we all draw up bucket lists full of life-long goals and echoing with dreams of daring future adventure. But since we are not blessed with the fountain of youth, we have to grapple with the fact of our mortality.
Aging is mankind’s greatest enemy, and while we cannot reverse that, there’re number of practices we could make a part of our daily routines to slow down the aging process and buy ourselves more time to pursue our dreams and fully enjoy this beautiful world to its last.
And what makes these practices so much more genuine and fun is that they have the backing of mankind’s greatest creation – science. Away we go then.
Here are 13 science-backed daily practices for staying younger than your age.
(1) Take Care Of Your Skin
The skin is definitely the most prone to ageing of any region of the body. And when not properly taken care of, its prominent position in the body will make the signs of ageing far more noticeable. The key then to looking way younger than your age is giving your skin the due care it requires. To protect your skin against aging, do the following:
(i) Limit exposure to sunlight
Exposure to morning sunlight might have been said to be responsible for vitamin D, which can lead to the formation of healthy bones and teeth, but excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun could do just as much harm. According to WebMd Unprotected sun exposure is the number-one cause of skin cancer. But that isn’t the half of it. Recent scientific research indicates that UV rays accounts for 90% of skin wrinkles and aging.
Excessive sun exposure can cause sunburn, wrinkles, spots, pigmentation and reduced skin elasticity. To avoid this wear and tear effect of the sun on your skin that contributes to premature aging, limit sun exposure by either seeking a shade. You can also wear sunglasses and hats to protect your eyes from UV rays. But if you’ll be outdoors exposed, apply sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15.
(ii) Apply Skin Care
With regular use, skin cares can help boost skin elasticity, reduce common skin wrinkles associated with aging ultimately leading to a glowing, supple and healthy-looking skin. They may also help against skin conditions. To stay young, you have to look young and a well cleansed, toned and moisturized skin is one sure way to do this. Make this a daily practice. There’re many skincare products and anti-aging creams and lotions out there. For the best pick, consult with your dermatologist.
(2) Drink More Water
Besides helping in normal body metabolism, drinking more water does really help combat aging. Your skin cells need just as much water as your body does because water has enormous inherent chemical and physical properties necessary for cellular metabolism.
Whenever we sweat or perspire, our skin loses water through surface evaporation, which is why we’re advised to take in more water to replace what we’ve lost. But as we age, the skin losses far more moist than in all our previous years. Wrinkles, dryness and loss of skin elasticity are linked to insufficient hydration of collagen, the connective tissue of the skin. So take in more water for a more supple and attractive skin.
(3) Smoke Less Cigarettes
To a novice smoker, a few puffs of cigar every so often might not seem that life-threatening at first. But soon enough, it goes from having just one stick a day into two to three and right into chain-smoking.
Smoking is perhaps the easiest habit to get into and the unlikeliest to break. Yes, even if you’re aren’t a heavy smoker but occasionally light yourself a few, you’re in no less danger. Besides being an unhealthy habit, smoking won’t only put years on you, but can as well lead to an early grave.
“Smoking results in the release of free radicals in the body which impair collagen production and break down proteins that maintain the skin” says Dr. Yaghmai, Co-Director of the Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute in Chicago in an interview with the Huffingtonpost.
This accelerates the aging process of the skin twice as fast. As a result, people who smoke often can expect to have paler and grayish skin tones. In addition, people who smoke will lose their skin glow, develop icky yellowy teeth and have skin wrinkles much faster than nonsmokers. The same goes for regular booze. To stay youthful, kiss smoking good-bye! But if you absolutely must, have it seldom.
(4) Start Working Out.
It would be grossly amiss if working out doesn’t figure prominently in an article of this significance and magnitude. Nothing primes you more for old age, slows down aging-related processes and keeps you in the most peak of conditions as regular exercise. A consistent workout routine has both endless health and mental benefits. To name just a few: it boosts self-confidence, alleviates anxiety, reduces stress, improves sleep and reduces many aging-related illnesses.
A recent publication on Newsweek even suggests regular exercise strengthens cellular level telomeres giving you a long-lasting youthful exuberance. The gym might be a good place to start working out. But if you can’t find the time to hit the gym, you could still definitely maintain a good workout routine at home. You can go running in the morning, walk your dog, swim, and lift weights and stair climb to stay in shape.
(5) Reduce Sugar Intake
Amongst the usual suspects of accelerated aging, sugar consumption is the likeliest. The consumption of sugar and other artificial sweeteners can wreck insidious havoc when introduced into your body. Aside from increasing glucose and insulin levels in the body leading to weight gain, sugar intake can also react with amino acids in your body to form what is termed advanced glycation end products (AGEs) as revealed by the Wikipedia. AGEs are linked to aging and development of chronic degenerative diseases. Research says that excessive sugar intake contributes in part to wrinkles on the skin as we age. You could still sweeten your tea even without sugar. Go for more natural sweeteners like setiva, marple syrup or honey.
(6) Eat A Balanced Diet
A healthy lifestyle isn’t only a prerequisite for a strong and healthy body but also ensures you don’t lose your youthful looks quickly the older you get.
“A healthy lifestyle, including what you eat, has a large impact on your aging and age-related diseases” says Rose Reisman, a registered Nutritionist and Adjunct professor, Faculty of Health, Yorkshire University. “As we age, our bodies need fewer calories, so having a nutrient-rich diet is even more vital. Staying active and eating good quality nutrients can help slow the aging process and help prevent age-related diseases” she says. A balanced diet should be rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and with sufficient unsaturated fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be got from taking blueberries, salmon, Greek yogurt, almonds and other nuts
(7) Manage Stress Effectively
While stress in life is unavoidable, we can however lessen its impact on our body. Stress, when not effectively managed, can create undue strain on our life and health and further hasten premature signs of aging. Recent studies confirm there’s a link between chronic stress and aging. These studies revealed that telomeres shorten prematurely in people experiencing long-term psychological stress or emotional distress thereby prematurely aging the cells and causing wrinkles. Making life all work and no fun would do just the same. To avoid stress taking its toll on your looks, make recreation a core part of your daily routine. Have time for relaxation no matter how busy you are. That’s a good way to de-stress and bring back the years!
(8) Move More
In this sometimes brutal world, there’re infinite ways one could die. Each day we step out of our homes for work, we seem to be fully aware of these risks. But who would have thought it could come from ya cozy office chair? Studies say there’re certain health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
A study conducted by Hidde Van Der Ploeg, senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, using data collected from 200, 000 Australians, found that adults who sat for 11 hours per day or longer had a 40% increased risk of dying over the next three years – compared to people who sat for fewer than four hours a day. For such people, studies suggest they run the risk of having chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other illness that could speed up the aging process. Avoid prolonged physical inactivity for lengthy periods. So stretch, walk, dance and stay always active wherever you are. Don’t and you get sluggish and age faster.
(9) Exercise Your Mind
While the hard science behind brain-training games making you the next brainiac is a little anecdotal than evidenced based. However, their effectiveness in keeping the mind active and fighting off aging-related diseases that erode brain power has never been in doubt.
Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness and playing brain training games will ensure your mind stays fit, active and sharp as you grow older. By keeping the neural connections in your brain strong and sharp, these games challenge your memory and mental agility thereby slowing down the onslaught of aging related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Recently, there has been an explosion in brain-training games. To name a few; lumosity, Fit Brains Trainer, and Eidetic are all games that can keep your mind from declining.
(10) Get Enough Sleep
If you didn’t already know, regular sleep deprivation won’t only decrease your life expectancy dramatically, but can fast-track the aging process giving you a much older look. “Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes” the Webmd reveals. “When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic” it further says. “During sleep, your body goes through a process of cell regeneration and repair that gets rid of dead cells, triggers the growth of new cells, and helps your skin produce more collagen, which keeps it tight and firm.” “Poor sleep has the opposite effect. It makes your skin look dull, saggy and lifeless” adds the Positivehealthwellness. A good beauty sleep is staying beautiful and looking ever younger. It’s recommended that you get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
(11) Eat Collagen Rich Foods
Babies have such fresh and lovely skins because their skins are replete with collagen – the protein in skin cells responsible for attractive and younger looks. But as we grow older, there’s a drop of it in our skins. Hence the attendant skin wrinkling and dryness. But we can make up for this shortfall in collagen. “We can’t alter the rate at which our hormones naturally decrease, but we can eat foods that help to keep collagen levels up as we age” writes the positivehealthwellness. Some of these collagen producing foods it recommends include; Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, carbage. Vitamin C rich foods like papaya, guava. Others are Omega 3 rich foods as eggs, flaxseeds, and wallnuts amongst others.
(12) Dress Young
Not every anti-aging tip has to take on the dimension of a rigid behavioral adaptation. At times a change from our long-standing, age-imposed fashion tradition to an acquired trendy fashion sense is all we need to take years off us. As you grow older, changing your wardrobe to keep up with the times can be an important way to stay chic, attractive and, above all, youthful. Dress very young and wear only clothes of the more youthful type that fit well on you and disguise any signs of aging you might have. Avoid baggy clothes. Stay always in touch with the latest fashion mags for trending fashion styles.
(13) Sleep Naked
As ridiculous as the idea of sleeping pyjama-less might sound, it’s being backed-up by science to unwind the undesirable impacts of aging. “When you sleep well, your body produces melatonin and growth hormone, both of which act as anti-aging agents in the body. Since sleeping in a cool (nude) environment encourages better, deeper sleep, it isn’t a far stretch to consider that sleeping pajama-less can stave off premature aging” says care2 on the benefits of sleeping naked. So if you live alone in your own condo, why not give it a try?
Over To You Now
If you’re reading this and you’ve any useful input you could make to this article, don’t hold back. Let’s hear you.