Everyone has a secret wish of aging well. You are not an exception. It is true that no matter how healthy or unhealthy you are, nothing can be done to stop the aging process.
However, you can slow the aging of your body by adopting certain healthy habits as early as possible. Goods habits today can help you enjoy old age with much grace and attitude.
Apart from genetics, most of the cellular processes that cause the body to age are affected by diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress and other outside influences.
Bear in mind that helping your body age well takes time. Just pick some healthy habits and stick to them without fail to get positive results.
Here are the 10 small habits of people who age well.
1. Proper Skin Care Routine
Aging shows in your skin first, so it is important to follow a proper skin care routine to help delay skin aging signs.
A study published in Dermato Endocrinology in 2012 says that while natural aging is genetically determined, extrinsic aging can be prevented and your skin care regimen plays a key role.
For proper skin care, it is important to keep your skin well moisturized, which keeps it hydrated and soft.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation reports that the appearance of wrinkles can be reduced to a great extent with the use of a moisturizer containing retinoid. Retinoid penetrates deep into the skin and works on the extracellular matrix — the collagen and elastin fibers.
In addition to moisturizing, wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice daily to keep your skin free from dirt, dust and other irritants. Never go to bed without removing your makeup as it can lead to blockage in the skin pores and cause aging signs.
Also, it is important to exfoliate your skin gently once a week to get rid of dead skin cells.
Last, but not least, always use the right makeup products for your skin type.
2. Protection from Sunrays
Too much time in the sun can cause huge damage to the skin and lead to sun spots, sagging skin and wrinkles. Excess sun exposure also leads to a higher risk of skin cancer.
A 2013 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology reports that ultraviolet (UV) exposure seems to be responsible for 80 percent of visible facial aging signs.
Visible aging signs can be prevented with regular use of a sunscreen lotion.
A 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that regular sunscreen use slows skin aging in healthy, middle-aged men and women.
Use a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply it every single day, even when it’s cloudy, before going out during the peak hours.
However, as the sun’s UV rays do trigger vitamin D production, which is essential for bone health, you must expose your body to early morning sunlight for 15 minutes daily.
3. Get Beauty Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should snooze for seven to nine hours each night. This can lower the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, naps can help improve memory.
A 2010 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology reports that people who sleep less than six hours a night may be three times more likely to develop a condition that leads to diabetes and heart disease.
Sleep also has a direct impact on your skin health. During sleep, the body releases several hormones that help restore collagen and elastin, the essential building blocks of healthy and firm skin.
According to a 2013 study by the University Hospitals Case Medical Center, sleep quality impacts skin function and aging. Poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from several environmental stressors, like disruption of the skin barrier or UV radiation.
Start treating sleep as a basic human need rather than a luxury.
After a long day of hard work, get seven to eight hours of sound sleep. Taking a bath before going to bed, listening to some soothing music or doing a 10-minute mediation can help you sleep better. Quality sleep at night will leave your mind and body fresh the next morning.
4. Follow a Mediterranean Diet
Nutrition plays a major role in how your skin looks and your body ages. When it comes to aging gracefully, following a Mediterranean diet is highly beneficial.
A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It also involves drinking red wine in moderation, eating fish twice each week and cutting back on salt. In this diet, red meat is not recommended.
Most of the fat in this diet is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts, which are healthy.
The Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Blog reported on a 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found adopting a Mediterranean diet – even in midlife –may help you age better by warding off heart attacks, strokes and premature death.
A 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that in an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts is associated with improved cognitive function.
5. Regular Morning Walk
Staying active by making exercise a part of your daily routine is a vital part of aging well.
If you do not have time to go to the gym or plan out an extensive exercise routine, walking can be a great option.
Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. It helps you stay fit, which in turn may help neutralize free radicals, boost your immune system and even promote growth of new brain cells.
A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology shows that low-volume exercise training, such as 30 minutes of walking, attenuates oxidative stress and neutrophils activation in older adults. This study’s findings may encourage more people to incorporate a small amount of physical activity into their lives.
Enjoy a 30-minute brisk walk in the morning in an open area. This will help you spend some time amidst nature and give your body a boost of fresh oxygen.
6. Refrain from Drinking and Smoking
Another great habit of people who age well is that they refrain from drinking alcohol in excess and they say no to smoking.
Drinking in excess is not good for your skin as well as overall health. In fact, high alcohol intake is linked to premature aging as it depletes the body’s level of vitamin A, an antioxidant required for the production of collagen.
As alcohol is a diuretic, it causes dehydration of the body as well as skin. Dry skin is more prone to premature aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines.
Alcohol consumption is also linked to increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. This has been proven by a 2014 study published in Cancer Causes and Control.
Just like drinking, smoking is another bad habit that leads to aging signs at an early age. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science reports that smoking tobacco leads to accelerated skin aging.
Plus, smoking is linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, infertility and high blood pressure, to name a few.
7. Keep Stress under Control
There are endless numbers of things that can cause stress in life. But instead of allowing stress to take a toll on your health, you must learn to keep it under control. This is one sure mantra of aging well.
Excess stress can cause skin aging at the cellular level, as it can lead to breakdown of the collagen, damage DNA and promote the release of pro-inflammatory factors that can accelerate the aging process.
A 2014 study published in Inflammation Allergy and Drug Targets highlights how skin reacts to stress and the negative impact of chronic stress on skin health.
Plus, stress can cause several chronic diseases including high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.
To manage stress, meditation and deep breathing are some of the best options to try. Deep breathing aids in circulating more oxygen throughout the body and meditation helps calm your mind and body.
8. Be Social
Leading an active social life is linked to a healthy and longer life.
A 2010 study published in PLoS Medicine found that people who have strong social ties have a 50 percent higher chance of living longer than those with poor or insufficient relationships.
Another 2010 study published in World Psychiatry highlights several factors that enhance successful aging. The factors include social support as well as calorie restriction, physical exercise, cognitive stimulation and optimization of stress.
A study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society in 2011 provides convincing evidence that a socially active lifestyle can help prevent cognitive decline in old age. Highly social seniors had a 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline as compared to their less social peers.
An active social life is also linked to a decrease in stress as well as depressive symptoms.
Take time out of your busy schedule to spend with your friends and family members. Try to spend time with people of all ages. Also, stay actively involved in your local community.
9. Enjoy a Hobby
If you are wondering what a hobby has to do with aging, then you will be amazed to know that it can help you live longer and healthier.
In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology, some 2,000 people ages 65 to 84 in Japan were analyzed. Researchers found that when compared with people who did not have hobbies, those who participated in a hobby had a lower mortality and a lower likelihood of becoming bedridden.
Because a hobby helps release tension and stress, it has also been linked to a lower risk of hypertension.
Plus, as a hobby means spending time doing an activity that you love, it tends to make you happier. Happiness in another factor linked to greater health and longevity.
For instance, gardening is a popular hobby that can bring longevity and happiness in your life. Simply being out in nature is an enjoyable experience that soothes your mind and soul. Gardening also contributes to your physical health.
10. Be Positive
Be positive toward life to stay emotionally and physically healthy. Several hazards will appear in your path, but it is your attitude toward life that can help you handle challenges more successfully.
A 2004 study by the Royal Society suggests that positive emotions broaden the scopes of attention, cognition and action, and that they build physical, intellectual and social resources.
In fact, you should also remain positive about aging and see it as a time for more wisdom over wrinkles.
According to a 2012 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, seniors who think of age as a means to wisdom and overall satisfaction are more than 40 percent more likely to recover from a disability as compared to those who relate aging to helplessness or uselessness.
On the other hand, dwelling on negative thoughts can cause stress and other painful emotions. Hence, try to keep a positive mental attitude toward life as another step in staying forever young.
- Practice great oral hygiene to improve gum health and avoid oral health issues as you age.
- Avoid unhealthy junk food, as high levels of sodium, fat and cholesterol in these foods are not good for your skin or your overall health.
- Pay attention to keeping your body hydrated. Drink an ample amount of water each day to flush toxins out of your body and enjoy younger-looking skin.
- Take proper care of your health by seeing your doctor for an annual checkup.
- Live every day fully in the present and do not hold grudges.
- To live longer and appreciate life, take time to explore nature.
- Show gratitude for the smaller things in life.