Anti-Aging Lessons to Learn Before You Turn 40 from Anti-Aging Lessons to Learn Before You Turn 40
Anti-Aging Lessons to Learn Before You Turn 40
Don’t smoke, eat better, and exercise – these are often referred to as the basics of longevity, but the reality is a little more complex and a lot more fun. You still absolutely must quit the nasty habit of smoking, but feeling and looking younger for a long time depends on a few more easy tricks you can do during the day.
Your skin gets drier and more fragile and prone to “age spots,” Dr. Elliott says. Washing your face twice a day is more than enough. Soaps, especially the alkaline ones, can really dry your skin by removing all of its natural oils. Keep your skin glowing by drinking tea — instead of coffee — to slow down the wrinkles, according to a study; get enough sleep; and always applying sunscreen. UV rays penetrate clouds and windows, so sun damage is always possible if you’re not prepared.
“Your joints may become more achy due to weardown of cartilage over time,” Dr. Elliott says. Make sure you don’t have a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is unique because the body synthesizes it itself through exposure to sunshine, and it plays a huge role in calcium balance. It helps bones mineralize, and it promotes growth and maintenance of strong bones. Studies have found “widespread and alarming” rates of Vitamin D deficiency in patients with metastatic bone disease.
Your immune system
“Your immune system becomes less aggressive, making you slightly more prone to infection,” Dr. Elliott says. Work on strengthening it. A common mistake people make when it comes to proper nutrition for the immune system is thinking that if you eat poorly in general, eating once a single healthy food is a guarantee that you will avoid getting sick.
Stress is a big factor
People lose track of taking care of themselves and this has a lot to do with stress, Dr. Elliott says. “Also, as we age we tend to be the primary care givers for others, so we forget to focus on ourselves.” Stress causes, among many other things, inflammation which leads to premature skin aging. Studies have shown a connection between stress and an increase in telomerase. It is an enzyme that is vital to keeping cells healthy and young.
Failure to stay active
This is one of the worst habits that speed up the process of body deterioration, other than smoking. “Lack of physical activity affects not just your body but your mind and overall wellbeing,” Dr. Elliott says. Exercise plays a key role in keeping a healthy lifestyle. One study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that in a number of mice, those that exercised reduced almost all of the negative effects of aging.
Processed meats are a bad idea
Sulfites and other preservatives found in processed meats cause premature aging, Dr. Elliott says. And believe it or not, char on meat can often contain pro-inflammatory chemicals that can speed up aging as well, she adds.
Don’t drink through a straw
Consistently making the same type of facial expression can cause wrinkles over time. What do your lips do when you are drinking through a straw? You purse them. Do that many times and you’ll start to see lip lines and wrinkles after a while because of the repetitive muscle motion. These lines will become even more obvious as you age because the skin loosens.
Drink less alcohol
Many people rely on it not for its taste but its effect on the body and the brain is harmful. “It can worsen mental health issues, prevent proper sleep, cause weight gain, and impact daily performance and productivity,” Dr. Elliott says. Alcohol “dehydrates your skin, affects your sleep, accelerates aging, and can lead to permanent liver damage. It can also cause permanent brain damage.”
Despite all of the benefits of wine, white wine is sugary and acidic, and it peels the enamel off of your teeth and red wine stains them, Dr. Elliott says.
Forget about sugary drinks
Drinking your calories lead to a slippery slope of weight gain, Dr. Elliott says. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that regular consumption of sugary sodas may influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.
Gluten-free junk food is one type of food Dr. Elliott says she’d like people to stop eating, unless medically required. “Gluten free does not equal healthy!” she adds. “In fact, when gluten is not an ingredient, manufacturers have to put a lot of other, unhealthy ingredients in to take its place, like corn starch or tapioca starch which is very low in nutritious value and causes blood sugars to spike.”
Temperature in your home
The biggest temptation in the winter is cranking up the heat in the house. However, you will end up hurting yourself. The heater dries out the air indoors. That can lead to inflamed skin. An acceptable wintertime temperature indoors is 70 degrees for the living room and at least 64 degrees for other rooms, according to the West Midlands Public Health Observatory. Don’t go over 75 degrees though. Tip: Keep a glass of water in the room for some humidity.
Breathing exercises help
“Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises—even if it's just two minutes a day in the shower.” This can help deal with physiological stress, Dr. Elliott says. Alternate nostril breathing is a quick and calming way to restore balance, remove toxins, and rejuvenate the nervous system. Practice it by opening and closing each nostril with the thumb and ring finger, and continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils. A few minutes a day will do. It also helps release accumulated tension and fatigue. You can see how in this video.
Physical activity is a very effective remedy fighting stress, Dr. Elliott says. “If you use a wearable, try to increase your step count by 2,000 steps per day!” You can really get in shape just by walking. After all, it is an aerobic activity.
Fix your posture
Improper posture hurts your joints and muscles. “You end up putting extra stress on certain joints because your weight is not properly balanced,” Dr. Elliott says. As a result, you end up more prone to injury and muscle overuse which leads to chronic pain, she adds.
Go offline once a week
“If you can, try to keep your cell phone turned off one weekend day per month,” Dr. Elliott says. It will help you reset for the week, she adds. “And, when on vacation, try to keep it off all together.” For destinations with no cell service where you can relax and unwind, click here
Learn new things
It’s important for the brain to learn new things every day. “The brain is a muscle and it needs to be exercised,” Dr. Elliott says. Recent research has found that brain age decreases by 0.95 years for each year of education (and by 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed). So keep your mind occupied. Learn a new language, a new game, learn to dance…
“It is all about listening to your body—don't overdo it,” Dr. Elliott says. If you have an injury, let yourself heal. “You need to make sure that the rate of exercise matches your body's rate of recovery.” Some signs of over exercise include body aches and injuries that won't improve, you have trouble sleeping, you are more prone to getting sick, or you are having mood swings, she adds.
Cut down sugar and salt
Drink a lot of water
Blood flow slows down as people get older. That’s one reason why the skin is not glowing anymore. Drinking a lot of water certainly helps, Dr. Elliott says. “And if you have high blood pressure, laying off the salt helps too.” Elevate your legs each night for 10 minutes above the level of your heart-that helps, she adds. Here are 15 other ways in which dehydration is making you sick.