|Have you noticed that every magazine you pick up lately has advertisements for the many ways we can look younger than our chronological years? There are ads for injections and creams to remove our wrinkles, surgery to zap away our fat, and hair dyes to cover every bit of gray. It’s as if aging is something to be ashamed of; something we should hide—and fight—every step of the way.But aging is inevitable! The alternative isn’t one I would like to choose. We should be proud of the years we accumulate. They are accompanied by wisdom, experience, and greater insight. Growing old, I’m on board with. But looking old? I’m not so hot on that idea yet.Although anti-aging cosmetics and procedures may have a place in your overall routine, there are plenty of natural ways to slow the aging process. We shouldn’t forget that the true key to looking younger is feeling younger. There is nothing that ages an individual more quickly than illness, pain and stiffness, or chronic stress. Therefore, much of what we do to take care of ourselves on a daily basis will also help us keep a youthful appearance.Here is a rundown of the many things you can do that won’t cost (or hurt) too much, but will make you feel vibrant and strong. Let’s be proactive in our approach to aging and grow into our later years gracefully and beautifully!
Adjust Your Mindset: YOU Control How You Will Age
Research has found that the most serious aging occurs at the cellular level. Many of our lifestyle habits such as exercise, nutrition, stress management and sleep will enhance the body’s ability to repair the cellular damage that is inevitable as we get older.
Traditional medicine focuses on treating illness to prolong life. But many healthcare professionals want to shift that focus to preventing disease in the first place. We want to not only add years to our life, but life to our years.
Disease occurs when we fail to keep our bodies and minds active; it is not an unavoidable result of getting older. Arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and even dementia often occur because of the accumulation of unhealthy lifestyle habits rather than as a result of years ticking by.
Much of what you decide to do on a daily basis will not only prolong the length of your life, but the quality of those years as well.
Exercise: The Fountain of Youth
You Are What You Eat, So Feed Your Face
Real food tend is more beneficial to your body and skin than supplements are, and eating a wide variety of super foods increases your chances of absorbing the most nutrients possible.
If maintaining healthy skin is your concern, foods containing vitamins A, C, and E, and polyphenols (antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties that protect and benefit the skin) should be part of your daily diet. Here are some examples of deliciously colorful foods that provide these key nutrients:
Most health professionals who study the effects of food on aging agree that a balanced diet made up of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, healthy monounsaturated fats, seeds and nuts, and whole grains is the way to go. Minimize your intake of sugars 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 well as you age.
Get Your Beauty Sleep.
Most of us don’t get enough sleep, and that plays a significant role in our appearances. Individuals who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night may be at an increased risk for viral infections, heart disease, obesity and stroke, with an associated decline in mental functioning to boot.
If your lack of sleep is due to your desire to get more done each day, think about the time you waste due to fatigue interfering with your efficiency. Adjust your attitude and your habits, and begin working to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
If your lack of sleep is due to insomnia, a snoring partner or other nighttime disturbances, some simple lifestyle adjustments might help. Reduce afternoon caffeine, kick the dog out of your bed, or keep a pad by your bedside to write down things you need to remember in the morning. If that doesn’t work, talk with your physician to rule out sleep apnea or other medical conditions that may be preventing you from getting the rest you need.
Calm the Years Away: Deep Breathing, Meditation and Yoga
Anything you do to manage and alleviate stress will have a positive impact on how you look and feel as you age. Setting aside a few minutes each day to be quiet, center yourself, and let your worries drift away is smart medicine. Make deep breathing exercises or meditation a part of your routine. Yoga has the added benefit of not only calming the mind, but also keeping the body flexible and strong.
Take Care of Your Smile.
Make twice-a-day brushing and flossing a regular part of your daily routine. There are excellent whitening toothpastes and strips available over the counter, too. Schedule a professional cleaning with your dentist at least twice a year. And if you are already experiencing cavities, bleeding gums, or loose teeth, consider implants. A periodontist (a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease), can restore you with a younger smile, fresher breath, and overall health.
Protect Your Skin (and Eyes) from the Sun
Aside from being a fashion accessory, sunglasses will protect the health of your eyes and will help prevent the wrinkles that accompany squinting at the sun. Purchase sunglasses that provide 99-100% UV protection for both UVA & UVB rays. And protect your skin from exposure by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, longer sleeves and other sun-shielding apparel.
Don’t Neglect Your Ears
By all means, enjoy listening to music–but turn down the volume. You should still be able to hear outside noises above the music in your ears. Wireless headphones have saved my marriage, since my husband loves to stay up way later than I do watching movies. But if I try to talk to him and he can’t hear me, I know they are too loud.
If you work in an environment that exposes you to constant loud noise, or you love a good rock concert, consider using earplugs or sound-reducing headphones to muffle the sound. Nothing will make you feel old faster than not hearing the conversation around you!
Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol. Smoking can accelerate the aging process and shorten your lifespan (and quality of life) considerably. Decreased lung capacity, emphysema, and heart disease are all associated with smoking, not to mention the detrimental effect it has on your looks. Smoking correlates to wrinkles around the lips, yellowing of the teeth, and aging skin. If you want to look younger, feel younger and live longer, give up smoking!
Alcohol is another vice you should consider giving up to look and feel more youthful. One alcoholic drink a day for women and up to two daily for men (4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of spirits) may have beneficial effects on the heart, but the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reminds us that chronic alcohol consumption can result in premature and exaggerated aging. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption negatively impacts almost every physiological system in the human body. So if you enjoy the occasional drink, go ahead and partake. But if you overindulge too often, cut back.
Your Brain: Use It or Lose It
Although dementia does have a genetic component, lifestyle has a tremendous impact on whether history will repeat itself. Many habits, such as exercise and healthy eating, can keep our brain cells functioning well into our elderly years. Some research even shows that seniors who keep their brains stimulated enjoy the same quality of life as younger people.
To keep your mind sharp, play games such as Scrabble, chess, and Sudoku, or do crossword puzzles. Read, go to lectures, concerts and the theatre. Learn to play a musical instrument, or study a foreign language. Anything that continually stimulates your mind and keeps you learning new things is helpful to your brain.
Most importantly, maintain friendships and social connections. An Australian longitudinal study found that older adults with the strongest network of friends were 22% less likely to die during the study than those with weaker social networks.
Don’t call a plastic surgeon to delay getting older! Grab a friend, go for a walk, or play a game of Scrabble. Do what you can to slow the aging process naturally, and enjoy all of your years to their fullest!
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Hello there all my “beautiful” friends. I came across this post and thought it was a good way to try to slow the aging process naturally. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!