Age is something that creeps up on us all, but there’s nothing in the rule book that says that we can’t do everything possible in order to age gracefully. Here are a few tips and tricks, backed by science, to help keep Father Time at bay — at least for a few more years.
Use Sunscreen Everyday
We all know how important it is to use sunscreen when you’re out enjoying the warm weather, but did you know that it can help keep your skin looking young — as long as you’re using it every single day. One study found that upwards of 80% of the visible aging on the face can be attributed directly to sun exposure.
A good way to remember is to make it a habit to put on sunscreen when you brush your teeth in the morning. If you use a face moisturizer, pick one that includes an SPF to keep your skin protected throughout the day.
It isn’t tanning and days at the beach that present the biggest risk here — it’s the normal everyday sun exposure that most people ignore.
Not getting enough sleep isn’t just hard on your body — it’s hard on your DNA too. Telomeres are a part of the DNA that indicates cell age — the shorter your telomeres, the older your cells are. Damage can cause the telomeres to become artificially shortened as well, making you age faster. Two studies, one that focused on men and one that focused on women, both found that not getting enough sleep leads to shorter telomeres.
The participants who didn’t get enough sleep were found to have telomeres that were shortened, making them the equivalent of 5 to 9 years older than their biological age.
Even if you’ve maintained your weight throughout your life, chances are you have some stubborn fat that you just can’t shed. If it just won’t burn off, consider something like non-invasive laser sculpting. It’s not liposuction — it’s not removing the fact. Instead, it uses laser energy to heat up the fat cells until they die and are passed out of the body as waste.
This can be a great alternative if you want to get rid of those stubborn fat spots, such as under your arms or around your abdomen, without the risk associated with liposuction or other invasive surgery. It’s not as fast as surgery, with results taking up to 12 weeks to show, but it’s safer and just as effective.
A healthy diet, one that is high in protein and healthy fats like Omega-3, can help to improve overall health and may even help extend the human lifespan. Don’t fall for the low-calorie fad diets or the dangerously low calorie ‘starvation’ diets that claim that reducing your caloric intake to starvation levels will help extend your life — they have no science backing them up and can be dangerous.
Instead, focus on a diet filled with lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and sources of Omega3 and other healthy fatty acids. Keep an eye on your weight though — obesity has been proven to actually shorten your lifespan by 6-7 years.
Stress is a normal part of life, but excessive amounts of it can actually reduce your lifespan. Remember those telomeres that we mentioned earlier? Research has found that chronic stress can cause the same sort of telomere shortening damage that not getting enough sleep can — artificially aging your cells.
If possible, take some steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Adding meditation or mindfulness training can also help you to deal with the stresses that you can’t get rid of entirely.
These science backed tricks for staying young can all be started well before you start to show the signs of aging but if you’re no longer a spring chicken, you can still benefit from these simple lifestyle changes.
Corinne Keating is a health and lifestyle blogger who loves coffee and hiking. Find her blogging at Why So Well, her health & wellness blog.