We all want to stay young for as long as possible, both for our health and our appearance, read on for our top tips for staying young.
Yes, genetics account for how we age, however environmental and lifestyle elements play a much larger role in an individual’s ageing process.
We have done the research for you and collated these top tips to help you stay younger inside and out for longer.
Research has found that stress affects the body in many ways, one is that our cells die faster when they are stressed. Telomeres (the ends of chromosomes) are actually responsible for the ageing processes in our cells. The shorter our telomeres are, the faster we age. Chronic stress leads to shorter telomeres. This can include sleep deprivation, overworking, feeling anxious (for prolonged periods) and emotional stress.
It is important to manage your stress levels. Finding activities that lower your stress levels and make you feel more relaxed. Yoga and meditation can do your body a big favour when it comes to stress and ageing.
Surround yourself with good people
As mentioned above, the longer the length of a person’s telomeres the better in regards to your ageing process. Research has found that people who are married and maintain old friendships have longer telomeres, and that the optimum number of friends we need for staying healthy is six.
Other research has shown that people who live in safe and friendly neighbourhoods have longer telomeres.
So invest time in your family, friends and where you live to slow the ageing process.
A good sleep routine
Having a good amount of sleep on a regular basis is very important for how we age. On average a person should get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Chronic lack of sleep affects not only the way we feel, but also the way we look.
Research has shown that good amounts of sleep also has a positive effect on blood pressure and lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Many of the changes once attributed to ageing, such as fat/weight gain, muscle loss and bone density loss, are now believed to be due to inactivity. Keeping active on a regular basis will slow these ageing attributes and keep you more fit and is good advice for anyone wanting to slow their ageing process.
Exercise your brain
Exercise is not only important for your body, it is also important for your brain. When the brain is challenged in new and different ways blood flows to different parts of the brain and new neural pathways are formed. Keeping our brains active and engaged can assist in maintaining mental agility and function and reducing the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Learning also increases the number of neurons in the brain which helps the brain stay younger.
You can keep your brain mentally stimulated and learning with activities such as reading, studying a language, learning a musical instrument and doing word games or jigsaws. Participating in activities that are intensive, repetitive and progressively challenging is also good for the brain. This can include knitting, crochet and ball games like juggling. Brain exercises, like the ones at BrainHQ (www.brainhq.com) are also excellent for exercising your brain too.
Protect your skin
Exposure to the sun’s rays has a harsh result for the skins ageing process, so if you don’t wear sunscreen and protect your skin from the sun, you need to start. Without sun protection, continued exposure damages the skin, with freckles, age spots, spider veins and fine wrinkles.
Social isolation is a predictor of declining mental function in older age. Those that spend their time with others are healthier than solitary people and show less signs of cognitive decline with ageing.
Eat oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring are the best source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been found to protect against cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 is also believed to help the skin stay elastic and hydrated, which means wrinkles are less likely to appear. Eating oily fish has also been found to slow the mental decline associated with ageing. Therefore, oily fish are beneficial in many ways to staying younger.
Increase your vitamin intake
As we age, levels of harmful free radicals (caused by sun damage, smoking, industrial chemicals, alcohol, some drugs and more), rise. While the body’s production of antioxidants (the vitamins that help neutralise free radicals) declines. Free radicals damage cells in our bodies, however research has found that antioxidant-rich foods may slow ageing processes in the body and brain.
You can take the vitamins orally, however antioxidants that are from fruits and vegetables work better than supplements.
The most powerful antioxidants that slow down ageing are selenium, vitamins A, C and E. Consider adding foods with these antioxidants (and others) into your diet to increase your intake.
Research has found that reducing your calorie intake has a big impact on reducing the risk of developing diseases and conditions associated with ageing, including diabetes, heart attack and stroke, which in turn can prolong your life. Calorie restriction, by eating less and without malnutrition, can slow down human metabolism and help us stay young longer. This doesn’t involve meal replacements, however it includes a highly nutritious diet made up of olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, fish and fruit.
You can also adjust your diet, by avoiding all processed foods – the phosphates added to processed foods accelerate the ageing process. You should also limit your intake of added sugars and stop drinking soda and alcohol.
By doing so, you’ll lower your risk of heart disease, protect your skin and vision, support cognitive function, and improve gut health.
Stretch and strengthen
Stretching and Strengthening is important for 2 natural ageing effects, bone density and muscle mass. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density that affects us as we age and become less active. Sarcopenia is the negative affects to your muscle mass as you grow older.
Adding a couple of strength training sessions to your weekly exercise regime is a wise move if you want to preserve your bone density and muscle mass and help to reduce the effects of ageing on joints and muscles.
Believe in yourself
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation. These beliefs are the determinants of how people think, behave, and feel and research shows that it is a distinguishing trait in people over 100 years old. That these older people make decisions on the basis of what they believe as opposed to what others expect. Those with high self-efficacy tend to see problems as challenges to be met, setbacks as a reason to double their efforts and failure as a learning experience for next time.