When it comes to conserving your youthful vitality as you age, it’s all about what you put into it. There have been seemingly endless studies on how to age gracefully, maximize longevity, and soak up every moment of your golden years. But looking and feeling incredible might be simpler than you think.
Forget the miracle pill and invasive plastic surgery. With some basic knowledge and effort, you can look and feel energized despite time’s natural effects. Basic healthy habits and self care procedures might be the aging secret you’ve been looking for.
“Of course, aging is somewhat unfair, because a few lucky people will breeze easily through eight or nine decades without even trying — due to their good genes — while the rest of us have to put in some effort just to get that far,” Margaret Webb Pressler writes in The Washington Post. “But not necessarily a lot of effort. Aging well — or, at least, aging better — doesn’t have to be that hard.”
Developing the right routines and sticking to them will help you glow from the inside out, and that all starts with your skin and body.
The Skin You’re In: Taking Care To Get That Glow
So much of looking healthy lies in your skin. When your skin is bright and smooth, you simply look more alert than you would if it was dull. But there is another common skin concern that comes with aging:
First, keep in mind that wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. With time, skin loses its elasticity and becomes more fragile. And while everyone’s skin ages differently, wrinkles usually begin to show up in your mid-20s to early 30s.
If the idea of wrinkles makes you squirm, there are plenty of natural ways to help your skin retain its elasticity and prevent the onset of wrinkles.
“Many women as well as men believe that aging skin is inevitable, but with the information and technologies we have today, you really can look as young as you feel,” Robin Ashinoff, MD, a dermatologist at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, told WebMD.
To start, consider adopting some of the following natural health best practices to retain your skin’s smooth texture:
- Avoid excessive sun exposure: Studies have shown that getting too much sun is the number one cause of wrinkles. So, grab a hat or lather on facial sunscreen the next time you head to the beach.
- Quit smoking: While smoking has plenty of harmful effects, the habit is likely harming your skin as well. In fact, cigarette smoke has been found to release an enzyme that actually breaks down collagen and elastin. This makes your skin age more quickly. A series of sibling studies at the Twin research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London found that the sibling who smoked had skin that was more wrinkled and 40% thinner than the non-smoker.
- Get enough sleep: Most of your body’s growth and healing happens while you sleep. Scientists estimate that up to 75% of the body’s daily human growth hormone is released during sleep. And this nifty hormone keeps your skin elastic and thick.
While the above habits are key to maintaining healthy and elastic skin, there are also simple clinical procedures that can supplement your skin care. Unlike plastic surgery, these are non invasive. Just be sure that you have them done by a licensed professional. The following clinical solutions are some of the most effective skin treatments available:
- Non-surgical facelift: As a non-invasive, FDA-cleared procedure, ultherapy lifts the skin on the neck, under the chin, and on the eyebrows. It can also reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This procedure has been performed more than half a million times around the world.
- Laser skin resurfacing: This laser procedure is fine tuned to treat your skin laxity. Fractional CO2 resurfacing works through two laser waves that penetrate the skin at all levels. The CO2RE technology causes little discomfort while providing dramatic results after just one session.
Remember that there is no perfect skin care routine. Each individual will need to craft their care to fit their specific body and needs. For most, a combination of natural and clinical methods will rejuvenate the skin and bring satisfactory results.
Muscles And Fat: Keeping Your Body Healthy
Maintaining a healthy weight and adequate muscle mass is at the base of your physical wellness. But as you age, it becomes more difficult to maintain your optimal weight. After age 30, your metabolic rate drops about 1% every year. At the same time, you lose as much as 5% of your muscle mass each decade after 30. Once you reach 40, this loss jumps to 8%.
As your body changes, you may notice a different fat and muscle distribution. At age 60, people might weigh the same they did at age 20 but with twice the body fat.
While this progression is natural, there are steps you can take if you want to prevent muscle loss and fat gain. As with taking care of your skin, there are natural steps you can take to start forming healthy weight management habits:
- Build muscle: Making an intentional effort to keep up your muscle mass through exercise is the best place to start. A solid rule is to lift weights that are heavy enough to exhaust your muscles with 12 repetitions but light enough to finish at least eight. While it’s important not to hurt yourself, you should be pushing yourself.
- Eat protein: Once you lift those weights, protein is the force that helps build your muscles. And once you reach middle age, your body needs 10% more protein than you did when you were younger, so shop for protein and intake it.
- Get moving: Exercise is key to strong muscles, healthy bones, and overall cardiovascular wellness. According to the CDC, adults should be getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Eating well and exercising provide a strong foundation for your bodily health. While these habits are some of the best you can stick to as you age, there are other steps you can take to boost your confidence even more. If you want to take a more cosmetic approach to your physical body shape, you may consider the following clinical solutions:
- Weight loss/nutritional programs: Studies have found that 80% of dieters try to lose weight on their own, and many of these people are unsuccessful. But a little encouragement does go a long way. A 2016 Mintel Diet Trends survey found that 70% of respondents said that a strong support system is essential to reaching their weight loss goals.
- CoolSculpting: This procedure uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat that will not disappear through diet and exercise. CoolSculpting is FDA-cleared and has been performed 4 million times worldwide.
Again, muscle-building and fat loss is a complex process. And since no two bodies are alike, you will have to take your own path to make your body look as healthy as it feels. Just be sure to nourish yourself and get enough rest throughout the process.
Wellness Inside And Out: A Lifetime Commitment
While changes in habits and clinical procedures can help you look and feel like your healthiest self, maintenance is also key. Achieving youthful longevity through small, consistent lifestyle changes. And one of the biggest parts of that? Positive thinking.
According to WebMD, thinking positively about aging might even increase your lifespan by 7.5 years. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, boosting lifespan by four years. Laughing has also been shown to reduce stress and boost immunity, so surround yourself with joyful people.
“Laughter is a way of coping and dealing with difficult situations,” Harvey Jay Cohen, MD, said to the AARP blog. “It has real benefits on a clinical level.”
By taking these initiatives to age well and feel great, you will be able to truly enjoy what life has to offer. From building a fulfilling career to spending precious time with family, every aspect of your life will be a little brighter when you feel and look your best. And with a healthy body comes longevity, allowing you to enjoy these sweet moments for years to come.
Simply eat well, exercise, and take control of your skin and body.
And don’t forget to smile in the process.