Growing old is natural and inevitable but there are things you can do to help make sure you’re aging gracefully. Keep reading to know how to prevent premature aging.
7 Hacks for Aging Gracefully
1. Quit Smoking
If you haven’t already heard, smoking is bad for your health. It not only contributes to a variety of serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, but it also leads to premature aging.
The nicotine in cigarettes narrows blood vessels and, over time, it restricts blood flow. Your cells and organs may not be getting as much oxygen and nutrients.
When this happens, your cells or organs may not function as well as they should. Apart from that, smoking may also make you look older than you are.
Regular smoking is linked to the following dermatological issues:
- Sagging skin
- Skin discoloration/age spots
- Less efficient wound healing
- Hair loss
The chemicals and toxins in cigarettes destroy your body’s natural collagen and elastin—the building blocks of your skin. They can also cause oxidative stress from free radicals they introduce into the body.
What is oxidative stress? This occurs when there aren’t enough antioxidants in your body to fight against the damaging effects of free radicals, which are atoms that cause cellular damage.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise helps you age gracefully. The movement from exercise improves blood circulation, which means your cells, organs, and skin are getting more oxygen and nutrients.
Researchers from one study claim that exercise has multi-system anti-aging effects. Here are some of the benefits of regular exercise:
- Improves brain function – Exercising regularly increases neurogenesis. This process builds neurons, which are the building blocks of the nervous system. They help carry information from one part of the body to another.
- Improves cardiovascular function – Regular exercise is linked to lower blood pressure and better blood flow.
- Better muscle function – Exercise helps improve muscle quality, strength, and endurance. It also helps promote better balance and mobility.
- Promotes healthy body composition – Regular exercise helps keep weight down and increases fat-free muscle mass and bone density.
- Improves metabolism – Regular exercise helps maintain a higher resting metabolic rate and promotes muscle protein synthesis.
It may seem intimidating if you’re starting from scratch, so start with simple 15-minute physical activities like jogging or brisk walking and work your way up from there.
3. Protect Skin from the Sun
Regular and extended sun exposure can lead to visible signs of premature skin aging such as wrinkles, skin sagging, and hyperpigmentation. One study reports that UV exposure is responsible for 80% of visible signs of skin aging.
The sun’s UV rays are also the main cause of skin cancer.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent sun damage is to stay out of the sun. But that may not always be possible, so here are a few ways you can prevent unnecessary sun exposure:
- Always wear sunscreen even if you’re only going to spend a few minutes outdoors.
- Avoid direct sun exposure between 10 am-3 pm. This is when the UV rays are the strongest.
- Try to wear protective clothing if you expect to be under the sun for an extended period (ex: long sleeves, hats, and pants).
RELATED: How To Achieve Optimal Health
4. Manage Stress
Scientists explain that interaction between your genes and stressors can influence the aging process. Short-term stress is actually healthy and can help you live longer by activating important defense mechanisms essential for survival.
However, chronic stress has the opposite effect—it can speed up the aging process and shorten your lifespan. Stress also has an effect on how you look.
Studies show that chronic stress can lead to DNA damage which can contribute to skin aging. It’s impossible to live a stress-free life, but here are a few ways you can manage your stressors:
- Identify your stressors – It’s important to know the situations or contexts that can cause stress. Only then will you be able to avoid them or find the appropriate solutions for them.
- Develop coping mechanisms – If you can’t avoid your stressors, try to find ways to cope with stress. For example, if public speaking causes you stress, you can try relaxation techniques or breathing exercises before a big presentation.
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, or co-workers. Talking it out can help you see things in a new light or even find new solutions to your problems.
- Time management – Sometimes, you can reduce stress by managing your time well. It also helps you set your priorities and prevents you from overextending yourself.
5. Improve Quality of Your Sleep
Aside from these health issues, sleep quality also has an impact on how you look. Studies show that people who have poor sleep quality show more signs of skin aging.
They are also perceived as less healthy and less attractive compared to their well-slept counterparts. Here are a few tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep:
- Develop a sleep routine – Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help ensure that you’re getting enough sleep.
- Limit screen time at night – The light from gadgets is stimulating, so try to avoid using them a few hours before bedtime. That way, you’re giving your body the time it needs to transition into rest mode.
- Have a caffeine cut-off – Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can keep you up all night if you consume it late in the day.
- Create a sleep sanctuary – Declutter your bedroom and fill it with things that promote rest and relaxation. Avoid working in your bedroom so that you don’t associate it with stress.
There’s a reason why they call it “beauty sleep.” It truly helps you feel beautiful—inside and out!
6. Add Retinoids to Skincare Regimen
Retinoids are chemical compounds derived from Vitamin A. They help promote younger-looking skin by boosting collagen production and speeding up cell turnover.
Apart from skin aging, they can also treat skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.
There are skincare products that use retinol as an ingredient. You can also get over-the-counter, low-concentration retinol from drug stores.
If you’re interested in higher concentrations of retinol, consult your dermatologist. You may be able to get some with a prescription.
7. Consider Taking Supplements
Your diet and nutritional intake don’t only play a role in your overall health, but it also has an impact on your appearance. It’s ideal to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from your diet, but it may not always be possible.
If you aren’t sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need from your diet, you may want to consider taking supplements. They are a great way to bridge any nutritional gaps you may have.
If you’re interested in taking supplements to help prevent premature aging, talk to an integrative health specialist.
Everyone ages, but this doesn’t mean that you have to look or feel old. Remember, your health and well-being play an important role in aging.
Make a habit of prioritizing these aspects of your life so you can promote graceful aging. These strategies are a great place to start—so try a few of them today!
Do you have any other anti-aging tricks? Share them with us in the comments section.