Take better control of your natural aging process with smarter management of your personal habits and lifestyle. Here are 10 proven, relatively easy steps you can take immediately to help slow down the physical signs and emotional impact of aging. Start today by resolving to…
1. Eat a Healthy Diet: It’s true that you are what you eat – and never more so than in middle age and your golden years. Plan a diet high in nutrient-rich foods, especially fresh vegetables and fruits. Be aware that, as you age, your body generally requires less protein. Limit your intake of meat, and eat more fish, especially those high in essential fatty acids. Avoid or minimize foods that can cause premature aging, i.e., foods with high levels of sweeteners and sugars, simple carbohydrates, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods.
2. Take Supplements Regularly: Supplemental vitamins, minerals, enzymes, hormones, probiotics and the like aren’t substitutes for a healthy diet. But when integrated with one in the right proportions, they give your body the proper, regular balance of nutrients that it needs to function optimally. Supplements also assist in reversing mitochondria decay, a key aging process.
3. Keep Moving and Stay Active: Studies indicate that more than 70% of populations in affluent Western countries are insufficiently active to gain the health benefits that regular exercise provides. Generally, active people have a physical capacity of those 15 years their junior. Make it happen for you with an active lifestyle. Start by walking, jogging or, if you can, swimming on a regular basis.
4. Avoid Severe or Chronic Stress: Stress response, known as the “fight or flight” syndrome, releases chemicals into your bloodstream, which, if chronic, or recurring regularly over time, accelerates aging and can lead to premature death. Avoiding stress or anxiety is often a matter of straightforward common sense. Stop…take a deep breath…and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”
5. Stop Smoking: Every thinking individual in the civilized world is well aware of the dangers of smoking. If you are still smoking, then be aware also of the many advanced programs and procedures available today to help you quit.
6. Avoid Being Overweight or Obese: Many of the diseases associated with aging are not actually caused by aging but rather are linked to being overweight. Achieving your ideal weight and maintaining it over the long term can avoid these diseases. Achieve that weight by losing unwanted pounds naturally. Keep them off by following healthy guidelines and recommended exercise regimens.
7. Have Regular Health Check-Ups: As you age, regular check-ups become increasingly important. They can help detect warning signs of potentially serious disorders. And they can also help you monitor conditions that are integral to the aging process. Women should regularly have a pap smear and a physical breast examination. Men should consider screening for prostate, colon and testicular cancer. And, for all, eye examinations are increasingly important with age, and should include screening for glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.
8. Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation: Older people metabolize alcohol more slowly. And, as they age, they also have less water content in their bodies. So the same glass of wine or beer delivers a proportionally higher percentage of alcohol to an older person’s system than a younger one’s. And that can worsen age-related health problems, such as liver ailments, diabetes, memory loss and high blood pressure. Moderate your intake. And, if you do drink, red wine may be your best option for anti-aging and overall health.
9. Protect Your Skin from Sunlight Damage: Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can not only cause premature aging of your skin, but can also trigger skin cancer. Even for short exposure to sunlight – especially at midday when it’s strongest – use UV-protection sunscreen. Select a product that contains the highest allowable percentage of zinc oxide (25%) and titanium dioxide (25%), both of which do not undergo significant chemical change with UV exposure. Use 30 SPF, or greater, and re-apply as indicated. Remember that if you are in the water, then sunscreen needs to be re-applied every 90 minutes.
10. Check Your Hormone Levels: If you are older than 30, then beware of these signs and symptoms of premature aging brought on by low hormone levels: excessive fatigue at the end of the day, inability to lose weight, problems concentrating, diminished results at the gym and loss of libido. They may be attributable to lower levels of the estrogen, testosterone and growth hormone (HGH). Have the levels of these vital hormones checked.
11. Stay Connected: As you age, it’s important to maintain good social and intimate connections. Studies show that such interactions help to maintain self-esteem, social worth and happiness. They also indicate that strong social networks, affections and confidence in others can lead to more rewarding and longer lives. The ability to give such emotional support to others is even more important to your health and anti-aging.
12. Seek Meaning and Contribute: Research indicates that, as you age, a new need for meaning and purpose is integral to both your mental and physical health and can slow down the aging process. New challenges, hobbies or work that stimulate your creativity and lend a sense of renewed purpose can keep your brain cells developing new connections right into old age. It is important to remain passionate about your activities and beliefs and to maintain an active interest in the world around you.