Recently, on a popular morning news program, the topic of aging was discussed. I wasn’t surprised that smoking and lying in the sun can make you look years older, but some other habits were a bit more unexpected. For many people, most of these habits can be changed relatively easily and will also help you feel more energized, in general.
1. Not getting enough sleep. Juggling work, kids and a personal life can take a toll on your sleep, but getting enough sleep is important. Research links lack of sleep to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and even just looking tired and older. Aiming for 7 to 8 hours sleep per night is about right for most people.
2. Eating too much sugar. Not only can a diet packed with sugar affect your waistline, but now experts also believe it can make your skin dull and wrinkled, too. Basically, the more sugar you eat, the less elastin and collagen your skin has. These are the proteins responsible for keeping your skin firm and wrinkle-free. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
3. Too much stress. Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, continuous stress can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood. Stress-relieving solutions like exercise and breathing exercises can help.
4. Not enough exercise. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes per day of an activity you like. It could be walking, swimming, golfing, or running…just get moving, every day!
5. No fat in your diet. If you are cutting fat from your diet in order to watch your weight, you may want to make sure that you are keeping the right fats in. Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats and the ultimate anti-aging fats, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Another kind, monounsaturated, can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, studies suggest that a higher intake of these fats may contribute to longer life expectancy.