Growing old is an inevitable part of life, yet people can age gracefully and look good well into the latter stages of life if they take proper care of themselves. Aging is visually defined when there is a clear presence of wrinkles on the skin, loss of pigmentation that gives humans their vibrant hue, and reduced of firmness of the skin. Though a natural process, environmental, lifestyle and dietary factors can speed up the aging process leading to a premature appearance of old age among individuals still considered young socially. .
Some common habits such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking (or the alternative vaping) are well-known precursors to the early onset of aging. However, there are other overlooked factors such as overexposure to the sun, lack of sleep and exercise, and a bad diet that can also lead to premature aging. While accepting change is part of the aging process, there are certain habits and behaviors that can be adopted to ensure that aging occurs at a natural pace and has minimal impact on appearance. This way, investments into anti-aging creams and treatments such as botox which only temporarily freeze the aging process can be avoided.
Leading a sedentary life accelerates aging, as regular exercise increases blood flow and slows down muscle deterioration. When we exercise, our brain naturally releases human growth hormone (HGH) which regulates body composition and muscle growth preventing muscle deterioration commonly seen in aging individuals. Since people start losing 1 to 2 percent of muscle mass per year after age 50 (though the process for muscle loss begins as early as 30), exercise is key to slow down the process.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults every night. Sleep has various benefits ranging from lowering the risk for heart disease and sharpening our memory. Yet, sleep also leads to natural release of HGH which helps restore collagen and elastin in our body. These proteins are essential in repairing damaged skin which is why proper rest is essential in maintaining young, wrinkle-free and vibrant skin
Reduce Exposure To The Sun
Data from the Skin Cancer Foundation has found that 90% of visible changes to the skin seen in aging are due to harmful exposure to the sun. Lengthy and unprotected time spent in the sun exposes the skin to the harmful effects of UV rays which subsequently hastens its degradation. This leads to reduced skin elasticity and pigmentation, which are all hallmarks of aging. However, sun damage is easily avoidable through use of proper use of sunscreen, but the best remedy remains reducing any unnecessary exposure as much as possible.
Watch Your Diet
Perhaps the most important habit, a healthy diet is critical in providing the proper nutrition our bodies need to remain functioning as a well-oiled machine. Nourishing foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein stimulate production of anti-oxidants which are key in defending the body from harmful free radicals that contribute to a speedy aging process. Free radicals are unstable molecules that make their way through the body looking for cells with a free electron to achieve stability, and in the process damage normal functioning cells. The greatest challenge with maintaining a nutritious diet is that as people grow older (or become stressed), their appetite for food and water reduces, so it’s recommended to consult a medical expert to plan out a proper course of action.
While it’s impossible to stop the ticking biological clock present within every one of us, there are habits and behaviors that can be adapted to slow down the process. Doing so will ensure that as old age is not accompanied with an appearance of weakness and frailty.