As someone in my late forties I often have people mistake me for someone younger than I am.
At the request of one of my readers (thanks Jill!) I have complied a list of some of things I do to help myself age decently.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast.
A healthy breakfast revs up your metabolism, lowers your incidence for developing heart disease and diabetes, improves your memory function and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. source
All winter I eat hot homemade cereal of steel cut oats, flax and hemp seeds with yogurt, fresh strawberries (or other fresh fruit), cinnamon, raisins and a bit of honey.
It warms my insides in the morning and feels like armour against this everlasting winter.
The steel cut oats take time to properly cook so I make it once a week and then store it in the fridge and just warm it up in the microwave daily as I need it.
In the summer I eat my own version of homemade granola with fruit and yogurt.
Goes without saying right?
Exercise has been shown to affect our bodies on a cellular level and actually slow down the aging process by preventing the shortening of our telomeres, strands of DVA at the ends of each of your chromosomes that keep them in tact. (source)
Yet so many of us still don't fit it in.
Make an effort.
Normally during summer, spring and fall I walk my dog every day. Believe me, she makes sure I do. During the cold winter weather I don't have that opportunity. That is why we both can't wait for Spring.
I run, lift free weights and do floor exercises with lots of stretching a couple times per week. The more I workout, the more energy I have and the better I sleep.
Every day before I get out of bed and every night before I go to bed I do 10-15 minutes of stretches and core exercises. This has helped my bad back tremendously. In the past my back would go out a couple times per year and I would be incapacitated as one of my lower discs had slipped. Now with the stretching I have managed to avoid that.
3. Be Creative
As a creative person this one is one of my most loved daily activities but not always something I manage to fit in. I'm working towards changing that.
Being creative is a stretch for the mind. I consider it play for adults. Using your imagination is fantastic for relieving stress.
Everyone is creative in their own way. Just find what works for you.
Cooking, writing, drawing, building, singing, dancing, painting, just thinking up ideas and creating lists of those ideas is a way to allow your mind to play and explore.
You don't need to do it for a long time every day. Even 15 minutes of creative brainstorming daily will leave you with long lasting positive mental benefits.
4. Listen To Music
Easy right? Music relaxes your body, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and eases pain. (source)
It can transport you to a different time and different place in the middle of your work day.
It can motivate you, make you sad or feel like getting up and bustin' a move.
Music touches our souls and lets our brains take a mini vacation.
Try listening on your way to work or when you are having a coffee. I often listen to a "Best of the 1980's to Today" station while I'm working at my computer.
Make some great playlists of different tempo mixes. They will be there for you to turn to like a good friend when you need them.
I have relaxo, retro, dance, and running mixes on my ipod.
Two of my newest favourites on my relaxo iTunes mix right now are Mon Manege A Moi remake by Etienne Daho (video is lame but song is good)
and La Chanson des Vieux Cons by Vanessa Paradis.
And yes…everything does sound sexier in French.
5. Drink UP
Your body is 50-65% water. Getting enough of it daily will help you manage your weight, keep your hair and skin looking great and make sure you body eliminates toxins.
I drink 2 cups of hot water each morning and then the rest of the day I drink another 6-8 glasses of carbonated water. We bought a soda machine a few months back and I have become addicted to it. I can basically drink homemade Perrier all day long. Even when I'm out of the house I always take a bottle of water in the car with me.
6. Laugh A Little
Laughing and smiling is brilliant for stress. Smiling makes us all look better and feel younger. One study suggests that people who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most.
Find something that makes you laugh every day. With the internet now it's not hard to find good jokes, hilarious photos & blogs, or comedic podcasts online.
Every day I am able to find one blog post that makes me smile or laugh out loud. The Daily Tay is one of the places I sometimes go for a laugh.
7. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
A lack of consistent sleep disrupts the release of certain hormones in your body, impacting every single biological process. This can lead to an increase in inflammatory substances in your blood stream which can lead to damaging your skin on a cellular level. (source)
Winding down at the end of a day so you can get a restful night's sleep can be challenging. Often our brains don't want to shut off and we spend hours analyzing our day or mentally preparing for the following day.
Having a bedtime ritual whether it be reading, stretching or meditation will help you relax before you climb into bed and prepare your mind to shut down for the day.
I use my 15 minutes of stretching as my daily routine to let my body know I'm getting ready to go to sleep.
8. Use Sunscreen & Exfoliate.
If I could take back all of my days basking in the sun and tanning beds I would. Nothing ages your skin more (other than smoking) than the sun.
I always wear a hat in the sun and use a 30-60 SPF sunscreen on my face and body when I am outside.
People often forget to put sunscreen on the back of their hands. I now have age spots on my hands because of that.
Exfoliate weekly or bi-weekly.
This is such a simple thing that makes a big difference.
I do it every 3-4 days while in the shower. I don't use anything, just my fingertips. I wait till the end of the shower to allow my skin to moisten and then just before I ready to get out of the shower I gently but firmly rub my skin in an up and down motion with my fingertips. All the dead skin just rolls right off. Some people use a bit of regular grain white sugar to do this but I find I don't need anything. Here is a more detailed description of how I exfoliate. I normally just exfoliate my face, neck and chest area.
8. Be Grateful
It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy. -Unknown
Gratitude can boost the immune system, and increase production of DHEA, the “anti-aging hormone.” (source)
Practising daily awareness allows us to appreciate what we have right now.
Not what we want tomorrow,
not what we had yesterday,
but what is here right now
in this moment.
That you are still here.
That is reason enough to be thankful.
Being aware of that on a daily basis will help you keep a positive attitude and that will translate into a healthier younger you.
Since my health scare last year I am more aware than ever of the daily tasks my body allows me to perform. I have kept those memories fresh in my mind to remind myself daily of all that I have to be grateful for.
All of these tips are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and when practised regularly will help you age slower and live longer.
Do you have any useful tips you practice yourself that you'd like to share?