When it comes to aging well, it is a battle of your lifestyle versus your body. We now know that genetics only influence the aging process by 30%, so we can no longer use the excuse “I have bad genetics.” To keep our bodies healthy and aging gracefully, it is up to us to take the wheel of our lifestyle and steer it down the road of anti-aging and good health. If you practice proper habits your body will look younger and healthier for a whole lot longer! There are many lifestyle choices we make daily that influence our bodies and promote aging well. The major lifestyle influences are diet, protection and hygiene.
Your diet is totally up to you; so no genetics involved in aging gracefully here! You make the decision on what foods you choose to nourish your body with. Unhealthy foods like simple grains, sugar, processed fats and sodium are all accelerating the aging process. Keep those foods at a minimum, and choose more anti-aging foods. Anti-aging foods are foods that are high in antioxidants. These foods actually prohibit the free radicals that age you and keep your whole body in good health. The foods with the highest amount of antioxidant power to anti age your body are blueberries, blackberries, prunes, raisins and kale. Since we all carve time out of our day to eat, instead of choosing unhealthy foods, we should choose anti-aging foods.
By protection, we mean skin protection and protection from aging environmental factors. Skin exposure to the sun is the number one cause of premature aging. The thing is, we can prevent this! Limit the time you spend in the sun, especially during peak hours from 9-4. If you must spend time in the sun for an extended period of time, slather on sun screen with an SPF of at least 15. Another environmental factor to protect yourself from is smoking, and even secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoke is harmful to your skin, even if you are not the one smoking. If you live with a smoker you are most likely exposing yourself to secondhand smoke. According to Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, secondhand smoke will immediately have a harmful effect on the lining of your blood vessels, and there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. Aging well is a matter of prevention. Make sure you take certain precautions if you live with someone that smokes. Precautions include limiting smoking to exclusively outside and aerating your house with open windows as often as possible.
Skin care habits make all the difference when it comes to aging well. Keep a skin care routine to make sure you are covering all the necessary points. Here is a sketch of an ideal skin care routine:
- Morning cleanse followed by the application of sun screen and a good moisturizer.
- Re-apply sun screen throughout the day if needed.
- Cleanse your skin nightly to remove all of your makeup. Apply a moisturizer that is suitable for night time use to keep your skin moisturized through the night.
- Exfoliate based on your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, then once a week is plenty. If your skin type is on the oily side, then try exfoliating twice a week.
This skin care routine is ideal because it will help you anti age your skin and prevent acne. Look for a moisturizer and cleanser that have antioxidants, and are suitable for all skin types. Cleansing away your makeup is essential. Makeup residue on your skin can age your skin up to twice as fast! After you have washed away your makeup, cleansing will make sure there is no residue left over to harm your skin.
Aging well is exclusively up to us. Get your lifestyle on the right track before the signs of aging show up, not after. Using these lifestyle tips will keep you looking and feeling healthy well into your old age!