[By Brenda Chong]
Ahhh… youth. How many of us secretly wish that we could be 18 again? While we might not necessarily want to have the mentality of an 18 year old but we’d sure love to have the energy and powers of recovery, not to mention the lack of wrinkles and sun spots. But we just have to put up with getting old, right?
Not so fast. We tend to accept in our society that degenerative disease is part of the aging process but a lot of it comes from lifestyle.
Age really is just a number. Here’s how simple lifestyle habits can help fight the signs of aging to keep you looking and feeling young.
1. Get more sleep
Sleep is the golden hour when our body does its healing and repairing. Enough sleep is essential for both deep and superficial repairs, meaning everything from regenerating adrenal glands to healing that pimple on your chin. And while a nap or a weekend sleep-in does make a difference, it’s the day-to-day sleep deprivation that really promotes degeneration, as well as a body that’s prone to getting sick.
How much should you be getting? At least eight hours, more if you’re dealing with health challenges or extra stress. Think you don’t have enough time? Consider all the time you’ll lose later when you crash and burn with a cold or the flu – and think of how much happier and less stressed you are when you get more sleep. (Stress is aging, after all.) There might be less waking hours, but they’re higher quality.
2. Go outside – and avoid pollution
We get caught in this cycle where we spend our days in air-conditioned offices and evenings in enclosed gyms, failing to get a proper breath of fresh air day in day out. Our prescription? Go for a walk, a run or a bike ride outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine – and if you must stay indoors, at least crack a window.
Airborne toxins are one cause of health problems, including accelerated aging – but indoor pollution can be just as bad as outdoor, if not worse. So get out of the house, and if possible, choose less-trafficked streets and tree-filled parks to roam in, as they’ve got lower levels of airborne pollutants.
3. Move more, but don’t overdo it
I am a big fan of exercise, which helps prevent aging. Experts feel that higher amounts of moderate exercise are best, rather than infrequent high-intensity bursts, which put stress on the body. Less intense exercise more frequently is better for the long run. However, if you are a fan of high-intensity exercise, whether it’s 21-km runs or strenuous weight-training sessions, eat properly before and after, and be mindful of hydration.
4. Hydrate, and drink less caffeine and alcohol
If we’re dehydrated we’re like a raisin versus a grape. If our cells are dehydrated, we actually get wrinkly. Drinking enough water is a given – you shouldn’t be feeling thirsty – but also eating lots of water-rich foods, which means fresh fruits and vegetables.
Both coffee and alcohol are dehydrating and aging, limiting consumption of those is recommended if you want to stay hydrated and youthful.
5. Eat your greens
Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses, so consume as much as you can handle. One elegant way to getting enough greens is to juice them. Try creative ways to work greens into meals in as often as possible, for instance put a bit of raw spinach in a smoothie, chop greens up and mix them in brown rice, quinoa or burgers and spike your food with vegetables.
6. Boost antioxidants
Aging is caused or contributed to by circulating free radicals in our body, similarly it can be countered with eating high-antioxidant value foods. So eat lots of fruits and vegetables, including berries, nuts such as walnuts and pumpkinseeds and spices like turmeric, cinnamon and oregano –as unprocessed as possible. If you feel your diet is lacking in antioxidants, consider supplementation. We like Blackmores Multivitamins and minerals.
7. Breathe deeply, and have more fun
Deep breathing – expanding your lungs to their fullest potential – helps rest the nervous system, which in turn promotes relaxation and reduces stress. And in between deep breaths, just try to have more fun overall. Loving what you do most of the day, loving who you choose to share your bed with – all of those things are important for health and longevity.
8. Get a skin clean out once in a while
Our skin is as important as our hair, nails and clothes. Therefore it makes sense that you give it a thorough cleaning once in a while. Unlike the skin on our bodies, facial skin has more sebaceous glands and larger pores which can become clogged with debris and dirt. Get a professional facial to keep your skin clear and fresh, this will also ensure that your skin is able to absorb the products you are applying on it. Our favourite is Deep Deep Clean facial.