From wrinkle creams to cosmetic surgeries, diet pills to hair dye, Americans’ penchant for products that mask the effects of getting old is downright voracious. The effectiveness of these products varies, but there are some tried and true ways to look and feel younger that don’t involve any scalpels, needles or chemical infusions.
- Volunteer: Based on an analysis of the results of 73 separate studies, new research published in the journal “Psychological Bulletin” argues that aging adults who volunteer experience enhanced physical and mental wellbeing. Serving others in their community helped seniors stave off symptoms of depression, develop stronger social ties and was associated with increased longevity.
- Break a sweat: Physical disuse is the number one thing that amps up the aging process, according to Larry Matson, Ed.D., co-author of “Live Young, Think Young, Be Young…At Any Age.” That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day (though that probably won’t hurt). Simple changes, such as paying attention to your posture or picking up your walking speed—Matson suggests striding as though you’re late for a meeting—can make a big difference. Learn How to Stay Motivated At The Gym.
- Manage your stress: The sky-high cortisol levels that accompany chronic stress can contribute to metabolic dysfunction and increased inflammation. Deep breathing, practicing mindfulness and adopting a daily meditation practice are simple ways to slash your stress levels.
- Put out that cigarette: Smoking’s link to heart disease and cancer is no secret, but a recent study conducted on twins found that the faces of people who puff are more likely to display the physical signs of aging, including wrinkling (especially around the lips), sagging jowls and upper eyelids, bags under the eyes, and more visible lines around the nose and mouth.
- Adjust your attitude: “Most people underestimate the effect of the mind, but research in this area is very powerful,” Matson says. For individuals who tend to see the world in a gloomier light, developing a more balanced, optimistic outlook can offer significant health benefits.
- Minimize chemical exposure: Chemicals, both dangerous and benign, are everywhere in our daily lives. While there’s no getting around the car exhaust and other pollution in the outside world, you can take steps at home to reduce your toxic chemical exposure, such as investing in a water filter, cutting down on your use of aerosol cleaning products and being cognizant of the chemicals in your food and beauty products.
- Drink responsibly: The research surrounding the potential health benefits of alcohol is conflicting, but moderation appears to be essential when it comes to reaping these potential benefits. Women in particular should aim for imbibing no more than two drinks in a single day.
- Reconsider certain prescriptions: Many aging adults take a plethora of daily medications. This widespread polypharmacy can have serious health consequences. A new study found that many medications taken by older adults can significantly increase a person’s risk for falling, and the potential for adverse drug interactions increases with every added prescription.
- Eat healthy: Despite the rise of complex fad diets, the central concepts of healthy eating are relatively simple: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. If portion control is a problem, Matson says to remember the rule of halves; half of the pleasure of eating happens in the first bite and is reduced by half with each subsequent mouthful.
- Exercise your mind: As with physical exercise, mental exercise is essential to staving off the effects of aging. “As we get older, we just don’t realize how much less we use our mind,” Matson says, “We get zoned into a particular job task and get good at it, but we don’t use other parts of our brain.” Maintaining mental fitness requires more than a daily Sudoku. Check out these 8 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp.
By Aging Care
AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.
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