40 Genius Ways to Feel Younger After 40
Shave years off your mind and body and prove that age is just a number.
Getting older is inevitable and so is showing signs of aging. Your skin will develop wrinkles, your hair will go gray, and—no matter how hard you try to resist it—your birthday cake will gain a new candle each year. But just because you're getting older doesn't mean you need to feel older. And fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do that will make you feel just as amazing—if not better!—than you did when you were in your 20s.
Whether it's eating more anti-inflammatory foods or finding a new hobby, it won't be long before you're doing laps around your kids. Herein, we've rounded up the fun, easy, and science-backed ways to feel young again.
Spend more time with friends
When your schedule gets busy, it's easy to blow off your friends for a cozy night in. But don't cancel those meet-ups. One 2016 study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that having strong friendships can actually help you live longer and feel more youthful. Participants who were more social had lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a lower obesity rate.
Spending time outside is great for the soul—and for helping you feel younger. A 2016 study published in Nature found that spending time outdoors can make you happier and more energized, and in turn will make you feel more youthful. Not into hiking? Even just going on a walk around a park will have the same effect!
Smile as often as possible
Yes, you can feel younger simply by showing some teeth. In a 2016 study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers found that those who smile often are perceived as being younger than those who don't. And all that grinning makes you feel younger, too: It gets rid of stress, boosts your mood, and makes you feel ready to take on your day.
Everyone knows they should hit up the gym regularly—that's a given. But aside from the fact that physical activity keeps your body in tip-top shape, it's also important for helping you feel young. A 2017 study published in Preventive Medicine found those who do high levels of activity have cells that age more slowly than those who only do low levels of activity. On average, the former group had a nine-year biologic aging advantage.
Take some classes
You don't have to totally go back to school, but taking some classes on a subject you're interested in will do you some good. Learning a new topic will not only give your brain a boost, but having a couple of textbooks on hand will also make you feel just as young as you did the last time you were in class.
Plant some trees
One easy way to feel younger is simply by planting some trees: A 2015 study published in Scientific Reports found that those who live on streets with more than 10 trees feel at least seven years younger. According to researchers, people who are around that kind of greenery not only have a higher health perception, but they also have significantly fewer conditions, from diabetes to heart disease to mental health issues.
Drink some wine
Go on—pour yourself a glass! According to a 2018 study published in The Journals of Gerontology, the resveratrol in red wine could actually help slow brain aging. Not only will you get a youthful boost from all those antioxidants, but you can enjoy every sip in the process.
But don't drink too much
While a little wine is totally fine, when it comes to other alcohol, don't go too crazy, or you'll be feeling anything but youthful. Many studies have found that drinking too much can lead to premature aging, and according to the Mayo Clinic, heavy drinking can also lead to certain cancers, liver disease, and other health problems.
Spritz on some grapefruit
In order to feel younger, it might help to smell younger. One 2011 study published in Chemical Senses found that participants who wore a grapefruit scent were perceived to be five years younger than they actually were. So grab a citrusy scent—you'll smell fresh and more youthful.
Don't skip breakfast
It's easy to skip breakfast—mornings are busy, after all!—but that first meal of the day is super important. Not only is eating a protein-packed breakfast great for weight loss and keeping your hunger levels in check, but one 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal found it can also help you control your sweet and savory cravings throughout the day. Avoiding the excess sugar and salt will do wonders for your body, including making you feel like a youngin'.
Drink more water
When you're dehydrated, you don't feel good. At all. You're tired, low on energy, and certainly not feeling like yourself, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But when you drink your recommended eight glasses a day, it's a totally different story: You're energized and you feel youthful. So drink up! The natural resource does wonders for your body.
Have sex regularly
In 2013, researcher David Weeks, MD, presented findings to the British Psychological Society that showed having sex on the regular made couples look—and feel!—seven years younger. That's thanks to all the feel-good endorphins and increased blood circulation that come as a result of getting it on. Hey, it definitely beats going on a run!
Take yoga classes
The mind-body practice of yoga has been touted as a way to reduce stress for centuries. Making it part of your daily—or even weekly—routine will help calm your nerves, increase your strength and flexibility, and make you feel younger and more agile, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lay off the sugar
Eating sugar doesn't just make you look older—it also makes you feel older, too. By cutting the white stuff out of your diet, you'll lower your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation, and feel healthy and youthful while you're at it, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If you want to feel younger, you should be in the weight room. Weight training can help you increase your energy levels, endurance, and it tones your body, creating muscle that makes you feel stronger and more youthful, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Like yoga, meditation is an incredibly beneficial way to better your well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, it only takes a few minutes a day to find your calm. Getting rid of stress and anxiety not only helps you sleep better and manage certain conditions like depression, but it also makes you feel younger overall.
It sounds too good to be true, but staying positive about growing old can actually make you feel young longer. One 2016 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences even found a significant link between negative perceptions of aging and cognition. So not only are you aging at a slower pace than those who are pessimistic, but you're also feeling happy and youthful in the process.
Eat healthy snacks
When you're filling your body with healthy and nutritious snacks, you're giving yourself a boost of energy that will fuel you throughout the day and help you feel younger. To keep your stomach from growling between meals, the Cleveland Clinic recommends having foods like protein-packed nuts, fiber-loaded apples, and juicy, filling watermelon on hand.
Take your vitamins
Since it's tricky getting all the vitamins and minerals you need through your diet alone, make sure your body is getting everything it needs to stay healthy by taking a daily vitamin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's an easy way to help protect your body and feel that youthful energy, too.
Perfect your skincare routine
If you haven't already upgraded your skincare routine to more natural products, the time is now. Considering your skin is your body's largest organ, you have to take extra good care of it. When you nourish your skin with products free of chemicals, allergens, parabens, and other additives, you'll immediately notice a difference in how it looks—and that difference will instantly make you feel younger. And for more skincare advice, check out the 40 Ways to Guarantee Healthy Skin After 40.
Get regular facials
It doesn't matter if it's once a month or once a week; getting a regular facial isn't just a relaxing treat—it's also a necessity. Your skin will look completely renewed, and as you see those dark spots and circles disappear, you'll feel younger too.
Treat yourself to massages
Like facials, massages are incredibly important for your well-being. They keep you relaxed, help you let go of stress, and revive your muscles. When you leave the spa after a great treatment, you'll feel half your age—and that's a fact.
Get your hair done
Having a cut that doesn't suit you can make you look and feel much older than you are. But finally getting the stylish ‘do you've been eyeing can totally change the way you feel about yourself.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Inflammation is a major wellness buzzword right now for an important reason. While it's simply your body's response to an injury or infection, it can become damaging when it lasts too long, even causing chronic diseases. By eating healthy, anti-inflammatory foods—like fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and red wine in moderation, according to the Mayo Clinic—you can help keep your body alive and kicking, all while feeling great.
Go on a trip
Nothing makes people feel more alive than going on an adventure. Leave your unfinished to-do list behind for an epic trip, whether that's to a different country or simply visiting a new place that's only a couple hours away. You'll feel alive, excited, and half your age.
Adopt a dog
Aside from making you happy, having a dog as your best buddy can make you feel younger, too. You'll constantly be spending time outside on walks, playing in the park, and generally being more active than you might have without a furry friend.
Find a new hobby
No matter your age, there's never a bad time to take on a new hobby. Maybe it's rekindling your love of painting or taking up something totally new, but unleashing your creativity—and having an exciting new purpose—will make you feel energized, happy, and as youthful as ever.
Quit any bad habits
Smoking isn't good for you—and that's not going to change anytime soon (or ever). By giving up your bad habit and letting your body recover, you'll add years on to your life. In this case, quitting will make you feel like a new, more lively, youthful version of yourself.
Work on your posture
Whether it's just focusing on sitting up in your desk chair or taking regular yoga classes to improve your posture and flexibility through poses, standing and sitting up straight will give you a nice boost of confidence as well as make you feel more youthful.
Play your favorite music
Why is it that the instant you play a song from a certain point in your life, it feels like you've instantly turned back the clock? An easy way to feel younger is to play your favorite tracks from your 20s or earlier. You'll not only get flashbacks of your favorite memories, but music has also been shown to boost your happiness levels.
Start acting young
Yes, you have to pay your bills, go to work, and make sure the kids have a packed lunch for school—but that doesn't mean you can't act young. Stay out late once in a while, have movie nights, go to concerts—whatever makes you feel alive. Because when you act young, you feel young, too.
Spend some time volunteering
Is there a cause you care deeply about? Go volunteer. One study published in the journal Psychology and Aging found volunteering for at least 200 hours increased participants' psychological well-being and physical activity compared to non-volunteers. You'll be healthy, feel youthful, and do some good.
Catch some Zs
When it comes to aging, it's never too late to start prioritizing your sleep. Being sleep deprived not only makes you look older, but it makes you feel older too: A lack of sleep has been shown to mess with your memory, and make you irritable, drowsy, and have low energy—all things that will make you feel older than you are, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Up your fruit and veggie intake
Mom was right: Eating your fruit and veggies is important, and doing so will help you get the nutrients your body needs. When you keep yourself fueled, you'll feel like the Energizer Bunny. (So much so that you'll forget you're in your 40s in the first place!)
Focus on your gut health
The tiny little bacteria in your stomach are a pretty important way to stay healthy and feel younger. By eating probiotics—like miso, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt—you'll assist the "good" bacteria in your gut, which can decrease inflammation and keep your body working properly, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When everything feels good, so do you. And taking care of your body in your 40s can make you feel even younger than you did years before.
Stretching probably doesn't seem important unless you're trying to perfect your splits or are thinking about joining a gymnastics team. (And hey, you could totally do it at 40!) But it's more crucial for your well-being than you might think. According to Harvard Medical School, stretching regularly will help keep your body strong and flexible, which in turn keeps your joints and muscles healthy and injury-free. When you're not stiff and tired all day, every day, you'll feel like you took a trip back in a time machine.
Go on regular walks
Feeling youthful is all about keeping your energy levels up, and a 10-minute walk a day can do just that. According to one landmark 1987 study published in the Journal of Personal Social Psychology, a quick outing can give your energy a boost for two hours. And if you take multiple during the day as mini-breaks away from your desk, you'll be golden.
Obsess over sunscreen
It's never too late to fall in love with sunscreen. Applying it daily—no matter if it's rainy or sunny outside—will help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, preventing skin cancer, premature aging, dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And who doesn't feel great having flawless, damage-free skin?
Get your adrenaline pumping
Nothing will make you feel younger than getting your adrenaline pumping. Maybe you want to jump out of a plane for a skydiving session. Or perhaps it's bungee jumping! Whatever the thrilling adventure, those endorphins it causes will surely make you feel alive.
Sip some green tea
Feel youthful from the inside out by drinking green tea on a regular basis: According to Harvard Medical School, it's regularly associated with better health. And thanks to all the antioxidants in each cup, tea drinkers have been found to be less likely to develop diabetes and could have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. And now that you feel younger, here are 40 Ways to Look Younger After 40.
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