While you’re in your twenties, you feel on top of the world. Your thirties? Still living your #bestlife. But once 40 rolls around, it’s not uncommon to officially start to feel old. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Whether it feels like it or not, 40 is the new 20, and there are plenty of things you can do that will make you feel just as good—if not better!—than you did when you were half your age, no Fountain of Youth required. Whether it’s finally signing up for those yoga classes at your local studio or going to bed at a decent time, it won’t be long before you’re doing laps around your kids. (Hey—they’re not the only ones who get to enjoy an unlimited amount of energy!)
If you want to make your forties better than ever, jot down these fun, easy, and science-backed ways to feel young again. And for more amazing ways to live your best life, don’t miss the 40 Ways City Living Makes You a Healthier Person.
Duh. Exercise Regularly
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 found those who have high levels of activity have younger cells than those who don’t by nine years. And if you’re in the market for some amazing fitness tips from America’s fittest CEO, don’t miss his guide to working out, living smarter, and feeling younger.
Spritz on Some Grapefruit
To feel younger, first, you just have to smell younger. One study found that participants who wore a grapefruit aroma were perceived to be five years younger than they actually were. So grab a citrusy scent—you’ll smell fresh and smell more youthful. Because yes, that’s a thing. Make sure you don’t get hosed on the price, though: fragrance is one of 30 Items You Should Never Pay Full Price For.
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, says the Cleveland Clinic. But when you drink your recommended eight glasses a day, it’s a totally different story: You’re energized and feel youthful. So drink up! The natural resource does wonders.
Have Sex Regularly
Well here’s a way to feel younger that no one will complain about. One study found having sex on the regular actually made the couples look—and feel!—seven years younger thanks to all the feel-good endorphins, increased blood circulation, and ridiculously fun workout. It definitely beats going on a run—that’s for sure.
Take Yoga Classes
Ready to get your Namaste on? The mind-body practice of yoga has been touted as a way to reduce stress for centuries through the breathing techniques and poses. 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, says the Mayo Clinic.
Spending time outside is great for the soul—and for helping you feel younger. A 2016 study found that getting outdoors and spending time in nature can make you happier and more energized, and in turn will make you feel more youthful. Not into hiking? Even spending some time 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, researchers found 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 ready to take on your day.
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. Sugar is highly addicting, yes, but you can beat it by following the 27 Smartest Ways to Control Your Cravings.
Whether you’re a man or woman, you should be in the weight room. And just because you’re lifting doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up: Weight training can help you increase your energy levels, endurance, and tones your body, creating muscle that makes you feel stronger and more youthful, says 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, and getting rid of stress and anxiety not only helps you sleep better and manage certain conditions like depression, but it also makes you feel more youthful overall.
It sounds too good to be true, but staying positive about growing old can actually make you stay young longer, says a 2016 study. 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 youthful.
Perfect Your Skin-Care Routine
If you haven’t already upgraded your skin-care routine to more natural products, the time is now. Considering your skin is the body’s largest organ, you have to take care of it extra well. When you spoil your skin and nourish it with products free of chemicals, allergens, parabens, and weird additives, you’ll immediately notice a difference in how it looks—and that difference will instantly make you feel younger.
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 at the park, and generally being more active than you might have without a furry friend.
Drink Some Wine
Go on—pour yourself a glass! According to one study, the resveratrol in red varieties could actually help slow brain aging. Not only will you get a youthful boost from all those antioxidants, but you’ll enjoy every sip in the process. And for more amazing ways to feel better, here are 20 Ways Spending Time Alone Is Great for Your Health.
Get Your Hair Done
Having a cut that doesn’t suit you can make you look and feel much older than you are. Whether it’s finally getting a stylish ‘do (if you’re a man) or getting a trendy lob (if you’re a woman who’s had the same long hairstyle for years) something as simple as a trip to the salon can totally change the way you feel about yourself.
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, change your personality, and make you irritable, drowsy, and have low energy—all things that will make you feel older than you are, says the Cleveland Clinic.
Spend Time With Friends
When your schedule gets busy, it’s easy to just blow off friends for a night in. But don’t cancel those meet-ups: One study showed having strong friendships can actually help you live longer and feel more youthful. Participants had lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a lower obesity rate.
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, says the Mayo Clinic—you can help keep your body alive and kicking, all while feeling great.
Go On an Adventure
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 like you’re half your age.
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 refreshed too.
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 energized, happy, and feel as youthful as ever.
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 study 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’.
Quit Any Bad Habits
Sorry, but smoking and excessive drinking still isn’t good for you—and that’s not going to change anytime soon. (Or ever.) By giving up your bad habits and letting your body get back to normal, you’ll add years onto your life—and you’ll definitely feel like a new, more lively, youthful version of yourself.
Work On Your Posture
Whether it’s just focusing on sitting up straight in your chair or taking regular yoga classes to improve your posture and flexibility through the poses, standing 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 twenties or earlier. You’ll not only get flashbacks of your favorite memories, but music has also been shown to boost your happiness levels.
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.
Start Acting Young
Sure, 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.
Drink Less Alcohol
Don’t worry—a little wine is totally fine, but when it comes to other alcohol? Don’t go too crazy, or you’ll be feeling anything but youthful. Many studies have found drinking too much can lead to premature aging, and the Mayo Clinic makes it clear that heavy drinking can also lead to certain cancers, liver disease, and other health problems.
Up Your Fruit and Veggie Intake
Mom was right: Eating your fruit and veggies is important, and doing so will help you get the vitamins and 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 forties 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, says the Cleveland Clinic. When everything feels good, so do you. And taking care of your body in your forties can make you feel even younger than you did years before.
Spend Some Time Volunteering
Is there a cause you care deeply about? Go volunteer. One study found volunteering for at least 200 hours not only increased participants’ psychological well-being and physical activity compared to non-volunteers, but they were also less likely to die from all-cause mortality. You’ll be healthy, feel youthful, and do some good.
Stretching probably doesn’t seem important unless you’re trying to perfect your splits or are thinking about joining a gymnastics team (hey, you could totally do it at 40!), but it’s more crucial for your wellbeing than you 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
Feel youthful is all about keeping your energy levels up, and a 10-minute walk a day can do just that. According to one study, that 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, says the American Academy of Dermatology. And who doesn’t feel great having flawless, damage-free skin?
Take Some Classes
You don’t have to go back to school (no one wants to be that young again!), 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 textbooks on hand will also make you feel just as young as you did the last time you were listening to an instructor.
Plant Some Trees
One easy way to feel younger is by simply planting some trees: A 2015 study found those who live on streets with more than 10 trees feel at least seven years younger. According to researchers, people who are around that greenspace not only have a higher health perception, but also significantly less mental health issues and conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
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 it may be, those endorphins 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. Next, be sure to read up on the 40 Ways to Look Younger After 40.
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