17 Habits You Had No Idea Can Help You Stay Young
The fountain of youth may be elusive, but these habits are the next best thing.
Though science has come a long way in the past century or so, even the most gifted of gerontologists still don't know how to reverse the aging process entirely. Sure, immortality might exist in movies and Marvel comic books, but in the real world, no amount of money or wishful thinking can prevent you from getting older.
However, if looking and feeling old is something you worry about now that you're approaching your later years, fear not—there is an attainable solution. Using these habits to stay young, you can add years to your life and even maintain that youthful look well into retirement. So, get ready to turn back the clock!
Drinking Tea Every Morning
If you're a tea drinker, then you're already well on the way to becoming ageless. According to one study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, both white and green teas contain enzymes that work to reduce wrinkles by protecting the skin against the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
Applying Sunscreen Regularly
The secret to younger-looking skin lies in your sunscreen use, according to Australian researchers. When they tracked 900 men and women over a four-and-a-half-year period, the scientists found that the subjects who were instructed to use sunscreen daily had fewer wrinkles and dark spots compared to those who used sunscreen sporadically.
Though excessive drinking can significantly age you (and even kill you if you overdo it), a few glasses of the good stuff can actually have quite the opposite effect. In fact, when researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied the drinking habits of older individuals, they found that elder folks who consumed alcohol in moderation had a better chance of living longer compared to both those who either drank in excess, who had a comparative mortality risk of 42 percent, and those didn't drink at all, who had a comparative mortality risk of 49 percent.
Believe it or not, all you have to do is tell yourself that you're still young and your genetics will follow suit. That's according to one study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, which found that elderly subjects who felt younger than they were experienced a slower brain aging process.
Spending Time in the Great Outdoors
If you want to ensure that your aging process feels like it's not even happening, then make sure to incorporate nature-like elements into your day-to-day life as you get older.
According to one study published in the journal Health & Place, being near nature (like walking through the park or reading by a pond) encourages older individuals to become more physically, spiritually, and socially active, all of which contribute to an improved quality of life and thusly a reversal in the aging process.
Most people already know that both exercising and meditating are surefire ways to stave off aging, so why not kill two birds with one stone and start practicing yoga? According to the Mayo Clinic, adding the soothing practice into your weekly routine can soothe stress, improve balance, and reduce risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure—and those are just some of the many ways that it can help you stay young.
Hanging Out with Friends
Make sure to spend time fostering your close friendships, especially as you start to get older. According to one study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these relationships could help you both improve your longevity and help you feel younger, no matter how many candles you're blowing out on your birthday cake.
Eating Red Fruits and Veggies
You've heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but did you know that a red apple a day also keeps the wrinkles at bay? These sweet treats, along with other red fruits and veggies like tomatoes and watermelons, contain lycopene, a carotenoid that has been shown to protect the skin against UV light damage and subsequent wrinkles and spots.
Exercising Your Brain
Don't limit the type of exercise you do to just your body. When Canadian researchers studied the impact of cognitive training on older adults, they found that those who exercised their brains had better memories compared to those didn't participate in the brain games.
Make sure to use your breaks at work to get out of seat and on your feet. According to one study published in BMJ Open, reducing your sitting time to less than three hours per day can add as much as two years onto your life expectancy.
Not all of the habits to stay young necessarily involve a treadmill or a piece of fruit. Take laughing, for instance: Not only is it actually fun, but researchers from Yeshiva University have shown that the simple expression of ecstasy can help older individuals live longer and be healthier.
There's no need to fight off that bout of fatigue in the middle of the day. When Harvard University experts studied 24,000 subjects, they found that for both men and women, taking a nap in the middle of the day—even for just 30 minutes—slashed mortality risk by as much as one-third.
Being Sexually Active
It might sound crazy, but it's true: According to one survey conducted by orthopedic support firm Neo G, people over 50 reported that having sex at least once every week helped them feel as much as 15 years younger.
Going on Vacation
Who said that feeling younger has to be boring? According to the same Neo G survey, people over 50 also noted that going on vacation every so often helped them feel younger than they actually were. Bon voyage!
Want to shave years off of your appearance? Then turn that frown upside down! In one study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers found that smiling faces were more likely to be perceived as younger compared to both neural and sad, frowning faces. And smiling doesn't just make you look younger: Several studies have shown that the facial expression can even keep the heart healthy and reduce stress levels.
Living Near Trees
If your ultimate goal is to look and feel younger, then you might want to steer clear of urban areas lacking in greenery. Why? In one study published in Scientific Reports, researchers found that having at least 10 trees planted on the block you live on equals out to feeling seven years younger. And what's more, those trees can also improve your physical wellbeing, keep your heart healthy, and benefit your mental health.
Sleeping in Your Birthday Suit
It's time to ditch those restrictive pajamas once and for all, at least if you want to stay young. According to Natasha Turner, ND, wearing pajamas to bed can prevent the body from cooling down, thereby disrupting the secretion of anti-aging hormones like growth hormone.
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