7 Secrets of Staying Young
Here's how to find the real-life fountain of youth — fountain not required.
Explorer Ponce de León went rogue when exploring La Florida at the behest of the Spanish Crown and went looking for the fountain of youth. Did he find it? No. In fact, de León keeled over in Havana, Cuba, at the not-so-ripe age of 47. If, however, he'd stayed in Spain and merely followed these seven steps for staying young, he could have saved himself the bother. Life's funny, isn't it? So read on, then check out the report that's changed thousands of lives: 100 Ways to Live to 100!
Ultraviolet (UV) rays break down skin fibers, which cause it to sag and lose elasticity. If, like old Ponce, you're going to be spending time outside, use a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30, and wear a hat with a brim that casts a shadow over your face. Not only will it prevent you from resembling Jack Palance or a baseball glove, avoiding sunburn lowers your chances of developing skin cancers like melanoma, one of the hardest malignancies to treat. You can lower your risk by covering up or slapping on sunscreen to prevent a burn. Just don't go overboard and refuse to leave the house unless you're in full goth attire: Sun exposure is crucial for your natural production of Vitamin D, which a supermajority of Americans are deficient in, particularly those living in northern states. It's associated with a lower risk of several cancers.
Have more sex
Whether you're a man or woman, you can look five to seven years younger if you do more of what men and women often do together. Sounds too good to be be true? Dr. David Weeks, a clinical psychologist and former head of old-age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, spent ten years quizzing thousands of men and women of all ages about their sex lives. Respondents between the ages of 40 and 50 who were said to look younger reported having sex 50 percent more often, amounting to three times per week as opposed to two. Why? Well, it seems that intercourse causes the release of human growth hormone, which makes skin look more elastic, among other biological reactions. While speaking with the British Psychological Society in 2013, Weeks explained that sex might not only make someone look younger, it could also prolong one's life span. "Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other morale factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted,"said Dr. Weeks. "Sexuality is not the prerogative of younger people, and nor should it be." To keep the home fires burning, check out our exclusive guide to the Secrets of the Best Relationships!
Moving your body on a regular basis is definitely one of the best hedges against aging (not to mention dying early). If you're doing it right, you'll likely lose fat or gain muscle but preferably both. Getting fit will help you ward off many chronic diseases, but aside from the myriad health benefits, raising your heart rate will encourage blood flow to the skin which can actually change its composition, according to research at McMaster University in Ontario. You'll also improve your shoulder-to-waist ratio, which means that in short order, you'll be looking like a man who is in his prime rather than one who is past it.
Drink green tea
Okinawa, an island off mainland Japan, is home to more centenarians than anywhere else in the world. In fact, about seven out of every 10,000 citizens live to blow out 100 birthday candles! What do they have in common? They drink green tea every day — and it's likely one of the reasons they live so long, say experts. Researchers from the Norwich BioScience Institutes recently discovered that polyphenols, a type of micronutrient in green tea, block something called VEGF, a signaling molecule in the body that triggers plaque buildup in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks, stroke and vascular disease. The life-extending brew may also ward off wrinkles by fighting inflammation and improving the skin's elasticity, keeping you young both inside and out. Stock your kitchen with these 25 That'll Keep You Young Forever!
Whiten your teeth
Dingy chompers speak to all the coffee, red wine and cigarettes you've enjoyed over the years. Not good. Your first move? Exactly what you were told as a kid: Visit the dentist for a cleaning and exam twice annually. Once stains have been removed, try a whitening toothpaste. Smile still not popping? Look into a professional whitening treatment. Going forward, eat apples, celery, raw carrots, broccoli and other crunchy greens, which can actually exfoliate fresh stains. They're just a few of the 25 Foods That'll Keep You Young Forever!
Dry skin can look so dull that you can actually end up looking like you're covered in a thin layer of dust. Use a moisturizer on your face, hands and body. An effective, natural and inexpensive option is coconut oil. Not only is it effective at locking in moisture and staving off wrinkles, you'll smell and taste like a macaron. Women love macarons! Another tip: Wear tinted moisturizer If your complexion looks even in tone, you appear younger, according to research by Dr. Bernhard Fink, an expert in evolutionary psychology at the University of Gottingen. And keeping your mug moist is only one of these 50 Ways to Look Younger in Your 50s!
Get more sleep
When your co-workers tell you that you look tired, they really mean that you look bad, old or both. Next time you're at the water cooler, hand them a tall glass of STFU by having snoozed your way to a more youthful, vibrant appearance. Studies indicate that seven to eight hours of shut-eye is optimal, and it'll make you look younger, happier and more attractive. Talk about an easy route to reeling back the years. (And extending them: According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, getting less than six hours of sleep a night comes with a 10% increase in risk of death!) Having trouble? These 10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight will help you get the best shuteye of your life.