It seems like some people really have the upper hand when it comes to aging:
Barely-there wrinkles, a full head of hair (free of any silver streaks!), and cheeks as plump as the day they were born...
And I mean, suspiciously plump.
The truth is, there's more to aging than just pushing back the inevitable change with a little medical enhancement, if you get what I mean.
Not that there's anything wrong with a little jab of Botox here and a pinch of Juvederm there, but not everything to do with aging gracefully has to do with changing what's on the outside.
What Influences How We Age?
We can all agree that aging well is something that we start thinking about sooner than we would like.
There are just so many parts to it—
Life expectancy is increasing, the idea of success later in life isn't as shocking, and of course, we observe certain public figures aging so gorgeously (looking at you, Meryl Streep!) that it makes us wonder what on Earth are they doing right.
The fact is:
When it comes to gracefully earning a silver crown and the lines that (hopefully) accompany wisdom and knowledge, you can keep a few tricks up your sleeve for keeping your elegance, poise, and even ensuring that you're getting more attractive with age.
We all want to age like a fine wine, right?
There are a whopping total of seven science-backed factors that can mean the difference between just aging and aging gracefully.
They're a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic factors—that is, things that would affect you from the inside compared to those that affect you from the outside.
Intrinsic covers things like diet, stress, sleep—all factors that ultimately affect you internally. Extrinsic usually covers things like, you know, a little bit of surgical enhancement, coloring hair… Stuff that's on the outside.
Regardless of how you feel about the latter, I think you'll agree with me when I say:
Aging beautifully takes work from inside and out.
Let's delve into simple things you can do!
1. Stay Mindful and Stress Less
...Easier said than done, right?
Scientists have found that extra stress can accelerate physical signs of aging—wrinkles, weight gain, frown lines, and even affecting hair color.
(I think I speak for all of us when I say that we've given—and received—a few gray hairs in our lives!)
When under constant stress, our bodies generate floods of hormones that are linked to health issues such as immune system suppression, high blood pressure, and weight gain.
Not to mention the other incredibly visible, major physical sign of stress—deep wrinkles.
Constantly brow-furrowing and frowning contribute heavily to those tell-tale ‘11s' between the brows!
Practicing mindfulness and reducing stress can make a difference between playing wrinkle wrinkle little star at 40 vs. 60!
2. Don't Forget Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a total powerhouse when it comes to aging gracefully.
Using antioxidants in skincare can make a huge difference that you can see and feel. Antioxidant supplementation can also help keep you looking young for your age. Here's how:
Antioxidants work to protect cells in the body from free radical damage and oxidative stress, a process that has been identified as the root cause of most chronic disease and the aging process itself.
Ensuring that antioxidant levels are high can prevent a lot of the associated issues that free radicals like to bring to the party.
I know what you're thinking—there are a lot of different antioxidant supplements on the market today, so how are you supposed to choose the right one?
We’re happy to introduce a unique antioxidant, which eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, reduces oxidative stress, and puts the body in balance:
3. Get Some Quality Shut-Eye
While you might notice that as you get older, you naturally seem to sleep less—but that doesn't mean quality time snoozing isn't important.
In fact, sleep is a critical rest period (for not just your body, but your mind).
Quality, restful sleep consolidates memories and ensures mental sharpness. When you don't sleep well, you're more likely to deal with irritability, brain fog, and even depression.
Besides, it's an incredibly important recovery period for your physical health—lack of sleep is linked to a poor immune system, slow healing, and worst of all, premature signs of aging.
To make sure that you're sleeping like a baby, create a healthy bedtime ritual that includes no screens two hours before bed, no caffeinated drinks past 3 pm, and doing something relaxing like reading a good book or an easy crossword puzzle.
Setting your brain and body up for optimum R&R now ensures that you'll look good for your age, later!
4. Become an Eternal Optimist
There is a lot to say about positivity and happiness improving overall health and completely changing your mindset.
I can totally read your mind—I know that you're thinking.
Thinking positive does sound like complete and utter woo, but how it works is by completely reframing your perspective in the world. This little excerpt from a Roald Dahl book puts it simply but succinctly—your internal thoughts are what controls your actions and frankly how you carry yourself.
Just think about your body language when you're stressed or angry. You'll be hunched over, arms crossed and probably scowling—not exactly the picture of aging gracefully, am I right?
A positive mindset is also associated with greater resilience and life expectancy. Scientists haven't pinned down the exact cause, but it's thought that positive thinking encourages the brain to focus on good things—as in, reasons for living—instead of giving up the ghost.
5. Keep Active—Mentally & Physically
No one's saying that you have to lift weights or be able to do the splits, but physical activity is essential for anyone wondering how to age well.
Keeping active is the one super simple thing that everyone tries to avoid doing by going for diet pills and quick fixes instead—but keeping active really is that simple.
Seriously, consider this the ultimate ‘one weird trick' that makes a difference. It's not a matter of conditioning yourself to the level of an Olympic athlete, sometimes it's just walking for at least 20 minutes every day.
It doesn't sound hard, right?
What the hard part really is, is doing it every day—and that's the real ‘one weird trick' that keeps you healthy, moving, and looking good for your age.
Well, there's a whole laundry list: prevents weight gain, keeps joints and bones strong, boosts mood, staves off stress, and keeps arteries from hardening—and that's just to name a few.
Physical as well as mental exercises are crucial to aging gracefully—it keeps your wits and mind sharp as a tack. Who doesn't want to be that older relative with all of the unexpected zingers?
Studies have suggested that these two combined could help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, Dementia, and general brain fog.
Ways to keep yourself on your toes include always learning (whether it's a new language or a skill, up to you!), crosswords, and social games like chess.
6. Bring Your Skincare Down to the Neck
One of the surefire ways to tell anyone's age is by looking at their necks and their hands—two of the most treacherous body parts for giving away age.
If you're really dedicated to your skincare and feeling kind of fancy, you can bring your skincare all the way down to your décolletage—but stop skipping your neck!
The neck is incredibly vulnerable as it tends to be a little thinner-skinned than the face. It also doesn't have as many sebaceous glands as your face does, so it's not as naturally moisturized.
Does that mean you have to go out and buy a neck moisturizer?
Not at all—your regular facial moisturizer will go a long way to preventing premature turkey neck from happening.
Ensuring that that crucial, delicate area is constantly moisturized can mean the difference between a refined, elegant yet older look and a quivering turkey neck.
That goes for bringing your sunscreen down to your neck, FYI!
Which reminds me...
7. Don't Forget the SPF!
And I'm not talking just on pool or beach days.
Incorporating a lightweight, daily facial sunscreen will go a long way to keeping you looking younger for longer. It's not going to completely stop the clock (c'est impossible!), but it can help you avoid looking older than your years down the track.
This is a habit best started in your twenties, but it's never too late. UV exposure is actually the number one cause of premature signs of aging.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating for turning into a vampire and becoming a total shut-in from the sun. UV light exposure is critical for boosting our Vitamin D levels, among other beneficial effects. However:
There is no denying the overall negative effect that too much sun exposure has on our bodies. It doesn't only contribute to more serious health concerns like cancer, it's a surefire way to make yourself look older than you actually are.
Those pesky UVA rays.
Unlike UVB rays (which are the ones responsible for burning and tanning), UVA rays cause damage that takes longer to show up.
What that means is, a lot of people don't realize that by the time they're reaching for wrinkle creams, the damage is already done.
UVA rays cause oxidative stress to cells, which mainly affects collagen—the protein responsible for bouncy, youthful skin.
So seriously, wear your sunscreen. And NOT a homemade one, I beg.
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...Not to even mention the fact that it's showing promise as an invaluable addition to an anti-aging regimen.
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