Your lifestyle has consequences on your physical health as well as your mental wellbeing. How you live impacts how well you live. Aging successfully means that you will be able to continue doing the things you enjoy for as long as possible. So it makes sense to avoid the habits known to accelerate aging, and embrace actions that promote healthy aging.
The age accelerators are things that promote free radical damage and inflammation. They may also increase your risk for age-related diseases. Seven age accelerators that you can modify are:
1. Smoking: This is no surprise. Smoking damages your genetic material, and accelerates aging inside and out. On the outside, it causes skin damage and wrinkles. On the inside, it may lead to cancer and heart disease. It also increases the risk of many other age-related diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
2. Stress: Learn how to minimize the stressors in your life because they influence several factors associated with aging. Unmanaged stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, clotting and inflammation: all factors which increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress also hampers immunity and mental function, reduces libido and it can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which may cause unwanted belly fat.
3. Obesity: Our lives depend on cellular division. For example, a blood cell typically only lasts about 120 days. Each time a cell divides, its telomere loses a small amount of DNA. When the telomere becomes too short, cells can no longer divide One British study on cellular division found that obese people have higher-than-normal levels of leptin, which is an appetite-inhibiting hormone that is also associated with telomere shortening. The lead researcher told the media, “The difference between being obese and being lean corresponds to 8.8 years of extra aging.”
4. Inflammation: Now recognized as a significant contributor to many age-related diseases, inflammation is a normal part of your body’s immune response. When it goes into overdrive or malfunctions, it can become chronic. Chronic inflammation is associated with arthritis, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and other maladies.
5. Lack of sleep: Getting insufficient rest may increase inflammation and your blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of blood clots.
6. Excessive sun exposure: The sun’s rays accelerate skin aging, and causes premature including wrinkling and changes in pigmentation (sun spots). Sun exposure also increases your risk of skin cancer.
7. Poor diet. High sugar intake promotes insulin resistance. A poor diet can also rob you of energy.
What do you love to do so much that you hope to continue doing it for many years to come? Here are five positive things you can do to promote healthy aging:
1. Exercise: If you’re trying to move through your life while sitting down, make today the day that you change your ways. Exercise helps to keep your joints limber and promotes flexibility. It also helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, improves cardiovascular and lung function, and in general is the great aging inhibitor!
2. Sleep well: Learn techniques for better sleep such as making your room dark, turning down the thermostat at night, and leaving all of your electronic devices in another room. Supplements, beverages and other products fortified with Suntheanine may also help to slow your brain waves, which helps you to counteract the stress in your life and helps you to relax so that you can sleep better at night.
3. Put up a fight against free radical damage: It’s difficult to get enough antioxidants from diet alone. Complement the fight with supplements. Certain supplements that have been shown in animal studies to extend lifespan include Coenzyme Q10, grape seed extract, tocotrienols, Green Tea high in EGCg and omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Feast on superfoods: Some foods simply pack a bigger nutritional punch than others. These include antioxidant-rich berries, garlic, fish, leafy greens and trumpet mushrooms.
5. Nurture your friendships: A 2012 university study found a strong correlation between loneliness and rapid motor decline in older people.
What will you do today to potentially add years of better living to your life?