It’s been a wild ride, but somehow you made it this far. It seems like only yesterday you were chain-smoking Reds and doing keg stands. Now your idea of a wild night involves a glass of Rosé with your monthly book club. You crochet scarves for fun and worry about things like getting enough fiber. You still feel like your old self, but you’re starting to notice little changes in the mirror.
You’ve given up the really rough stuff, like excessive partying and surviving on two hours of sleep. You try not to miss yoga, and you spend extra time in the produce section of the grocery store. You’re doing what you can to take care of yourself, but you feel the time ticking by a little faster. You know that if you want to live longer and look good, you’ll have to really stick to good habits. Here are some tips and tricks to keep you looking and feeling good and living a vibrant, youthful life.
1. Go Natural
We all know what it looks like when celebrities try too hard to stay young. Expensive treatments, fillers, and plastic surgeries can render the most familiar faces unrecognizable. When treatments go wrong, the results are often nightmarish. And even when a surgery isn’t botched, you can usually tell when someone has had work done. Before going under the knife, carefully consider your reasons and expectations. Letting yourself age naturally is usually a much more effective way of looking young.
Don’t be afraid to go gray either, instead of trying to change your hair with harsh dyes. Well-cared-for gray hair can look more youthful than dyed hair. This is especially true if you use the right products. Gray hair retains less moisture and tends to be frizzy or coarse. But many products exist to keep silver locks luscious and smooth, and the right cut can take years off your appearance.
2. Take Great Care of Your Skin
Instead of using harsh treatments like botox, fillers, and lasers, create a gentle regimen to protect the skin you have. Products with tretinoin can reverse and prevent the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. A daily product with vitamin C can stimulate collagen production, making your skin look fuller and younger. Hyaluronic acid can add moisture and improve your skin’s elasticity. Just make sure to avoid over-exfoliating or using harsh products that could dry out or irritate your skin.
One of the most fundamental elements of any skincare regimen is sunscreen. Use a daily sunscreen, especially on your face, that’s SPF 30 or higher. Some sunscreens are specially formulated with anti-aging ingredients. Others are tinted to even your skin tone, or they contain moisturizers that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. You might also want to choose an oil-free option or one for sensitive skin, depending on your skin type.
3. Change Up Your Diet
It’s common knowledge that a diet packed with fruits and vegetables is great for your health and appearance. Research also shows that the mediterranean diet and lifestyle can slow aging processes and prevent frailty. This diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, olive oil, and limited quantities of dairy, seafood, and poultry. Reducing your intake of red meat, saturated fat, sugar, and processed foods can make you look younger and live longer.
Even if you can’t commit to drastic dietary changes, certain foods can still slow down the aging process. Blueberries can help with cognitive function and mood. Green tea may reduce the risk of premature aging, neurological decline, and heart disease. Walnuts can help you lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Dark chocolate may make your skin more elastic. Try to incorporate more superfoods as you age to stay happy and healthy.
4. Keep Your Body and Mind Active
Like a healthy diet, regular daily movement is essential to aging gracefully. Exercise can prevent bone loss, keep you limber, and ward off numerous diseases. It also keeps your appearance looking youthful and energetic. If you’re not much of a gym rat, hiking, dancing, yoga, tai chi, or even a daily walk can help. Remember to always check with a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have any health conditions.
It’s not just your body that needs regular exercise; give your brain a workout too. Various apps exist to help with memory and cognitive speed. Crossword puzzles have been shown to improve cognition and memory almost as much as medication. It’s also never too late to learn a new language, take a class, or start a new hobby. Research suggests that learning just about any new skill may reduce cognitive aging.
5. Love, Laugh, Live Longer
Older adults who maintain their circles of friends often have better memory and longevity. They also show fewer symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. There’s a positive correlation between socialization and physical activities in older adults. And laughter has been shown to improve circulation to the brain and heart. Surround yourself with friends you can have fun with — it will literally keep you younger.
While you’re with your friends, do what you love. People who dedicate their time to hobbies are less likely to die early. Also, don’t be afraid to indulge a little. Folks who drink moderate amounts of alcohol and caffeine — and who are slightly overweight — often live longer. Speaking of indulgence, an active sex life can increase longevity and decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Be Gentle With Yourself
The science is clear: the best way to prevent the negative effects of aging is to treat your body with kindness. Move in ways you love, spend time with people you care about, and learn something new every day. Harsh chemicals, surgeries, and strict diets won’t make you look better or live longer. Life is short no matter what you do, so try to spend your time well. Remember: No amount of skincare can reduce the frown lines of a joyless existence.