It’s common to aspire to a long and healthy life, to experience the pleasure of watching your children and grandchildren grow up and maybe even have little ones of their own. However, just because we want to grow old with the ones we love doesn’t mean we want to look and feel old.
The good news is that you don’t have to, necessarily. To be sure, genetics do play a role in how we age, but by far the most significant aspect of aging gracefully is your lifestyle. Whether you’re 17 or 60, there are things you can do today to help you move through life happily and healthily.
Aging — Nature vs. Nurture
How we age is shaped by a combination of factors, some of which we can’t control and many of which we can. You can’t, for example, change your genetics. Men whose fathers had lost all their hair by the age of 30 have a pretty good chance of developing male-pattern baldness at a young age.
Conversely, women whose moms retained their youthful glow well into their seventies and eighties are probably going to have an easier time maintaining their girlish skin than the rest of us mere mortals.
But, genetics is not everything. The choices you make each and every day have a far bigger influence. For instance, as the skin ages, it loses its ability to produce collagen and elastin, which can lead to wrinkling, sagging, and loss of fullness. The layers of the skin and blood vessels also become thinner, contributing to dark circles and bruising. This is a natural part of the aging process, and genetics will play a role in how rapidly this occurs and how significant the effects become.
Nevertheless, these natural signs of aging can be slowed through healthy lifestyle choices — from minimizing sun damage by always using sunscreen to supporting cellular repair by drinking lots of water and a diet rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
The Role of Healthy Living
The term, “healthy living,” can encompass a lot of things, but what it all boils down to, really, is a commitment to self-care. This includes ensuring that you feed your body the nutrients it needs to thrive while avoiding substances that can leave you feeling sick and lethargic.
Diets high in processed foods, salt, and highly refined sugars, for instance, can significantly increase your risk for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, such a “dirty” (as opposed to a “clean”) diet affects your skin in the form of dryness, scarring, wrinkling, and redness.
Tips for Aging Gracefully Without Stress
There’s no one right way to age gracefully. There are no magic potions or fountains of youth. But, there are specific lifestyle choices you can make to hold on to your health, vitality, and youthful appearance for decades to come.
One of the most important strategies you can use to retain your vigor as well as your va-va-va-voom is to keep physically active and engaged with the world around you and, above all, with the people you love. Regular exercise, for instance, will keep your musculoskeletal system strong and agile, reducing your risk of falls and frailty and avoiding the dreaded dowager’s hump of old age.
You also need to amp up nutrition to help optimize your hormonal balance and support cellular functioning, both of which can prove increasingly challenging as you age. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend your whole day scarfing fruits and vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals you need. Juicing is an ideal way to easily fortify your body with micro- and macronutrients while also cleansing your system of impurities that can leave you looking and feeling less than your best.
Seeking Advice From the Appropriate Channels
When it comes to aging gracefully, it’s not always easy to go it alone, and, fortunately, you don’t have to. Consulting with a licensed dermatologist can be a great way to address concerns and formulate healthy and effective strategies to meet your goals.
You might, for instance, bring photographs to chart concerning skin changes, helping your physician to diagnose problems in the early stages when they are more easily treatable. Try to stay away from fad diets, unregulated beauty procedures, and products that haven’t been vetted by experts.
Growing older isn’t for the faint of heart. But, by committing to a healthy lifestyle, you can continue to look and feel young for years to come.