Aging is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to slow down the process and feel and look more youthful than your chronological age. It’s possible to age backwards, to some extent, with self-care interventions and advancements in research and technology. Here are some proven tips to help you feel and look young.
1. Do Yoga Once a Week to Age Backwards
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to age backwards. It helps you develop muscle tone, bone density, better posture, and healthy body composition – critical factors in looking and feeling younger.
Exercise also helps improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost your energy levels – which can contribute to a more youthful appearance:
- Exercise a minimum of three times each week for 30 minutes or more.
- Focus on activities that challenge your cardiovascular system and build strength, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, weightlifting, or swimming.
- Do a mobility warm-up before your workout, and do stretches afterward. This will help maintain muscular and joint flexibility and prevent injury.
- Additionally, do a yoga class at least once a week to maintain balance, length, and symmetry within your body. This makes a crucial difference.
2. Remove Irritants from Your Daily Diet
What you eat plays a significant role in how you feel and look. An anti-inflammatory diet, in particular, is effective for aging backwards.
An anti-inflammatory diet is based more on what you don’t eat.
For example, eating fewer grains, flours, sugars, and simple carbohydrates can reduce your body’s reaction to irritants such as toxic proteins in the form of enzyme-blockers and lectins, phytic acid (which blocks the absorption of minerals including copper, magnesium, and zinc), tannins (gut irritants), and overall decrease the likelihood of an autoimmune response.
Also, alcohol accelerates aging, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. Alcohol directly damages DNA, by shortening protective telomeres (telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences that cap the end of chromosomes, protecting them from damage).
Instead of sugars, alcohol, and ultra-processed foods that came down the corporate factory conveyor belt, aim to eat a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods, including:
Vegetables: You can eat up to 9 cups (measured loosely) of multi-colored vegetables daily on an anti-inflammatory diet. Vegetables are rich in minerals and antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage and promote healthy aging. Nightshades are problematic for some people (white potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers), so maybe have fewer of those and more of the dark, leafy greens and cruciferous.
Grass-Fed or Free-Range Meats: A diet lower in carbohydrates and higher in meat protein works well for many mature adults, helping them to maintain – or even develop – strength and robust metabolism. Avoid frying your meats, however. Eggs can be good in moderation. And though grass-fed isn’t strictly necessary, it does tend to have a better omega profile than conventionally farmed all-grain-fed meats.
Fruits: Fruits, in moderation, are helpful because they tend to be packed with vitamins and fiber. Again, eat a full spectrum of colors to get the broadest profile of nutrients. Also, with fruit, it’s important to be judicious. Small amounts are best because too much leads to blood sugar spikes.
Fermented Foods: Not all dairy products are equal. Though too much dairy might not be beneficial, fermented dairy – such as yogurt and kefir – can be helpful to some people in small amounts because it provides the probiotics that benefit the digestive tract. Sauerkraut, cultured coconut milk, and kimchi are popular non-dairy fermented foods. Apple cider vinegar is another fermented food. Though apple cider vinegar does not contain probiotics, it has other benefits for the human digestive system.
A healthier diet helps you maintain an ideal weight, keeps your skin looking youthful, and reduces your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
3. Take a 15-Minute Nap Daily to Age Backwards
This one is tricky. There is research that might, at first glance, indicate naps can shorten the human lifespan. However, upon closer inspection, there are associations: people who daytime nap are either already inflamed, already too sedentary, or they’re simply napping for too long a duration.
Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and it plays a pivotal role in how we age. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and cognitive decline – all of which can make us feel and look older than we are.
Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night and eight hours on days when you exercise. However, prioritize quality sleep over quantity of sleep. In other words, go for deep sleep. During any day when you get less than eight hours of quality sleep the night before, take a short, 15-minute nap. It can be restorative.
To improve your sleep, establish a consistent sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and create a relaxing bedtime environment free from distractions such as electronics and bright lights.
4. Get More Electrolytes into Your Body
Water is essential if you want to age backwards. Dehydration leads to inflammation which leads to accelerated aging.
Water helps keep your skin supple, supports healthy digestion, and assists in the elimination of toxins from your body.
But dehydration is not just about your body’s need for water; it’s also about being depleted in electrolytes.
Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals essential for many physiological functions in the body.
These minerals include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate.
Electrolytes play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of fluids in the body, regulating blood pressure, and supporting nerve and muscle function.
When we sweat or urinate, we lose electrolytes. It’s crucial to replenish them to maintain proper balance in the body and avoid health issues.
Sodium and chloride are the main electrolytes lost through sweat and play a vital role in maintaining fluid balance.
Though some people have to be careful not to get too much salt, physically active people and those who eat a lower-carbohydrate diet often don’t get enough salt:
- One way to help remedy this is to drink a tall glass of salted lemon water as soon as you wake up each morning. 10 ounces of water, with a few drops of lemon juice, then stir in some rock salt and sea salt.
- As the rest of your day progresses, drink 7 more glasses of pure water intermittently.
- During the day, you must also eat whole foods that contain the essential minerals you need for muscle tone, nerve impulses, bone health, and regulated blood pressure.
Referencing the lab results of the blood work from your last annual physical exam can be helpful when trying to improve your electrolyte balance. Ask your medical doctor what salt intake is appropriate for you.
5. Do a Brief Session of Mindful Breathing Each Afternoon
Stress is an unquestionable contributor to premature aging.
Relentless stress – even the low-level kind – leads to inflammation, oxidative stress, and hormonal imbalances that can damage your cells and tissues.
To age backwards, you must relieve stress. Practice techniques such as:
- Mindfulness meditation. Focusing your attention on the present moment, without judgment, can help reduce stress and improve mood.
- Breathing exercises. These can help calm your nervous system. Try inhaling through your nose in two phases. Phase one expands the lower diaphragm, and phase two expands your upper bronchials. Hold your breath a moment. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth, making that exhalation last longer than the inhalation.
Incorporating these relaxation techniques into your daily routine, preferably in the afternoon, will slow the spread of stress hormones and help you to age backwards.
6. Moisturize Your Skin More Consistently
Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against the environment and is also one of the first areas to show signs of aging. To protect your skin and keep it looking youthful, it’s important to:
Wear sunscreen. Fresh air and sunshine have many benefits. On the other hand, sun damage is also a main cause of premature aging to the skin, so it’s essential to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply it generously to exposed skin before going outside. Reapply if you’re swimming or sweating. Don’t forget the top of your scalp and the inside of your ears. Put extra on your nose and neck (including the back of your neck), and the tops of your hands.
Moisturize. As we age, our skin becomes drier and less elastic, leading to wrinkles and fine lines. Use a moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated and supple. It really does make a difference, especially in the long term. Skin is more than cosmetic; it’s a vital organ. To age backwards, it must be made healthier.
Retinol at night. Speaking of moisturizing, at night, you can put retinol on your face and neck to improve your skin’s appearance. Of all the beneficial compounds, retinol has been proven to be most effective. Retinol and sun don’t mix well, so put it on before bed. If you have sensitive skin, you can use a milder formula or simply put it on every other night instead.
Hopefully, this goes without saying, but it’s wise to avoid smoking. Inhaling tobacco smoke is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. It leads to a dull, sallow complexion and crepey skin cells.
7. Never Give Up On Your Social Life
Social isolation can contribute to various health problems, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. To stay mentally and emotionally healthy, it’s important to remain socially active. This can include:
- Spending time with people!
- Joining a club or group that interests you.
- Volunteering in your community.
- Taking classes or attending events.
8. Keep Your Brain Active to Age Backwards
Another bonus to social interaction is that it can help keep your brain stimulated and keep you learning.
Having to learn new people’s names, listening to new stories, asking follow-up questions – all of these help form dendrites in your brain. Staying mentally active is important for healthy aging. It improves memory and overall brain health. To keep your mind sharp, try to:
- Take a language class.
- Learn a new skill or hobby, such as a musical instrument.
- Read books or take online courses.
- Play games that challenge your brain, such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku.
- Engage in stimulating conversations with friends and family.
9. Level-Up Your Mind’s Soundtrack
A positive attitude goes a long way toward helping you feel and look younger. Research has shown that people who maintain a positive outlook on life tend to have better physical and mental health as they age. To stay positive, try to:
- Practice gratitude. Take time each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
- Focus on the present. Avoid dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Instead, focus on the present moment and enjoy the small things in life.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Spend time with people who uplift and inspire you.
- Have objective awareness of your own thoughts. Thoughts tend to be habitual, negative, and repetitive. They’re easy to change, but you have to be aware of them first. Pay attention to the thoughts playing inside your head, and when you identify one as negative, form a new thought that is positive. This is a game-changer.
Bonus Idea: Consider Anti-Aging Treatments
If you’re looking for more dramatic results, various anti-aging treatments can help you look and feel younger.
Are these procedures physically healthy for you? Perhaps not, but they are included here, not as an endorsement, but because many people who have completed these procedures report feeling more emotionally upbeat – and more confident about themselves – afterward. These are optional and include:
- Neurotoxins. A cosmetic injectable, such as Botox or Dysport, can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Dermal fillers. These are also injectables that can help plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, be judicious. A little goes a long way.
- Resurfacing procedures. A laser can be used to remove damaged skin cells and stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin. Similarly, a chemical peel involves applying a solution to the skin to remove the outer layer of damaged skin cells and reveal fresh, healthy skin.
There are also cosmetic surgeries that remedy loose skin, including eye tucks (to lift the upper eyelid and remove the under-eye bag) and lower face lifts (which usually include the neck).
Before undergoing any anti-aging treatment, it’s vital to consult with a qualified professional to discuss your goals, expectations, and any potential risks or side effects.
In conclusion, while aging is a natural part of life, there are many things we can do to slow down the process and feel young. By following these tips and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can age backwards and enjoy a more youthful, vibrant life.
Additional Resources to Help You Age Backwards:
Study on Danish Twins – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/14/look-younger-live-longer-study-shows
Sedentary Lifestyle Speeds Aging – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308143123.htm
Healthy Results from Short Day Naps: Research – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7016598/
Habitual Optimism Produces Better Health – https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/thinking-positively-can-be-good-for-your-body-too-not-just-your-brain/