Age is something that creeps up on us all, but there’s nothing in the rule book that says that we can’t do everything possible to age gracefully.  Here are a few tips and tricks to help slow the aging process — at least for a few more years.

Use Sunscreen Everyday

Sunscreen

We all know how important it is to use sunscreen when you’re out enjoying the warm weather, but did you know that it can help keep your skin looking young — as long as you’re using it every single day. One study found that upwards of 80% of the visible aging on the face can be attributed directly to sun exposure.

A good way to remember is to make it a habit to put on sunscreen when you brush your teeth in the morning.  If you use a face moisturizer, pick one that includes an SPF to keep your skin protected throughout the day.

It isn’t tanning and days at the beach that present the biggest risk — it’s the normal everyday sun exposure that most people ignore.

Sleep in

Sleep

 

Not getting enough sleep isn’t just hard on your body — it’s hard on your DNA too.  Telomeres are a part of the DNA that indicates cell age — the shorter your telomeres, the older your cells are.  Damage can cause the telomeres to become artificially shortened as well, making you age faster. Two studies, one that focused on men and one that focused on women, both found that not getting enough sleep leads to shorter telomeres.

The participants who didn’t get enough sleep were found to have telomeres that were shortened, making them the equivalent of 5 to 9 years older than their biological age.

Eat Healthy

Healthy Food

 

A healthy diet, one that is high in protein and healthy fats like Omega-3, can help to improve overall health and may even help extend the human lifespan. Don’t fall for the low-calorie fad diets or the dangerously low calorie ‘starvation’ diets that claim that reducing your caloric intake to starvation levels will help extend your life — they have no science backing them up and can be dangerous.

Instead, focus on a diet filled with lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and sources of Omega3 and other healthy fatty acids.  Keep an eye on your weight though — obesity has been proven to actually shorten your lifespan by 6-7 years.

Stress Less

Destress

 

Stress is a normal part of life, but excessive amounts of it can actually reduce your lifespan. Remember those telomeres that we mentioned earlier? Research has found that chronic stress can cause the same sort of telomere shortening damage that not getting enough sleep can — artificially aging your cells.

If possible, take some steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life.  Adding meditation or mindfulness training can also help you to deal with the stresses that you can’t get rid of entirely.

Conclusion

These science backed tricks for staying young can all be started well before you start to show the signs of aging but if you’re no longer a spring chicken, you can still benefit from these simple lifestyle changes.

 

Contributing Author Bio:

Corinne Keating is a health and lifestyle blogger who loves coffee and hiking.  She contributed to this article immensely, particularly the research as well as portions of the writing.