Start now because, to be honest, you don’t have a lot of time.
We don’t mean to scare you, but it’s the truth. It doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 32, your body clock has already started ticking and whatever you are and/or aren’t doing is grading you like a karma-o-meter. The report card will come in your later years – could it be an A for Alzheimer’s or D for diabetes?
The good news is, 70 per cent of that grade depends on YOU. Studies have shown that 30 per cent of how we age is controlled by genetics, but the rest is determined by our lifestyle choices. If you choose to age gracefully – to stay strong and look amazing even when you hit 40 and beyond – we’ve got the health guide for you!
To maintain youthful skin
Let’s face it; wrinkles are an unavoidable part of growing older and skin starts to age naturally in your mid-20s, when collagen production begins to slow down. While the first signs of fine lines may only appear after your mid-30s, excessive sun exposure could grant them an earlier appearance. Applying sunscreen, however, can change that. Studies have shown that it helps protect your skin from wrinkles, sun spots, and lost of firmness and elasticity.
To avoid having a poor memory
Our brain is shrinking. The older we get, the more neurons (nerve cells) we lose. It begins in our 20s and by 80, our brain would have lost 15 per cent of its original weight. But don’t panic, it’s really a natural part of ageing, and the part that causes a bigger impact is the deterioration of synapses – the tiny gaps between brain cells. They’re the ones in charge of information flow from one cell to another, but as we age, we make fewer.
However, there’s something you can do to prevent it from becoming worse: doing something new. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be good or bad at it; the brain loves new experiences and sensations. If you don’t use it, it just wastes away, but when you stimulate it with activities – even going to a new restaurant – your brain can build new (neural) connections. And it’s something the brain can do throughout life.
To stay agile and have happy joints
If creaking joints and an aching back are something you don’t wish upon yourself, it’s time you start taking measures because the chances of it are high. One word: posture. How do you sit when you’re working away at your desk for a long period of time? Hunched? Watch it because having bad posture could contribute to your joint/back degenerating earlier than it should.
Our muscles begin deteriorating as early as at the age of 25, while the begin ageing 10 years later, but things like bad posture could be straining them, resulting in an earlier negative impact. Exercising can help reduce that risk and ensure you’ll still be able to walk everywhere when you get older without the help of a walker!
Also, drinking enough water and staying well-hydrated helps your joint lubrication, among many other things (e.g. digestion, reproduction, breathing).
To live longer (and free of disorders)
To live longer or, at least, increase your chances of being disorder-free (like diabetes, obesity or even cancer), well, firstly, you need to get enough sleep! A lack of it doesn’t just give you panda-eyes, it affects the body’s functions as a whole – muscle development, memorising capabilities, etc.
Secondly, being happy and stress-free. Of course, it’s impossible to not be stressed out, but you can try to find ways to reduce it – meditate, exercise, go for a short walk away from your desk – and calm yourself down. When you’re stressed, your heart rate increases, your digestion slows, your blood flow gets blocked to certain muscles; every other health problem (heart disease, ulcers, etc.) then rises and follows.
The above two are closely connected and, basically, satisfying those needs help to boost the immune system. In addition, studies have even suggested that stress can also make you appear 10 years older. Hmm, yup. We can all definitely do away with stress and hey, we just gave you a great reason to go for weekend getaways and fancy holidays!
Sources: Shape Magazine, HowStuffWorks, body+soul, Huffington Post, Care2 Healthy Living, Daily Mail, NBCNews, News.com.au