Have you noticed your energy isn’t quite what it used to be? Do you look in the mirror and see more lines on your face? Have you noticed that your body is getting droopy? Is it getting harder for you to keep up? Not as sharp as you once were? Do you feel like your body doesn’t match who you are on the inside? Are your romantic urges fading…or worse gone?
Many consider these to be normal signs of aging but did you know there are ways to slow down that process?
You may still feel 25 on the inside(or worse, perhaps you don’t) but the outside doesn’t reflect who you really are. Your body just can’t keep up with your mind. You would love to be more active but you just don’t have the energy.
If you are looking to slow the signs of aging and get your body to mirror who you are on the inside here are 8 effective ways that can retard the aging process and that may actually improve some of the signs of aging.
- Watch your Social Habits – Cut back on habits that can accelerate aging like smoking and drinking. Smoking not is not only bad for your lungs and other organs but over the years it damages the skin, it drains your energy and changes the appearance of your body. Alcohol consumption is just like eating lots of sugar and that affects your overall metabolism, may induce insulin resistance and changes your sleep patterns. Alcohol also causes dehydration which dries out all of the cells in your body and makes them inefficient and can set up conditions that lead to premature aging. These are habits that we generally form in our youth, are often tied to social connections, and can sometimes be a challenge to change. There are many resources available to assist you in reducing your consumption.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – It is important to ensure sure that you are not only getting plenty of sleep but also getting better quality sleep. When you are in the habit of staying up late and getting up early you will not get the amount of sleep your body needs in order to regenerate cells. There are several ways that you can improve the positive benefits of sleep. First, you should set a reasonable bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Commit to at least 7 hours of rest so that your body can properly recharge. Over time, this will become a habit and your body will more naturally “rest” during your sleep time. Make your sleeping environment as comfortable, most everyone rests better when they feel comfortable and pampered. Keep electronics off and away from the bedroom as much as possible. If you live in an area where noise can interrupt your sleep, using a white noise machine can help block outside noises. Did you know that light (such as that from a continually playing TV) can adversely affect the restoration that your body needs during sleep? This is particularly true for the blue light that comes from electronic clocks or cell phones. Finally, use essential oils such as lavender, cedarwood and chamomile to create a relaxing atmosphere that will help you fall and stay asleep. Getting plenty of sleep reduces puffy eyes, circles under the eyes, helps keep you sharp and, most importantly can add years to your life.
- Stay Hydrated– Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. We’ve all heard it “water is good for you” and it’s true. Water is the best way to stay hydrated. It keeps your skin supple, your organs operating properly, and a well hydrated brain works much more effectively. You may think “this coffee has water in it” or “soda is liquid” yet those drinks have added ingredients that actually end up leading to dehydration of your body and skin. A good source of water, like spring water, is important. If you don’t have or cannot afford spring water, there are a number of inexpensive water purifiers that can fit almost any budget.
- Reduce Stress – With age comes responsibility. Work, kids, relationships and life events can elevate stress and that stress can take a toll. “Worry lines” don’t form over nothing! Letting life’s stresses get the best of you can get in the way of a good night’s sleep and can negatively influence your health with conditions like ulcers, headaches, muscle tension and even heart disease and diabetes. Taking the 15 minutes a day to completely unplug and relax will significantly improve your well-being. Focus on something you enjoy, like a hobby. Some people relax with yoga, meditation, running, sitting in a quiet place, going for a walk, reading or a quiet candle light bath. Did you know that doing a simple 5 minute breathing exercise 3 times a day can substantially reduce the effect of stress on your health? Look for that things that you enjoy, that relax you and help slow down your pace; it could just save your life.
- Exercise – Getting adequate physical exercise doesn’t mean spending 2 hours in the gym lifting weights or trudging along on the treadmill. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is beneficial to your health. You can spend 30 minutes going for a walk or taking a bike ride around your neighborhood, swimming a few laps, or even doing yoga in your own living room. Physical activity improves your circulation, has been shown to lower stress, reduce joint pain, improves flexibility, and can even help improve mental function.
- A Healthy Diet – There is a difference between going on a diet and eating healthy. Most weight loss diets may help in the short term, however the weight often doesn’t stay off. A healthy diet requires you to shift your thinking about food. When you were younger, it seemed like you could eat anything and it was no big deal. Now it’s as if simply looking at a piece of cake causes you to gain weight. In our busy world, we’ll often eat a boxed ‘heat and serve’ meal, or hit the local drive thru, filling our diets with processed foods instead of healthier whole foods. Processed foods have additives that our bodies don’t recognize which can make us feel sluggish and keep our bodies from operating optimally. Foods with high fructose corn syrup impair our body’s ability to signal when we’re full, resulting in overeating.
Whole foods (foods in their truest and cleanest form) and foods that are minimally processed are the best way to make sure your body gets the healthy nutrition it needs. Many experts say a variation on a Mediterranean diet is the best. This type of diet is called “plant based” as the largest component is derived from plant sources like vegetables. In addition, there should be about 8-12 ounces of non-processed meats daily. Red meat is OK, but it should be consumed relatively infrequently. Fruit is great, but should be consumed carefully. Fibrous fruits, such as apples and banana, are preferred over juicy fruits such as grapes or oranges as they tend to impact sugar metabolism less. Sugar in all its forms that does not occur naturally in food should be eliminated completely. Carbohydrates are best if limited to between 50 and 70 grams per day. Paleo type diets restrict carbs too much and, in many people, can be dangerous. Finally, try to avoid dairy products as much as possible
Giving your body gets the nutrition it needs can be one of the most effective ways to slow the aging process.
- Bio-Identical Hormones – As you age, your body slows down on production of hormones and hormones dictate so much of the aging process. Hormones give you an amazing sense of wellbeing. They help you build muscle, sleep well, stay sharp, stay healthy, and regulate metabolism. And imagine having an awesome sex life well into your 80’s and even 90’s! Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy may be one of the best ways to slow the aging process.
- Adjust your attitude – So many people seem to dread those landmark birthdays thinking that somehow being 40 or 50 or 60 makes you old. It’s all about your mindset. Rather than think about the time that has passed, embrace the great memories you have had the privilege to live, experience and enjoy. Then, no matter what your past, anticipate the future and make a positive decision that there are a great number of awesome memories yet to come. What you think of aging makes all the difference! It’s a privilege to grow older that not everyone gets, so why not live in the now and start setting new goals for your life.
All of these suggestions can help in slowing the aging process. Adjusting your lifestyle, eating well, changing your attitude and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), can make all the difference. Life is a gift and it can be an incredible journey. You can live it longer and live it healthier by making 8 simple changes. Isn’t it time to make the commitment today?