As humans, we are no strangers to the desire to look younger and live longer. In fact, the obsession with anti-aging dates back centuries. From systematic religious programs and alchemy, to injected extracts and consumed elixirs, the anti-aging approaches have been countless. In the modern era, these methods continue to expand as scientists discern anti-aging strategies and find solutions to help us age better.
As we say in Women’s Health Conversations – chronological age is not particularly relevant to how you feel. Just because the birthday cards may say that you are “over the hill” does not mean that you are “old,” nor should the calendar dictate how you must act or whether you should slow down. In fact, as you age, you should continue to challenge yourself with anti-aging strategies. And don’t shy away from challenging the assumptions of others that would limit you.
5 Anti-Aging Secrets
It’s time to share anti-aging secrets for the benefit of all women. Anti-aging efforts do not have to be private and maybe you shouldn’t keep them to yourself. If you have a practice that’s worked for you, share it! Recruit and encourage others. Here are the five best, scientifically validated, anti-aging secrets that all women over the age of 40 should live by.
1. Intense Exercise
Having a fitness routine is essential at all ages. Getting older is not an excuse to slow down or stop working out. Your 40s and 50s are the time to amp up your workout routine by adding strength and weight training to build muscle.
Intense exercise builds muscle which is extremely important for weight management and balance. You may be thinking to yourself: “But muscle weighs more than fat so wouldn’t I want less muscle to weigh less?” That’s the wrong way to think about muscle, which is beneficial as you age.
Strength training is a key part of mitochondrial revival, which helps you keep the muscle you have while building more as a buffer against natural loss. For each pound of muscle you lose by not using it, it’s typically replaced with a pound of fat, which takes up 18 percent more space than a pound of muscle. So, one way to look at it is that using a pound of fat to build a pound of muscle will be slimming as well as strengthening. When you replace fat with muscle, tightening up your body, you’ll gain agility and will be at less risk for falling. You can’t afford to lose muscle and replace it with fat because obesity strongly correlates to premature aging amongst other health problems.
2. Get Rid of Stress
Stress is wreaking havoc on your health. It’s just that simple. Prolonged stress will cause you to age. So the next anti-aging secret? Get rid of stress!
In one study of 647 women, researchers measured subjects’ stress hormones and telomere length. Telomeres are DNA bundles at the end chromosomes, which shorten each time the cell divides. Shorter telomeres link to a slew of age-related diseases, and once they become too short, the cells no longer divide and die off. Those women who were found to have above-average stress levels had slightly shorter telomeres (or DNA “youth caps”) compared to lower-stress women. Less stress means healthier, longer-lived cells.
There are also benefits perceptible on the larger scale. When you get a handle on stress, you will likely experience improved sleep, eating patterns, and ability to focus.
3. Nourish Your Body
When you nourish your body properly, you can take control of a major influence on the way you age. That is why the third anti-aging secret is making sure that your diet includes all necessary components that will cover your nutritional needs.
In Younger in Eight Weeks, the idea of eating “Clean and Green” is stressed – no, this does not mean juice cleanses and guzzling green smoothies. Clean and Green is a way to describe taking charge of the ingredients you consume, reclaiming the way you cook and eat.
Stick to plant-based foods (“green”) and low to no sugar or processed foods (“clean”) and your organs and cells will become supercharged and respond positively to your efforts. When you have healthy cells and organs, you will age better.
There are over 70 recipes in Younger in Eight Weeks to jump start clean, green changes in your diet. The National Institute on Aging recommends the following daily diet for women over 50:
- Fruits—1½ to 2½ cups
- Vegetables—2 to 3½ cups
- Grains—5 to 10 ounces
- Protein foods—5 to 7 ounces
- Dairy foods—3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
- Oils—5 to 8 teaspoons
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep is the key to waking up recharged and ready to engage life. If you’re not sleeping the prescribed 7-9 hours per night, there is a chance that you will experience the following symptoms – according to the National Institute on Aging:
- Memory problems and forgetfulness
- Feelings of depression
- Increased likelihood of falls or accidents
These side effects can cause health complications that will stress your body, impairing your ability to function. Not to mention, a lack of sleep can affect general skin complexion, which can make you look older as well.
If you find yourself with insomnia or unable to reach optimal sleep, reach out to your doctor or adjust your schedule. Getting a good night’s sleep is an anti-aging secret that will keep you vital longer because it supports both mental and physical health.
5. Participate in Activities You Enjoy
Participating in activities that you enjoy is the fifth anti-aging secret. The National Institute on Aging states that “Engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, like taking an art class or becoming a volunteer in your community or at your place of worship, may help to maintain your well-being.”
Their studies show that when you participate in activities that you enjoy, you benefit from these four things, all of which resist premature aging. By participating in activities you enjoy, you set yourself up for success and:
- Are less likely to develop certain diseases like dementia.
- Are more happy and less depressed.
- Are better prepared to cope with loss.
- May be able to improve thinking abilities.
The way that you feel can influence the way you perceive aging. If you’re working toward your best self by exercising, eating right, avoiding stress, getting a good night’s sleep, and participating in activities that you like, then you will feel accomplished. Happiness is the true key to anti-aging, you just have to take the right steps to achieving it.