The best “anti-aging” secret really lies in the power of vitality. From the moment that we are two cells in the womb, we are aging. We grow up, we grow old, and our cells continue to divide and refresh themselves until they don’t anymore. And that’s the process of aging. But how do some women seem to age slower than others? Are they born with better, stronger cells? Or, can it be traced to the way they live?
Biological vs Perceptual Age
If you’re in a room with fifty-year-old women, their chronological age is all the same. According to the calendar, they have a shared chronological experience – first came 48, then 49, and finally age 50. However, there is also the biological age of these women, which is the measure of how well their bodies and brains are holding up relative to their age. When we say we are measuring how they age, we’re really evaluating certain appearances and their lack or abundance of vitality and mobility. When we talk about how women age differently, the focus is on their biological age.
Biological aging takes a toll on the outside of the body where some women experience the signs of aging more harshly than others. Visible signs include wrinkles, grey hair, sagging skin, age spots, and depending on bone strength, occasionally a slumped posture. Then, on the inside, bodies are also aging. Blood vessels may accumulate fatty deposits and lose flexibility. The lenses of the eyes may stiffen, making it harder to focus on close objects. Simultaneously, the number of nerve cells may decrease, impairing depth perception. In the gut, the production of digestive enzymes slows, inhibiting nutrient absorption. Understandably, you probably don’t like to think about either outwardly aging or about how your organs are diminishing.
When you focus on how you feel, it is known as your perceptual age. If you perceive that you’re aging well, it’s most likely because you go to the doctor regularly, eat right, exercise, protect yourself from the sun, and have a solid skincare routine. Thus, you’re not displaying or feeling some of the typical signs of aging. Women who practice such habits age more slowly both internally and externally. Believe it or not, this is because 70 percent of how you age is related to lifestyle. That’s right, how you age is not totally dependent on your DNA – the power is in your hands. The way you live now and the choices you make today are the most important predictors of not only how long you’ll live – but how well.
She Eats Right… Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
So what is “she” doing that I’m not doing that makes her age so gracefully? When women age well, they have longer telomere lengths. A healthy diet can help to achieve this. One clean eating strategy is the Mediterranean diet – characterized by liberal amounts of veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, unrefined grains, olive oil, and fish as well as wine with meals. It is proven that people who follow the Mediterranean diet have longer telomere lengths than people who don’t. Researchers surmise that all of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the Mediterranean diet may protect against telomere shortening and preserve healthy cellular DNA.
The gastrointestinal system plays a key role in aging because a healthy gut equals a healthy body. About 70+ percent of your immune cells reside in your intestines! Do you know what else lives there? Serotonin! Therefore, you need to take care of your digestive system to regulate your immune system and boost your mental health. Preventing illness is especially important because any time your body is suffering, it can make you less likely to keep up with your healthy routines of exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. All of these symptoms snowball and negatively impact your mental health and vice versa. Increased stress due to illness will contribute to faster aging. In fact, it’s the number one cause of aging.
A healthy diet is a key player in the power of vitality. Many studies have examined the Mediterranean diet, such as a Harvard study that links the diet to lower risk of many diseases. A well-nourished body has better protection from cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, so the inside of the body will age more slowly. Hopefully, there will be more energy to focus on maintaining a good diet and exercising.
She Exercises More Than She Sits
At-home workouts can boost energy, and the more energy you have, the easier it will be to motivate yourself to work out. In a research study published in ScienceDirect, twenty-one women in their late fifties and sixties participated in stretching, resistance exercise, and moderate-intensity walking for sixteen weeks. After this period of time, they showed, “Significant improvements in metabolic parameters, including glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins, LDL, blood pressure, and BMI were seen following the intervention. More so, the addition of resistance and flexibility exercises appeared to enhance functional autonomy (the ability to perform activities of daily living).”
Active aging is another important part of feeling and looking “ageless”. With these positive health results, the body is under less stress and protected from the negative effects of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.
If you don’t use your muscle, you will lose it. That same ScienceDirect study stresses that the “maintenance of muscle mass and strength is imperative to maintain a high-quality level of physical functioning, and attenuate measures of frailty.” There is a general belief that getting older means the transition from vitality to frailty. But this isn’t true – the power of vitality is not timestamped. You are in control of how you age. The women that seem to age more slowly know the importance of saving their muscles by using them every day through exercise, not “sparing” them.
She Protects Herself From the Sun… Every Day
The use of broad-spectrum sunscreen every day on the face, hands, and neck will reduce skin wrinkling drastically. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers studied 903 participants to determine whether or not sunscreen could reduce skin aging. It proved “Regular sunscreen use retards skin aging in healthy, middle-aged men and women.”
In your forties and fifties, in addition to daily sunscreen, it’s also crucial to develop a skincare routine and follow it! There are amazing products on the market that will help you age better. Some are topical, and some boost your skin’s nutrition from the inside out. Collagen is a super supplement that can help boost your total body vitality while helping your skin retain its youthful bounce and glow. Women who age slower than others will use the best products for their skin every day.
She Makes Feeling and Looking Younger a Priority
Yes, 30 percent of how you age is based on your genes. So there will be those women who eat whatever they want and don’t really exercise, yet somehow they’re not overweight and they don’t seem to age in the same ways as the rest of us. The percentages are slim and aging is primarily determined by nurture and not nature. In Younger in Eight Weeks, there are guidelines to follow to look and feel younger. Follow these 5 steps and you too can be one of those “women who age slower.”
- Eat clean and often and well to lose belly and body fat
- Lower total blood cholesterol and blood sugar to improve overall health
- Boost energy with at-home workouts
- Sleep soundly and wake up ready to take on the day
- Stay confident
As we always say in Women’s Health Conversations, you are in control of your future and your health. The power of vitality is not some rare or unobtainable commodity – it is innately in us as resilient and strong women! It’s time to take action and be in the best health of your life, no matter what age.