It’s a known fact that everyone wants to live long, happy, successful, and healthy lives. Unfortunately, in our pursuit of success, we often take shortcuts with our health and wind up suffering from various ailments and disabilities that could have been avoided.
We live in an age when life no longer slows down when you turn 40. Instead, life does begin for many at 40. Interestingly, 40 is the new 30 for some people.
While the 20s is the period of living on the fast lane and making as many mistakes as are acceptable, the 30s for most people are spent trying to rid themselves of youthful exuberance, settling down and possibly starting a family. However, it is quite common for the stress from the other two decades to eventually catch up with you once you reach your 40s. Be that as it may, there are amazing stories of many who turned 40 and still look youthful and good-looking.
Aging is a state of mind rather than body. Although this can be hard to believe, probably because it has been overstated, the essence of life doesn’t dwindle with age. However, in as much as numerous poster quotes are fueling mental and body positivity for those past 40, it is important to take cognizance of the subtle changes the body undergoes after this age. It doesn’t matter whether you have been in good shape in the past, as you get older; the body needs to be consciously catered for to keep it in a good shape. The bustles of life, especially in this part of the world, can take a toll on one’s general wellness. But it is never late to start making the conscious effort to win the battle against time.
Below are 10 ways according to health experts on how one can retain a youthful look and fool everyone you are a decade younger:
10 WAYS TO REMAIN HEALTHY AFTER 40
- STAY HYDRATED: Unfortunately, the body’s mechanisms meant to protect it from dehydration begin to lose some of these abilities at one age. Since older adults have reduced thirst signals, even mild cases of dehydration can hamper their performance and increase feelings of tiredness. Low blood pressure, heat stroke, urinary and kidney problems, dizziness, and increased risk of falls are just some of the other side effects of dehydration, especially in older folks. According to an Indian skin specialist, Abhisikta Hati, not only does consuming enough fluids help improve hydration, but it also helps increase elasticity in the skin as it stays moisturized for longer. This in turn helps delay sagging of the skin and prevents the premature appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- REVAMP YOUR WARDROBE: Looking good and fit is not only a feeling; it also includes how you look. Nothing makes you look younger than revamping your clothes and doing away with the out-of-fashion or worn-out ones in your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to try more modern clothes that suit your taste. Wear more clothes that make you feel good and confident about yourself and your body and before you know it; you’ll begin to look as young as you feel. Celebrity stylist, Dani Michelle, said, “You aren’t the same throughout your life, so why should your style stay stagnant?” So make that change and feel younger.
- Laugh more: As routine as this seems– laughter– its effects on the human body are more profound than can be imagined. It is common knowledge that laughter keeps you young. Laughter is a great stress reliever and an important way to get rid of all your pent-up tension and also help prevent premature aging. Laughter is a form of exercise for the heart, increasing blood circulation, which in turn, stimulates facial muscles and makes you look better and youthful. According to the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado, laughter benefits the immune system by increasing protective natural killer cells that help fight infection while lowering the stress hormone cortisol and increasing the beneficial growth hormone–the anti-ageing hormone–that helps keep you young.
- Improve your diet: While it is necessary to maintain a healthy diet at all ages, it’s doubly important to be conscious of the type of food that goes into your body as you age. If you want to retain that youthful look and even glow better, then a change in diet is imperative. Diets rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, grains, fruits, and vegetables help to give the hair, nails, and skin a youthful and radiant look. Avoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. Salt intake should be kept at a minimum as well to keep your blood pressure down. Dietician and functional medical nutritionist, Natalie Olsen, notes that, “Eating fruits and veggies is the safest and healthiest way to combat dull complexions and fine lines as you age.”
- Exercise: The importance of exercising cannot be overstated. Regular exercise, especially for older adults, significantly lowers the risk of heart diseases and cancer, while also helping to retain your mobility for much longer. Having a regular exercise routine is not only crucial for your health and wellbeing but also makes you look much younger. Exercises can help you retain your youthful body and leave you looking more toned. According to a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health, aesthetics and cosmetics, and skincare, Cynthia Cobb, 2.5 to 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise is recommended for older adults.
- Have sex more often: Many older adults tend to think their sex life is mutually exclusive of how they look and feel. But as it turns out, they both go hand-in-hand. It has been proven by researchers that the physical activities involved in sex can promote healthy skin, hair and overall healthy aging. A study on over 3,000 couples discovered that those who had sex three times a week appeared seven to 12 years younger than their actual age. According to a dermatologist, Keira Barr, orgasms during sexual activities release oxytocin, which lowers stress levels. This leads to fewer breakdowns of collagen and elastin, leading to fewer wrinkles. She added, “Having enough sex especially for older women may increase the production of estrogen and this hormone can help keep menopause symptoms at bay.”
- Sleep more: Sleep deprivation is a debt that is repaid by your health and appearance. As you start to age, this debt mustn’t be incurred. A study found that people in their middle ages who do not get enough sleep showed more signs of aging than those who regularly got proper night rest. Being sleep deprived also decreases the skin’s ability to recover after being out in the sun. So, ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep as it does a lot for your body and looks.
- Drink red wine: According to studies in the medical field, drinking red wine is recommended when it comes to battling the signs of aging. Consuming 1-2 glasses per day has been shown to help a person fight the damage done by free radicals to the skin. The high content of antioxidants in red wine, especially resveratrol, is highly efficient for the health of the skin. Red wine has also been known to have a wide range of benefits for one’s health. The regular consumption of red wine can lower the risk of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease; reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic disorders, such as diabetes. A professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School stated that drinking red wine could have a positive effect on the overall aspect of the skin, making wrinkles and other signs of aging less visible.
- Take Multivitamins: Aging is simply a time-related decline of the physiological abilities necessary for survival and fertility. One of the major factors that contribute to this is accumulated cellular damage caused by certain molecules known as free radicals. Scientists have, however, identified a large number of substances that provide anti-aging benefits. Unfortunately, these substances cannot all be incorporated easily into your daily diet but they can be taken in the form of medicinal supplements. Many of these multivitamin supplements contain substances such as collagen, nicotinamide, crocin, selenium, curcumin, etc., which help maintain youthfulness as well as keep certain degenerative diseases at bay.
- Cut down on unhealthy lifestyles: Irrespective of whatever means employed to slow down aging, it still is inevitable. Even though genes largely control when these changes will occur, certain lifestyle choices can accelerate or slow down aging. Smoking is one habit that speeds up how quickly the skin ages as it causes wrinkles and gives the skin a dull, sallow complexion.
Heavy consumption of alcohol is another lifestyle choice that aids the rapid aging of the skin. Alcohol dehydrates and damages the skin, causing you to look older. Both habits have to be checked if you hope to remain youthful and fit as you age. However, certain life habits greatly aid in your general wellness and youthful look. One of such habits, as simple as it might sound, is ‘having fun.’ Engaging in fun activities is guaranteed to slow down the signs of aging such as poor appetite, weakness, stiffness, pain, arthritis, nausea, etc.
According to an author on ageing and healthy living, Connie Michaelis, having fun activates the release of neuropeptides – dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin – the feel-good neurotransmitters. This not only relaxes your body but also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
She noted, “Research has shown that social interaction is critical for good health as you age. Finding fun activities is important. Above all, fun can be found in a lot of places. Go out more often and meet new people.” Remember that you don’t quit having fun because you get old; you get old when you quit having fun!
Sources: SkinKraft, BestLife, Integrative Medicine Centre of Western Colorado, Healthline, mindbodygreen, angie greaves, justnowoldenough. https://healthwise.punchng.com/10-habits-to-stay-healthy-fit-after-40/
BY NWACHUKWU CHINONSO MARTHA.