We talk about it. We think about it. We see it every day when we look in the mirror. How to slow down the aging process and look and feel youthful is something that most of us spend time and money trying to achieve.
Is it possible? Can we really turn back the clock? Of course not.
But, as women over 60, it IS possible to counter and maybe even slow down the aging process by making wise lifestyle choices. It’s up to us, and only we can choose to be consistent with those decisions.
In this post, we’ll learn what specific actions we can take to maintain our health as well as youthful appearance, inside and out. Some are simple; others require commitment and effort.
Choosing to do more than just read about these actions will help us all move closer to the goal of looking, and feeling, youthful. Because, girlfriend, who wants to look and act like an old lady? Not me. And if you’re reading this, you probably don’t want to, either!
Here are just a few of the overall benefits of making these wise lifestyle choices:
- Our brain remains alert when it’s well-rested and active.
- When we balance blood sugar and hormones and maintain muscle mass, our energy levels are higher.
- When we preserve our gut and immune system, we help prevent disease.
Read on to learn more about what these statements mean, how these actions help us slow down the aging process, and what you can do, right now, to make them a part of your life.
I’ll also share some of the anti-aging actions I’ve taken over the last couple of years to keep myself looking younger and feeling healthier.
Please note that I’m not an expert, nor am I a doctor. These suggestions are widely accepted methods of maintaining overall health and counteracting the signs of aging as well as my own experience. Refer to the Resource section at the bottom of the post for more information and sources.
Always talk to your physician about any changes to diet and exercise if you are uncertain of the effects they may have on you personally.
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How to Slow Down the Aging Process
I know. This comes up often when we talk about healthy living, looking younger, and making wise choices.
Well, there’s a reason for that, and if you’re committing to do what it takes to reduce the signs of aging, you’ll keep a glass of water in your hand and fill it up often.
Is eight glasses of water (8 oz.) the magic formula? Some would argue that it’s not. But regardless, keeping your body hydrated has so many benefits, just do it.
Water helps you digest your food, absorb the nutrients from it, then get rid of the unused waste. And that’s what you need, my friend, to look and feel more youthful.
Think about what happens when someone is dehydrated from a lack of fluids. It can cause fatigue, headaches, constipation, foggy thinking, and more.
Staying hydrated keeps your brain and gut healthier.
Bottom line: Drink water, every day.
Vitamins we need to slow down aging
Whether we take supplements or ensure that they are in the foods we consume, there are some specific vitamins that will help us in our efforts to slow down the effects of aging.
I must confess that this is an area I need to focus on more in my healthy lifestyle efforts. I do pretty well with choosing foods that help me stay healthy and strong. But I fall short with being consistent with supplements. I’m working on it, though!
Here is what we need to include in our diets, either through our food choices or through supplements:
Vitamin B6: Fortified cereals, beans, poultry, fish, and some vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin B12: Animal products (such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, or dairy); it is also found in fortified breakfast cereals and enriched soy or rice milk.
It is common for older folks to have a B12 deficiency. This might stem not only from a poor diet, but also from age-related reduction in stomach acid, which the body needs in order to absorb B12 from food.
If you take medication for stress or heartburn, they can also inhibit vitamin B12 absorption.
Vitamin B9 (Folate): Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, breakfast cereals, and fortified grains and grain products.
You’ll find vitamin C in broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Did you know that vitamin D is not technically a vitamin? It’s produced in the human body, it’s absent from all-natural foods except fish and egg yolks, and even when it’s obtained from foods, it must be transformed by the body before it can do any good.
How does that happen? The sun’s energy turns a chemical in your skin into vitamin D3, which is carried to your liver and then your kidneys to transform it into active vitamin D. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Most people require supplements to get the vitamin D they need. It’s the main benefit of a daily multivitamin; most provide 400 IU. Remember to read the labels carefully so you won’t get too little or too much.
Some sources suggest that about 15 minutes of sunshine daily will give you the vitamin D boost you need. That is for you to decide, though, based on the other possible ramifications of sun exposure.
One of three antioxidants that have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and actually prevent further damage.
Natural sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, grains, oats, nuts, and dairy products.
Vitamins C and E, as well as other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, all work to support the immune system. A good source of vitamin E is nuts and seeds; C is abundant in citrus, peppers, kiwi fruit and more.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Ultimately, an adequate intake of omega-3s can promote healthy, glowing, and youthful-looking skin. And we all like that result!
Omega 3’s can also increase skin hydration, promote healthy insulin levels, and buffer the skin from sun damage.
Find omega-3 in fish such as mackerel, salmon, seabass, shrimp, trout, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, and caviar.
You’ll also find omega-3 in chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, edamame, and kidney beans.
Fish oil is a popular supplement and offers the highest available dose of omega-3.
Bottom line: Make sure that your food and supplement intake includes these age-protecting vitamins.
The next item on our list of ‘how to slow down the aging process’ is simple: we need to use our noodles!
Yes, my friend, keeping our brains active can help us retain our youthful appearance as well as keep our facilities sharp.
Did you know that the average brain shrinks by approximately five percent every decade after the age of 40? That’s an eye-opening statistic. But it gets even more interesting.
Aerobic exercise can help in a significant way. Here’s how.
When you exercise, you produce a chemical called BDNF, which stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This chemical can help to prevent age-related decline by reducing the deterioration of the brain.
Exercise performed in the study that reached this conclusion included stationary cycling, walking, and running on a treadmill, two to five times a week, for durations ranging from three to 24 months.
So, we have even more motivation to exercise regularly, friends. Not only will we stay fit and strong, but we can also help to slow down our aging process.
Bottom line: Aerobic exercise can help keep your brain active, healthy, and prevent age-related decline.
Healthy activities to stay youthful
We’ve been discussing the need to stay active and exercise as we age, and how that activity can help us slow down the effects of aging.
Here’s another way to do just that: Dance! A new study showed that dancing is one of the most effective types of exercise that can reverse the aging process. Dancing, especially continuously changing choreography, can boost the work of the hippocampus and help you slow down aging.
How much fun is that? We can enjoy ourselves while we dance and reap the benefits of the exercise plus helping our bodies look and feel more youthful, inside and out.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the dance exercise routines offered through Body Groove created by Misty Tripoli. They’re lots of fun, help with coordination and balance, and now we’ve learned they can also slow the effect of aging.
Bottom Line: Find ways to stay strong, healthy, fit and youthful...dance!
Wise choices in your diet
For many of us, eating is fun. It’s a social activity. We enjoy the preparation, taste, the atmosphere, the surroundings, the company, and gosh, the food tastes so good. So what’s wrong with that?
Well, maybe nothing, depending upon your choice of foods.
If you’re really committed to making wise choices and learning how to slow down the aging process, there are some types of foods that will not find their way onto your dinner plate very often.
First, let’s talk about how certain foods can aggravate, or slow the aging process. I’ll provide the brief version here, and you can follow the link at the bottom of this post for more detail.
Certain foods, such as refined carbohydrates, sugary foods, and red meat, can cause inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to anything it recognizes as a threat. The reaction is meant to protect your health, and sometimes it’s a good thing. Not so much with the foods mentioned above.
When you don’t eat healthy, don’t get enough exercise, or have too much stress, the body responds by triggering inflammation. Chronic inflammation can have damaging consequences over the long term. So the food you eat, the quality of sleep you get and how much you exercise, they all really matter when it comes to reducing inflammation.
So, on to the good stuff now.
Here is a list of foods that are known to help slow the effects of aging throughout your body, including your skin. How many of these are part of your regular diet?
- Dark Chocolate
- Collagen Protein
- Chaga Mushrooms
- Bone Broth
Add to this list the foods mentioned in #2 Vitamins, and you’ll have a diet filled with anti-aging “magic”!
Bottom line: what you choose to consume can play a significant role in how you age (and your longevity!)
Get enough rest
It’s not referred to as ‘beauty sleep’ for nothing, my friends.
Experts say that the sleep we get between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM is responsible for nutrition and regeneration, which is why it is beneficial to go to sleep at 11 PM or earlier. Ideally, a person should get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Chronic lack of sleep affects not only the way we feel but also the way we look.
The best anti-aging overnight cream there is won’t do much for you if you can’t sleep and wake up feeling, and looking, haggard and tired.
Here are a few quick tips to help you get the sleep your body needs to keep you looking younger:
- Lie on your back to sleep if you can
- Keep your head raised well above your pillow
- Avoid exercising right before bed
- Do some meditating or deep breathing as you prepare for bed
- Avoid caffeine before bed (or whatever time you’ve determined will keep you up at night).
Bottom Line: Getting enough sleep is crucial in many ways and may have an impact on slowing down the aging process.
What I do to stay looking younger
As a woman in my mid-sixties, I can see how my body is changing, including my face, regularly. As grateful as I am for each new day, the mirror is not necessarily my friend.
But I don’t let myself get caught up in scrutinizing every new wrinkle or sag, or get depressed with the body shape that seems to expand overnight.
I do these things instead, to look and feel younger, and to complement the lifestyle choices I make to slow down the aging process:
- A natural facelift that is, of course, all-natural and non-invasive. After two years of this program, I feel like it’s keeping my face in check as far as the wrinkles are concerned. Are they there? Of course. Are they getting deeper and more pronounced? I don’t think so. Learn more about my natural facelift here.
- An ongoing effort to use skincare products that actually make a difference. In particular, I am always partial to cruelty-free and earth-friendly products. Learn more about the skincare products I use here.
- A simple approach to makeup, with a ‘less is better’ philosophy. I use just the basics, am moving toward all cruelty-free makeup, and call it my 5-minute makeup routine. Heavy face makeup that is supposed to make fine lines disappear does just the opposite on my little face, so I stick with a tinted moisturizer.
- Interestingly, I think that my decision to go back to my natural hair color has given me a more natural, youthful look. Have you considered letting your naturally gray hair become the new you? Read about my experience going gray in a day here.
- A commitment to THE BIG THREE – healthy eating, aerobic exercise and strength training. Learn more by clicking on the links that interest you.
If you are serious about slowing down the aging process you’ll want to be all-in with these tips. It’s not the kind of situation where you can pick and choose what you prefer to do.
No, my friend, it’s a commitment. But think of it this way: you’ll not only look and feel better, you will probably live longer, too.