December 13, 2022
No one wants to age prematurely. Of course, aging is inevitable if you live long enough, but looking, and even more importantly “feeling” old before you have to is actually well within your control. This control all comes down to a few simple daily habits, good or bad, that you can choose to implement, or not.
If you choose the bad habits over the good ones most of the time, you’ll very likely age prematurely. Choose the good ones most of the time, and your chances of looking and feeling good, even into older age are quite excellent. It’s that simple. So, let’s get a look at three of those not-so-good habits that can cause you to age prematurely, and then we’ll look at what you can put in their place so you can look and feel younger longer.
You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is critically important. A 2015 study done at UCLA looked at the blood cells of older adults who had just one night of insufficient sleep. The results? Just one night of sleep deprivation set in motion a cycle of cellular damage that if continued could lead to disease and early death. This study directly linked insufficient sleep to aging.
The good habit to put into place is to start taking your sleep seriously. Of course, you are going to be sleep deprived occasionally, for one reason or the other, whether that’s a sick child, having to get up to care for an elderly parent, or many other reasons. Life happens. But you should do everything in your power to get adequate quality sleep on as many nights as possible.
You Avoid The Sun
This one is a bit tricky, as you have likely been inundated with well-meaning advice to stay out of the sun at all costs. This includes advice such as you should smear yourself with sunscreen every time you venture out no matter the time of day, plus always wear protective clothing and a hat and sunglasses outdoors. As a result, most people are literally scared of the sun!
Yes, it’s true that too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause skin damage but most people don’t understand that the sun’s rays in the morning and later in the evening are very different wavelengths that have different effects. Besides triggering the production of Vitamin D in your skinwhen it’s exposed to sunlight, exposing your eyes to morning sunlight sets your master biological clock located deep within your brain.
Scientists are just now beginning to understand the importance of the master clock as well as other body clocks, which are located not only in the brain but in every cell and organ of your body. Exposure to the blue rays of the early morning sun for 15 to 30 minutes will not only boost your sleep quality that night, but will also help you to feel alert, energized and ready for the day. Getting outside again around sundown when the sun’s rays are more red is quite beneficial as well.
You Only Walk For Exercise
Yes, walking is great exercise and if you walk nearly everyday, that is fantastic! But people tend to get stuck in one routine, especially as they age, and forget about other kinds of exercise, like strength training or exercises to improve their balance because they think they are too old or they are fearful of hurting themselves.
But loss of muscle mass as you age is one of the primary reasons older people may take a fall and get seriously injured. Resistance bands are a great alternative to weights and there are some great videos, free and paid, to get you started. Working on your balance is easy. Just stand on one foot for a while you brush your teeth or do some other chore like wash dishes, and then shift to the other foot. You’ll be surprised at how rapidly you’ll improve.
So make sleep a priority, get some morning and evening sun, and vary your exercise routine. Soon you’ll not only look younger, you’ll feel younger too!