9 Habits That Keep You Young, Both Inside & Out

The older we get, the more we find ourselves missing the early years of boundless energy and skin as smooth as a baby's bottom. However, we don't have to age so quickly if we begin to pick up on habits that keep us young. Whether they're activities that keep your brain fresh and focused, prevent illnesses that deplete us and tire us out, or keep our face smooth and free of damage, our daily habits play a role in how young we can feel both physically and mentally.

"The key to staying young lies within your cells," says anti-aging doctor Al Sears, MD. "Each of them has a set of 'clocks,' called telomeres. These are the vital endcaps that seal off the tips of your cells’ chromosomes to prevent DNA strands from unraveling. The shorter your telomeres, the 'older' your cells, and therefore your body, act, regardless of your actual age. By slowing the loss of your telomeres, you may be able to extend your lifespan, and feel younger longer."

If you want to keep yourself feeling young — both on the inside and outside — try adapting these nine habits that will have you feeling half your age, in the best way possible.

1. Sleeping

They call it beauty sleep for a reason. Studies from the journal PLoS One show that sleeping five or few hours per night can shorten telomeres. Getting adequate sleep can help you feel more energized and even more upbeat and happy.

2. Avoiding Sugar

"In a three-year study, people who consumed a 20-ounce serving of sugary sodas every day shortened their telomeres by the equivalent of 4.6 years," says Sears. Too much sugar can cause fatigue, skin imbalances and acne, anxiety, and even a compromised immune system, according to Dr. Frank Lipman.

3. Exercise

"Short bursts of challenging exercise can help slow down your aging clock, lengthen your life, and make you more resistant to disease," says Sears. Research from McMaster University in Ontario found that exercising even just three hours per week can help you attain younger looking skin. Other research from the journal PLoS Medicine found that doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week can add 3.4 years to your lifespan.

4. Drinking Water

When it comes to overall health, water is a pretty powerful tool. Research out of Loma Linda University found that drinking adequate amounts of water can lower your risk of coronary heart disease. Other studies from the Journal of Nutrition show that drinking water is linked to better energy levels, mood, and concentration.

5. Combatting Stress

Stress can contribute to aging in a variety of ways. A study from the journal PLoS One found that work-related stress causes shorter telomeres. Stress can also lead to vision and hearing loss, Alzheimer's disease, and other age-related disorders.

6. Enjoying A Drink Or Two

Enjoying happy hour with your friends isn't so bad after all. Studies show that moderate drinking not only leads to greater happiness, but a longer lifespan, according to multiple studies. Just don't over do it, and keep it at one to two drinks per day.

7. Protecting Yourself From The Sun

You can lather on all the skin creams you want, but nothing prevents aging of the skin like staying in the shade or using SPF daily. In fact, the sun's rays account for 80 percent of skin aging, according to a study published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology.

8. Keeping Good Posture

Sitting up straight can help you feel younger, taller, and more confident, but it can also help your mood, your memory, your digestion, and even your bones, according to multiple studies.

9. Think Positive

"Deliberately find ways to see the glass half-full,' says psychologist Dr. Noelle Nelson, PhD over email. "A study out of Johns Hopkins, reported that even in adults at risk of heart disease due to their family history, a positive outlook offered the strongest known protection against heart disease — as well as or even better than maintaining an appropriate diet, exercise regimen, or body weight."

Age is about how you feel, so if you feel healthy and happy when going through your day, you're doing something right.

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