When most of us picture our futures, we like to imagine ourselves looking youthful and feeling active despite the number of years we have lived. We all know that 85-year-old who could be 40, and to be like them, we need to look at the everyday habits of people who age well. You can get all the facials you want and cross your fingers in hopes that you'll still be able to do yoga when you're elderly, but if you're not engaging in the right daily activities, you're probably not going to age as gracefully as you would like to.
"Our daily habits have a huge impact on how quickly we age and how our skin looks," says Anthony Youn, MD, author of The Age Fix, over email. "It ranges from the foods that we eat, the creams we apply to our skin, how well we take care of ourselves in general, and any bad habits that we might have such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or too much sun exposure."
Although genetics do play a role, you want to set yourself up for the best life possible by doing all you can for your health, but physically and mentally. Whether you're trying to fight off wrinkles or you just want to live a long and healthy life, try adapting these 11 daily habits of people who age well.
1. They Wear Sunscreen
"Wear sunblock every morning, and make sure it's broad-spectrum and at least SPF 30," says Youn. "This blocks 97 percent of the sun's rays." Sun exposure causes wrinkles, discoloration of the skin, and sallowness, not to mention it greatly increases your risk of skin cancer.
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2. They Drink Red Wine
"Drink one glass of red wine a day, but no more alcohol than that," says Youn. "The antioxidants in the red wine are great for your health and aging, but any more than this and the toxic effects of the alcohol take over."
3. They Exercise
Exercising not only keeps you fit and healthy, but it can actually work on a cellular level to keep yourself young. Research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that physical activity can slow aging deep within our cells. "Exercise at least three times per week," says Youn.
4. They Avoid Soda
"Avoid drinking soda pop, which is quite possibly the worst food for your health," says Youn. A study from the University of California, San Francisco found that drinking soda frequently can shorten your lifespan by an average of 4.6 years, and it can contribute to a number of chronic diseases related to aging.
5. They Spend Time With Friends
Need an excuse to get together with your friends more often? How about the chance of a longer life? Studies show that people with strong social support live longer, have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to WebMD.
6. They Wash Their Face Every Night
"Cleanse your skin twice a day, especially at night, removing any make up," say Youn. "This allows your skin to rejuvenate itself at night and not be clogged with the day's grime, pollution, and oil.
7. They Use A Night Cream
"Apply an anti-aging cream every night, preferably a retinol or Retin A- type of product," says Youn. "These are the best creams to turn back the clock." Retinoids help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, help to keep your skin firm, and lighten brown spots from sun exposure, according to WebMD.
8. They Manage Stress
Stress is annoying enough on its own, but it can also have vast effects on how you age. A number of studies show that stress can speed up the aging process by shortening the length of each DNA strand, according to Psychology Today. People who age well practice yoga, meditate, or turn to their favorite activities to help them unwind.
9. They Prioritize Sleep
If you think that sleep-deprivation just makes you tired, think again. In addition to increased issues with cognitive functions and memory, lack of sleep can also accelerate aging in your skin, including fine lines and uneven pigmentation, according to a study from University Hospitals.
10. They're Sexually Active
A study presented at the British Psychological Society found that people who have frequent sex on average look five to seven years younger than they actually are. This may be attributed to the release of the human growth hormone, which plays a role in your skin's elasticity.
11. They Look On The Bright Side
Part of living a long healthy life requires the right mindset, and people who age well tend to be optimistic and resilient. Optimism can help you age better both physically and mentally, according to research out of the University of California at San Diego.
If you take care of your skin, eat well, and pick up on other healthy habits, there's no reason why you shouldn't be rockin' out once you get older.
Images: Pixabay (12); Isla Murray/Bustle
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