Staying younger than your age is not a difficult thing, but it won’t’ come to you easily either. Everyone loves to stay young in 40s and even in 50s and beyond that. It is possible. Unfortunately, many things out there and inside you contribute in aging you physically and psychologically in different contexts. The good news is that most of such factors can be controlled and you can stay younger than your age!
Aging is not only about the physical appearance. What you are internally, how healthy you are, your ability to cope stress, rate of risk of your diseases and many more. things decide whether you feel and look younger or older than your biological age. There are quite a few things you should consider if you really want to defy age and stay younger, in terms of appearance and health. These are too simple, doesn’t need much effort.
So, what’s the secret to stay younger than your age!
The antidote for aging signs can be summed up in the following three rules:
- Healthy and active lifestyle (physically and psychologically)
- Nutritious diet, and
- A happy, peaceful mind.
You don’t need to take a special course on health and disease management. Just know yourself a little better than what you are now and stay much younger than your actual age.
- Have a better understanding about your lifestyle.
- Think about re-scheduling your dietary habits.
- Ask yourself how healthy you are and what you should focus on
- Analyze how efficient you are in handling things without getting too much stressed.
1. Exercise – Key to Staying Fit, Healthy and Younger
Staying younger indirectly means you should stay fit with a good physique. Going out of shape is not certainly being younger though gaining a few pounds and increase in a size or two is not a very big concern.
What all you need is a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise daily. If it’s more, it’s better.
Some women especially women in 30s and women who gain weight post partum need a bit extra than the 20 minutes of workout a day. However, keep this as the base. There is no shortcut to manage your physique in shape and look younger other than doing exercise. Learning yoga is the best bet to retain the youthful look. It not only tones your body but brings a balance among your body, mind and soul. However, other exercises too have their own importance.
So, why exercising is so important to stay younger
- Exercising improves circulation, relaxes and tones muscles and improves your energy level
- Improves stamina and vitality
- Enhances the coordination and balance among body and mind
- Releases happy hormones, endorphins, which uplifts your mood
- A great stress buster and prevents release of stress hormones
- Makes you feel good about yourself
What are the exercising options available to stay fit, healthy and younger
- Simple at home exercises – walking treadmill, climbing stairs, simple stretches, etc
- Cycling – almost everyone know how to ride a cycle and it makes one of the ideal option.
- Walking, jogging and running outdoors
- Swimming – Best option to learn at any age.
- Gym workouts – strength training, cardio and high intensity workouts
- Learning and doing yoga with proper training – expect complete transformation, but it takes some time
An average individual should exercise for about 150 hours in a week, which counts to 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
2. Eating and Staying Younger than your Age
You are what you eat. Literally it applies to aging and staying healthy. There are quite a few foods that age you faster. There are also certain wrong food habits that age you faster, avoid such foods and food habits to avoid accelerated aging. Similarly, there are a few things that delay aging for decades. Take a look at what you should eat and what you should avoid.
Boost Antioxidants Intake
Antioxidants are the key to staying healthy and younger for years. Every cell in the body is prone to damage due to a lot of factors. Aging is literally delayed when you include a lot of antioxidants in your diet. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t secrete antioxidants on its own and food is the only source.
Antioxidants and aging are related but not in a positive way. More antioxidants mean lesser aging! Antioxidants replenish the cells and keep it healthy. They fight the free radical damages of the cells. They also prevent cells from the oxidative damages, which makes you look older as well as affect your health. Healthy, younger and fresh cells mean you are cool, young and healthy.
Foods rich in antioxidants include fresh fruits and vegetables. Some rich food source of antioxidants include,
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
- Berries and cherries
- Dark green veggies and leaves
- Herbs and spices (eat a lot of these aromatic ingredients to boost your health)
Aim for a Colorful Diet
Healthy eating is the key to staying younger and live longer. If you check the diet or eating habits of those who look younger with no trace of wrinkles even in late 40s, they would be certainly eating colorful foods.
It doesn’t mean adding a lot of food coloring, but including foods from different sources and color groups.
- Red – antioxidants and good for heart
- Green – full of B vitamins
- Blue and purple foods– antioxidants and prevents cell triggers (cancer cells)
- Yellow and orange – skin and hair
- Brown – energy booster
- White – full of immunity (natural white foods like cauliflower, white sesame seeds, garlic, etc)
Look at the list of 20 Foods To Eat For Longer Life
Cut these Three Whites from Your Food
Don’t get confused with the white foods mentioned above. They are natural and healthy so much so that they help you stay younger for long. But the following white foods do just the opposite thing, they make you look older and unhealthy. So, avoid these white foods if you want to stay younger for more years:
Sugar mentioned here is finely refined and polished sugar that appears in sparkling white. Too much sugar affect the lining of the cells and lead to cell damage, which apparently makes you old. Go for a few days without eating sugar. You will feel immensely better and fresh.
As an alternative to sugar, take unrefined sugar, palm sugar, palm candy, honey and jaggery
The similar context applies to polished white rice! It is all zero nutrient value carbohydrate. Polishing snatches away all the good nutrition of rice.
However, if rice is your staple food and if you can’t avoid eating rice, instead of white polished rice, eat brown rice, red rice, or other healthy rice varieties available.
Salt is the silent killer. Adding salt in cooking is inevitable, but it becomes a culprit soon by causing a lot of problems. It’s not about using salt as flavoring ingredient in cooking. It’s about how much salt is added in your daily food and other accompaniments like pickles, chips, ketchups, and even jams. Salt is a preservative and is used abundantly in many food items to increase their shelf life. But at what cost! Salt settles in linings of the veins, affects circulation, increases blood pressure and leads to water retention apart from many other health complications.
The maximum recommended intake of salt per person is 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per day.
Replace white salt with sea salt, black salt and pink salt. They are loaded with minerals and contain more potassium than sodium.
Say NO to Refined and GMO foods
Refined foods use a lot of preservatives to get the clarity and the color. So, avoid using refined foods (especially oils). Resort to natural produce.
Similarly, it is too harmful to indulge in GMO foods. It’s great to see purple tomatoes, pink carrots and orange potatoes, yet totally unhealthy. GMO foods can potentially alter your DNA and lead to irreversible damages.
Stick to natural foods and foods that belong to your region.
Eat natural, eat local, stay younger and healthy
Have Healthy Oils and Fats
Oils and fats are lubricators. These are essential nutrients you can never avoid. It keeps the cells hydrated and prevent dryness. It gives volume and soft texture to the skin. Lack of oil and fat lead to premature aging signs. But you need only the healthy fats to keep yourself younger and healthy. Bad fats can do the opposite and make you look older. So, what healthy fats to have?
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew etc.
- Fruits like avocado and coconut
- Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids
- Oils made through cold pressing process like olive oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, rice bran oil etc.
Foods to Avoid (Unhealthy and Accelerates Aging)
- Refined flour
- Packaged foods
- Foods with artificial colorings and preservatives
- Carbonated beverages, sodas and colas
- Fruit juices in tins, cans and tetra packs
Anti-Aging Foods – Elixir of Health and Age
There are a few foods that ensure you look and stay young.
- Amla or Indian gooseberry – Consume amla in any form, it is an elixir of youth. Take one amla a day and you will stay youthful for decades
- Pomegranate – Tons of antioxidants and replenish white blood cells. The best pal for women.
- Triphala herb– Consume one teaspoon triphala herb every day and enhance your immunity
- Avocado – The delicious fruit is full of healthy fat
- Coconut – Most overlooked food, loaded with nutrients and fatty acids. Good for skin and hair.
- Salmon – Omega fatty acids
- Nuts and seeds – Minerals and trace elements
- Flax Seeds – Protects your heart health
- Bananas (fruit, vegetable, flower and stem)
- Lemon – Topically and internally refreshing
3. De-clutter your mind
Keeping your mind relaxed is not an easy thing. A lot of things may pester you. However, with some minimal efforts, you can easily get rid of it and make peace with yourself. We are not saints and yogis to avoid putting things into the mind and pretend nothing trouble us. We are just humans. But keeping the mind free from clutters is the secret to staying younger.
Besides, only when your brain is active, you can stay younger. Inactive brain cells trigger aging signs. Soothe the brain with calming meditation and nourishing pranayama. This will not only de-clutter your mind but also keep your brain cells activated.
- Meditation- Meditation can help you reduce the chaotic state of mind and imparts clarity.
- Pranayama- Deep Breathing Practice- Pranayama or deep breathing techniques taught in Yoga enhance circulation and supply oxygen from head to toe.
- Laughing out loud
- Don’t dwell in the past. Make peace with the past and look out for future.
- Don’t develop negative feelings towards anyone. Negative feeling consume a lot of energy. Every cell in your body reacts to your negative emotions. In fact, negative emotions like anger, grief, woe, etc. accelerate cell aging.
How to meditate
Choose a comfortable place. It can be any place, your bed room, terrace, living room or literally any place where you are not disturbed for a while.
- Wear comfortable and loose clothes
- Wash your hands and legs before meditation
- Sit comfortably on floor or even on bed
- Make sure the atmosphere is silent and peaceful
- Close your eyes and concentrate on how you inhale and exhale (it need not be deep breathing, but don’t do shallow or rapid breathing)
- It is impossible to have a clear mind without any thoughts. Allow the thoughts as they come, don’t drive them away and let them develop as your mind wishes.
- Within a few days, you will see that you don’t encounter too many thoughts. Gradually, they will reduce while you meditate.
- Set the timer or alarm for 15 to 20 minutes (minimum).
- If you wish, you can play soft, rhythmic and melodic music / any chants like ‘Om’ in the background.
- You will find yourself to be very calm after doing this every day.
This will impart a clarity, improved consciousness, boost your memory and increase the brain power! All this helps you stay younger than your age!
Pranayama – Breathing exercise
To soothe away stress, improve circulation and relax, take some deep breathes for 3 to 5 minutes. It will be quite a magical experience. You feel too relaxed and light.
Alternate nostril breathing or ‘Anulom Vilom Pranayama’ is another effective way to tone your body and mind in a positive way. It clears the imbalance in body and regulates the overall health.
- Close your right nostril with right hand thumb
- Deeply inhale from left nostril
- Close your left nostril with your ring and middle fingers of the same hand (right hand)
- Hold breath for 2-3 seconds
- While removing the thumb from right nostril, exhale from right nostril
- While keeping the left nostril closed with your two fingers, inhale deeply with right nostril
- Again close the right nostril with right hand thumb
- Hold breath for 2-3 seconds
- Remove the fingers from left nostril and exhale
- This completes one round of alternate breathing or Anulom Vilom Pranayama
- Repeat 5-10 times initially and increase with time
Swinging breathing – it’s like a funny breathing exercise. When you do deep breathing exercise, just swing your breathe. Feel like your breathe is going up and down like a swing and you will quite love it. It will be more relaxing and refreshing.
Laughing out loud
Do you need any guide to laugh out? Well, there is only one suggestion for you. Don’t join any laughter therapy classes where you will be made to laugh artificially.
Many people may say you can meditate, do pranayama anytime, any day and at any place. While you can do breathing exercises literally anywhere and anytime, develop a routine for meditation. Stick to same place, same time and same duration. It is more effective than random meditation. It will sync to your body clock (the organ clock) and the results will be dramatic. One of the results is of course keeping you younger and healthier!
4. Miscellaneous yet Important Things that Count to Stay Younger
Manage your stress
Why stress is stressed so much? It is simple. Stress is the primary trigger for aging signs, internally and externally. How does stress affect aging? Stress makes you feel sick and invites a lot of lifestyle diseases.
To quote an example, stress release a hormone called cortisol, which affects the functions of other feel good hormones like endorphins, dopamine, and even the healthy hormones like estrogen, thyroid, etc. Cortisol affects circulation and eventually, your body and brain lacks blood and oxygen supply. In fact, stress is the major trigger of auto-immune conditions like hypothyroid.
Stress apparently leaves its mark on your face. People with lot of stress or inability to manage stress are likely to develop premature aging signs.
Chronic hair loss, balding, and receding hair line hit men even in their middle and late 20s. Similarly, women are prone to high risk of early menopause even in early 30s.
Stress affects you internally, which reflects externally, ruining your appearance. Better stress management helps you staying not only younger, but also healthy.
How to manage stress?
Reducing stress is neither a mystery nor a magic. Following are some quick tips to cut down stress levels to enhance your vitality and health.
- Leave the place when you are stressed / or anything that makes you stressed for 10 to 15 minutes
- Take a shower in warm water
- Go for a short walk (say about 5-10 minutes)
- Get some sinful treat, have dark chocolates
- Inhale some good aroma (lavender, rosemary, chamomile etc.) and it soothes your senses instantly
- Have a cup of hot beverage but not caffeinated drinks, rather have hot soups or broths or even herbal teas
- Change your focus on something for a while – for instance, read a book, watch some funny videos (a lot of videos are available, thanks to online netizens!), listen to music, sing or hear songs, play games and so on.
- Indulge in relaxation techniques like breathing (mentioned earlier in this article)
- Have a realistic approach and positive attitude to keep stress in control
- Plan your time efficiently. Lack of time management triggers your stress levels
Kids are great stress buster (We are not talking about kids who make you stressed), indulge in fun filled activities with kids. Even pets reduce stress, play with them or just be with them.
Don’t indulge in these stress busting activities
- Don’t develop this habit to eat to beat the stress. It is very dangerous. You end up gaining weight which is certainly not helping you to stay and look younger than your age.
- Don’t indulge in drinking or smoking to reduce stress. Smoking is actually a form of deep breathing exercise where you inhale and exhale the tobacco deeply. So, the secret behind smoking releasing your tension is the deep inhalation and exhalation, not the cigar. Instead, breathe deeply without a cigarette.
- Don’t drink coffee or caffeinated beverages and colas to de-stress. Although the caffeine in these drinks make you feel great and energized, say no to them when you are stressed. It is neither healthy, nor has a long lasting effect.
You will start living only when you stop stressing out. You will stay younger only when you live healthy.
Feed Your Brain
As mentioned earlier, your brain controls how you look and how healthy you are. What you put in your mouth affects your brain, your mind, and your health. Feeding the brain keeps the stress at bay.
Poor nutrition, unhealthy habits, peer pressure, sugar and alcohol plays crucial role in damaging your health and metabolism. While you can cope up the stress and prevent aging in your 20s, it will show up the ugly face in your 30s. So, apart from keeping stress away, have foods that are good for brain health Also indulge in brain boosting activities. Do something creative to stimulate your brain functions.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants, minerals (magnesium, zinc, copper, etc), fats and oils to feed your brain
Harmonize your Hormones
Hormones play a very significant role in managing your health. With balanced hormones you can effortlessly combat the aging signs topically and keep the various vital functions of the body intact. For instance, imbalance in thyroid hormone leads to weight gain, hair loss, bloating etc. which affects you badly.
Check hormone levels when you find something is wrong and try to balance it soon.
Never Skip Sleep
Sleep is the basic essential of good health and wellbeing. Your body repairs and replenishes itself during sleep. Along with stress, lack of sleep is a major trigger for many diseases. Poor sleep delays self-healing process, which ages the cell. Besides, inadequate sleep also affects your hormones. While stress may take some time to develop accelerate aging, sleep is too quick. If you don’t sleep well at night, your face shows it the next morning. So, sleep well but don’t take pills for this. Find ways to sleep better without sleeping pills
Sleep in dark to secrete melatonin, which controls aging process, prevents weight gain and aids you in staying healthy.
Skin Care and Hair Care
When you literally follow a healthy regimen which includes most of the above, you need not worry a lot about skin and hair. Yet, you should follow a healthy hair care and skin care routine.
- Cleanse – once or twice a day
- Moisturize – twice or thrice a day
- Wear sunscreen
- Exfoliate – once or twice a week
- Remove makeup before going to bed
- Don’t use chemical based hair products
- Apply oil twice a week
- Don’t change your hairstyle often using straighteners, hot iron, etc. they damage your hair
- Cover your head and hair during windy, dry and hot climates
- Choose the hairstyle that suits you and compliments you
Some Secrets to Staying Younger
- Just like negative energy, over thinking eats a lot of energy. Don’t think too much, you will end up stressed.
- Talking people won’t do and doing people won’t talk. So, do more and talk less. If you keep on telling someone you are going to hit the gym, you will never. Just go, hit the gym!
- Too much worrying affects the liver and too much fear affects your kidneys and when you are positive and brave, it uplifts the energy of those respective organs. Every organ is worth taking care if you want to stay younger and live longer.
- Work for an hour; take a break for 5 to 10 minutes; resume your work. It gives all your organs much needed rest.
- Don’t overdo physical workouts. You are likely to damage yourself instead of staying younger.
Essentials of Life- Include these in your routine to stay healthy, younger and blissful
- Add at least one green vegetable or leaf vegetable in your diet daily
- Eat at least one whole fruit (it could be even a whole pineapple) a day
- Include spices in your diet to enhance the goodness of the meals
- Observe fasting twice a month (at least)
- Try to eat fruits for dinner at least once a week
- Respect and learn to live in tune with nature
- Allocate a day to celebrate fruits – Eat only fruits (any choice, any quantity). You may also go for anti aging fruits
- Include oils and fats in cooking – don’t skimp on taking oils and fats, just have the healthy oils
- Take oil bath once a week or once in ten days (rejuvenates you from head to toe). If confused, know that massage with warm oil is called Oil Bath and it’s a very effective Ayurvedic way of staying younger and healthier.
- De-worm, cleanse your stomach and detox twice or thrice a year. You can buy herbal detox or have juices to detox
- Practice a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise a day
- Do 10 minutes of breathing practice / pranayama
- Don’t give up sleeping and sleep for at least 6 hours (number of hours of sleep actually vary with every individual, find the right duration of your sleep)
- Stay hydrated and drink water (or clear juices / liquids) throughout the day at regular intervals.
- Don’t over eat and don’t starve too long before you eat
- Try to stay at least one day (from dawn to dusk) without using technology. De-tox your mind!
- Give yourself daily break from work and get adequate rest
- Get a spa therapy or massage once in every three months to pamper yourself. Embrace the goodness of massage. If you didn’t know, massage is anti aging too!
- Apart from feeling younger from within, you must also take steps to look younger from outside. This will further make you happy. But get it clear that only looking good is not being younger. You need to work on yourself internally too, and that’s essential!
- Dress sharply with choicest outfits. Wearing the right dress that flaunts you certainly makes you look younger, but it isn’t permanent.
- Feel the love and share the love. It makes you beautiful from inside out. If you are married, enjoy your relationship with your spouse. Finding emotional support and getting physical with your partner too is an antidote to stress, something which can delay aging.
- Get busy. Don’t be a potato couch.
- A big NO to smoking. Smoking literally affects every part of your body from lips to lungs.
- Always wear a smile on your face, even if you fail to put on lipstick. Do you know, frowning makes you look older!
Regenerate yourself with fresh foods, water, activity, lots of fun and peace, which prevents you from degeneration.
If you take a pledge to be positive, and to lead a healthy lifestyle, you will certainly slow down the aging process and stay younger than your age for many years to come!