5 Behaviors to Age Gracefully
Guess what you and fine wine have in common?
That’s right, you both get better with age! Getting older doesn’t have to be something you dread. Here are some simple tips for aging gracefully:
1. Move More
One of the secrets to aging gracefully is regular exercise. Researchers at McMaster University found that people over the age of 40 who exercise regularly have healthier skin. It’s closer in composition to 20 and 30-year-old skin.
Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to going to the gym. There are several forms of aerobic exercise, better known as cardio, that you can do at home to help keep your heart and lungs healthy.
Sets of jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and jogging in place are a few examples. Stretching is another form of exercise that helps us age gracefully. Flexibility exercises help to reduce our chances of muscle cramps and joint pain. They also help increase our range of motion and maintain our flexibility for everyday things like tying shoes.
2. Stress Less
We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can control our reaction. One study says excessively worrying about things like your job, finances, or relationships can lead to those issues showing on our faces.
Stress can take a toll on your skin through wrinkles, bags under the eyes, flaky skin, and acne. Manage stress by learning how to say “no” and not taking on too much in your professional or personal life. If you can’t change the situation, consider changing how you react by adjusting your standards and practicing gratitude. When everyday demands cause stress, take a quick moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in life. Moving more and exercising can help manage your stress, and sedentary activities like meditation have been shown to reduce stress.
3. Slow Down on Sugar
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s true—you are what you eat. Ariel Ostad, a doctor of Dermatology, says a poor diet can speed up the aging process in our skin and teeth. One of the biggest culprits is sugar. When you eat more sugar than your cells can process, the leftover sugar molecules are exposed to proteins, creating “advanced glycation end products,” or “AGEs”. In time, AGEs can ruin your skin’s collagen—the protein that helps keep skin youthful and firm.Why spend money on expensive creams and treatments that may not work when you can adjust your diet and prevent the need for them in the first place? A high-sugar diet can also ruin your smile. It sticks to your teeth and sits between them and along the gum line, encouraging plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay.
4. Drink More Water
Plants wither when they don’t get enough water. The same is true for your skin and body. Skin cells need water. Without enough of it, your skin won’t look its best. Water reaches all of your other organs before the skin, so it’s important that we drink at least 8 glasses a day to keep us fully hydrated. Dehydration causes dry and flaky skin and also makes skin more prone to wrinkling.
5. Brush, Floss, and Visit the Dentist
Brush and floss twice a day for a healthier smile! Brushing and flossing helps to remove plaque and leftover food from your mouth and between your teeth. Not sticking to the routine could lead to yellow teeth and cavities. Combine twice-a-day brushing and flossing with regular dentist visits for a comprehensive check-up that goes beyond your teeth. Dentists screen for oral cancer and other health issues like diabetes and heart disease during your exam.
Our tips for aging gracefully consider both your oral and overall health, promoting a healthy lifestyle as you become an older adult.
Editor's Note: Content updated January 2019.