But looking much older or younger than your biological age isn’t just down to genetics. There’s no escaping aging, and we shouldn’t feel pressured to look like we’ve escaped it either.
While our life expectancy may be increasing, our lifespan, the time we spend in good health, is still much lower than expected. Lifestyle can really make a difference in how old you feel and look.
Some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, which in most cases are lifestyle related, are very common and are associated with faster aging.
The good news is that making certain lifestyle changes can help prevent chronic disease and the faster aging that comes with it.
Here are the 8 lifestyle choices that can make you age faster:
- Drink Too Much Alcohol
It was revealed in a new Oxford University study that alcohol accelerates biological aging by damaging DNA. The experts examined data from almost 250,000 people and found that those who drank more than 17 units of alcohol per week had shorter telomeres.
Specialists that a more advanced biological aging increases the risks of later diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease. Obviously we can’t change our genetics, but we can potentially change our lifestyle by reducing alcohol consumption, increasing exercise, and quitting smoking, if we want to reduce the risk of faster biological aging.
- The sun
Studies have shown that sunlight can age the skin. In 2013, a French study found that UV exposure was responsible for 80% of visible signs of facial aging.
- Sedentary lifestyle
We lose about 1% of our muscle mass each year from the age of 35, putting us at risk for osteoporosis, frailty, and falls with injuries, such as hip fractures, as we age. We are becoming more and more sedentary and as we get older it is more difficult to build muscle.
So you have to stay active on a daily basis. Try things like walking 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day or taking the stairs. Do some type of regular exercise that you like to do such as yoga, swimming or sports. Even simple changes, like using a standing desk, can help keep your legs and muscles strong.
Cigarette smoking is thought to alter the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin healthy and elastic. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which is why the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. Smoking accelerates this process, causing premature aging.
Another study found 4 factors that can help prevent almost 80% of chronic diseases often associated with aging. The data indicated that these are: never smoking, having a body mass index of less than 30, performing 3.5 hours a week or more of physical activity and following a healthy diet with a high consumption of fruits and vegetables, wholemeal bread and low meat consumption.
Plus, combining healthy behaviors could add 14 years to your life.
- Poor nutrition
Some high-fiber foods, packed with nutrients like vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, as well as other antioxidants such as grains, vegetables, beans and fruits are linked to longer telomeres and a better lifespan. The fiber they contain is also an important nutrient that helps regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy gut biome.
It is vitally important to include sources of healthy fats such as fish, avocado and nuts. These foods have a great importance in eating patterns such as the Mediterranean diet, which may be the reason why it is particularly beneficial for health.
Other foods based on worse health outcomes and shorter telomeres, such as red meats, processed meats, and sugary drinks, are best limited as much as possible.
- Being too stressed
Try to actively control stress because in the long term it can accelerate aging. You can start by noticing what triggers your stress by keeping a journal, and relaxation therapies like deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and exercise like yoga can also help. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, it is important to talk to your general practitioner and seek the ideal help.
- Skipping vitamins
Vitamin D is stipulated to be an important nutrient to help reduce the effects of aging, as low levels are linked to shorter life expectancy. It is recommended to be taken as a supplement in the UK during the months of, as it is quite difficult to obtain through food sources. Sunlight is a good source in the summer, but aim for reasonable levels.
In addition, it is suggested that taking an omega-3 supplement can increase the length of telomeres. Anti-inflammatory compounds have other beneficial effects, such as helping to control blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, which is beneficial for heart health.
- Loss of sleep
Lack of sleep also increases the possibility of unhealthy behaviors such as not exercising and eating sugary and fatty foods, increasing the risk of disease.
It is vital to get 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep a day. Pay attention to your bedtime routine and environment, avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch and screens, and exercise 1-2 hours before bedtime. Make sure, as much as possible, that your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool. Published by The USA Herald, news and information agency.