Famous author Mark Twain was quoted as saying “Life could be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” We have always sought ways to reverse the signs of aging; even as far back as the year 1513, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched for a mythical Fountain of Youth in what is now the state of Florida.
According the United States Census Bureau, the nation’s older population continues to grow, as baby boomers began turning 65 years old back in 2011. In fact, the number of Americans age 65 and over grew from 35 million back in 2000 to 49.2 million in 2016. With so many older adults living long far into their eighties and beyond, it’s no wonder that finding ways to slow the aging process is still one of the hottest topics around.
What is the Aging Process?
Your body goes through a variety of changes throughout the normal aging process. Getting older means you’ll be facing changes to your body’s cells, tissues and organs, which affect the functioning of all your bodily systems. Muscle mass starts to decrease, your metabolism slows down and you may become prone to an array of chronic conditions. Although the aging process is unique to every individual, we’ll all face these changes in one way or another as we continue to add candles to our birthday cakes.
How to Slow the Aging Process
However, there are a few ways to age as gracefully as possible. While time will continue to move forward, by taking some steps you can ensure you’re aging as healthy as possible while enjoying the highest quality of life.
A few ways to naturally slow the aging process include:
Eliminate processed foods from your diet. Processed foods contain a variety of ingredients that can cause inflammation and a weakened immune system the older you get. This inflammation is the cause of a variety of chronic conditions and leads to a lack of energy. Adopt a diet full of wholesome, nutritious and fresh foods to keep your body functioning at optimal levels.
Stay hydrated. When you don’t drink enough water, your skin looks dull and older. Water also helps lubricate the joints and flush out toxins from the body. To keep that youthful glow, aim to drink at least two liters of water every day.
Get your Zs. As you sleep, your body has time to repair and rejuvenate all its systems. It’s said that just one less hour of sleep per night can increase cortisol levels tenfold, which leads to oxidative stress and affects the balance of your blood sugar levels. Establish a nightly routine to ensure you have plenty of time to unwind and relax from your day to get a proper night’s sleep.
Decrease stress levels. Just like a lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels, feeling stressed out leads to higher cortisol levels, too. These high levels of cortisol can rob your body of essential minerals and lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, and even add more wrinkles to your skin. Try deep breathing exercises or simply take a brisk walk to lower your daily stress.
Add more physical activity. Speaking of taking that brisk walk, regular exercise can also help slow the aging process. The benefits of exercise for seniors are numerous and include reducing the risk for chronic conditions, improving mental health, slowing cognitive decline, and can even keep your skin looking healthier as toxins get released while you work up a sweat.
Make time for your friends. Feeling lonely can increase your stress hormones and lead to a variety of health concerns like high blood pressure and heart disease. Make sure to carve out time throughout the week to spend with friends and loved ones, as staying socially active can really improve your overall health.