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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Look as Good as You Feel

10 Natural Ways to Defy Your Age

Skip the Gimmicks to Look and Feel Younger Than Ever

-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach
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Exercise: The Fountain of Youth
When I visit my parents who live in a senior community in Florida, I can always tell who among their neighbors are lifelong exercisers: They stand taller, walk effortlessly, and easily look 10 years younger than their non-exercising contemporaries.  They exhibit a youthful demeanor that comes with feeling and looking well. Not to mention that a good workout gives us naturally-flushed cheeks and sense of well-being--just a few more bonus reasons to include regular exercise in our arsenal of natural age-defyers! There are three types of exercise that can keep you looking and feeling young.

  • Aerobic exercise increases circulation throughout the body and strengthens the heart and lungs.  It aids in digestion, helps us reduce anxiety and stress, and enhances the quality of our sleep. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, hiking or dancing, can even slow bone loss
     
  • Strength training has been shown to build bone mass, which helps to prevent and slow down osteoporosis.  Building muscle mass keeps us strong and revs the metabolism, which helps to maintain a healthy body weight and youthful figure.  Strength training keeps us limber and improves balance, preventing debilitating falls and fractures. Ultimately, it keeps you independent and capable of more things even as you get older.
     
  • Lifestyle activities, such as golf, gardening, bowling, tennis and ballroom dancing involve both physical and mental stimulation, keeping both our bodies and minds young. In general, experts agree that the more you can move--even if it's not as intense as traditional forms of exercise--the better off your body and your mind will be as you age.
You Are What You Eat, So Feed Your Face
Much has been written about the power of nutrition to ward off illness, boost the immune system and enhance your complexion.

Real food is more beneficial to your body and skin than supplements are, and eating a wide variety of super foods increases your chances of absorbing the most nutrients possible.

If maintaining healthy skin is your concern, foods containing vitamins A, C, and E, and polyphenols (antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties that protect and benefit the skin) should be part of your daily diet.  Here are some examples of deliciously colorful foods that provide these key nutrients:
  • Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), red, yellow and orange produce (such as cantaloupe, carrots, bell peppers), and asparagus
  • Vitamin C: Red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, oranges, and cantaloupe
  • Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, tomato products, and spinach.
  • Polyphenols: Green tea, cocoa and dark chocolate.
Most health professionals who study the effects of food on aging agree that a balanced diet made up of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, healthy monounsaturated fats, seeds and nuts, and whole grains is the way to go.  Minimize your intake of sugars and highly processed foods and drink plenty of purified water and green tea, and you’ll be doing your best to keep your body functioning well as you age.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • FLOYDSTIME
    Run like you never ran before. Get the ticker going at a sustained rate with a long and slow run. Of course, you must work up to it starting with a walk-run, then a full out run after a week or two depending on your fitness level. Watch the weight drop - with a good diet, of course - and the energy level rise. Set a race goal. Remember, you are not out to win anything but to reach a goal for time and distance. After awhile with the breeze in your face, enjoyment will raise your mental health, too. - 1/30/2014 1:10:01 PM
  • Back again . . . I'm having difficulty understanding what you mean to say in this phrase: "Real food tend is more beneficial to your body and skin than supplements are" (on page 1 in the spark people article). - 12/9/2013 4:28:11 PM
  • Good article, thank you. - 9/15/2013 7:46:24 PM
  • SHARSS
    Good article, but can't say I haven't learned anything from it as I already knew the info. But for those who don't, it's good advice.

    I would only add don't dump your supplements. Although I've recently started whole food vities, I still continue the anti-oxidant vites A, C, E. Hey, doesn't hurt. One vitie maker puts them all in an Anti-oxidant vities supplement.

    I'm 71 and look years younger. When folks ask me how, I answer: Vitamines and Exercise. - 7/27/2013 7:30:21 PM
  • Great article. On your next version, I hope you discuss how all those bad habits affect the brain, starting at an early age, but NOW is the time to fix it, to exercise, to eat fruits and vegetables, etc. in order to have a healthy brain as we age. - 6/21/2013 5:06:49 PM
  • ONUTHIN125
    Great article. Very true info. My mom is 76 and she looks and acts like she is in her 50's. She has a young mindset. She dresses tastefully and even though she is retired, she gets out daily and associates with people. I am trying to learn for her! Spark On! - 6/7/2013 3:18:21 PM
  • Great article. - 5/19/2013 6:20:15 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    Thank you, Ellen Goldman--- for this very comprehensive list that can enhance our lives. We all have genetic traits, but all of these suggestions can be of great benefit. I am pleased to see the emphasis on oral health, smile care, mentioned here. Diseased gums, rotten teeth, poor hygiene of the mouth ---hurt appearance and hurt overall health. So many patients can avoid losing their teeth by properly caring for them at an early age. - 1/2/2013 4:18:21 PM
  • Good article - thanks. - 12/30/2012 6:24:13 AM
  • BITHOO and NICOLEELIZANETH have excellent points.

    While I don't doubt that healthy elders in excellent physical condition can be afflicted with unpredicted health obstacles/disease
    s, I *do* think that part of the point of treating yourself *well* with the exercise and quality foods (if you can get them, and have the education to be aware of what your healthy choices are), is to be able to enjoy what is your life with as little pain as possible. - 12/29/2012 6:59:10 PM
  • i agree somewhat with Bithoo. I am a registered nurse and evaluate medical problems that include the effects of aging on the body in a scientific manner. However, I also know that some of the ideas in this article can retard -slow down the aging process.

    As we age and get into our 50,s 60's, 70' and older, certain uncontrollable things occur within the body on the inside and the outside.

    1. We lose more muscle and maintain more fat so weight trainning helps slow this process. Hopwever, if you have Osteoporosis( brittle bones) weight trainning could triggor a fracture. Perhaps walking for an hour would be better.

    2. As for the face this is what happens no matter what you eat; don't despair because there are surgical and non-surgical options to help restore a youthful look.
    A. The fat under the eyes starts to travel downward creating naso-labial folds( deep creases on either side of the nose)
    B. The upper eyelids start to droop because the skin is less elastic. The lower eyelids can develop under eye bags for the same reason. Make-up applied correctly can create an illusion to counter this effect. Apply a light concealer or make-up in the depressed areas and a darker make-up on the pouch( raised areas). The effect will be to raise the depressed circle under the eye and depress the puff. However, eyelid surgery can be done on an out patient basis:it is painless and takes about two weeks to heal, meaning that the bruised areas go away in that period of time. Otherwise the stitches are removed in about 5 days and you will look 10 years younger. The cost for this procedure is about $2000.

    C. Wrinkles appear on the forehead, sides of the eyes and upper cheeks. The chin may develop little pin holes. This can be treated with Botox and creams that have Retin A
    in therapeutic quantity like Atralin, Tazorak and the like. Applied to the wrinkled areas they halp Collagen grow. Collagen is the substance that is the framework that hold the face together. It is the lack of Collagen that produces many of the signs of agi... - 12/29/2012 10:28:06 AM
  • Good reminder article but as a person who has many family members affected with various cancers at this point--young and older-I think it would be more accurate to say Some diseases are a result of how we neglected....as a nurse even hypertenison has a genetic component that an individual can do all the right things and still have the'disease' - 12/29/2012 9:43:12 AM
  • LOUISE3518
    Great reminder of such easy ways to live life. REALLY LIVE IT. So much to enjoy and how easy it is to forget all the ways to reallyl live and enjoy. Thank you for this excellent article. It is a great reminder for me..... and getting started one step at a time. Walking is a great way... and I'm heading in that directrion. Again thank you - 12/29/2012 9:05:24 AM
  • I think the author's article is well meaning; however, she also forgot to omit that there is also genetics involved. Thus, I agree with the comment earlier stated by one of the readers, bithoo. Unfortunately, good health doesn't prevent cancer nor neurological diseases from occurring. This is inevitable, and it's written in our genetic code.

    However, I will say that for someone to have died of breast cancer at the age of 75 is pretty darn strong (physically and emotionally). Had she not lived a healthy lifestyle, she probably would have passed away sooner. So, controlling what we consume and how we live does make a difference.


    - 12/29/2012 4:16:02 AM
  • Sometimes I tread water for an hour and sometimes I swim crawl non stop for an hour... the endorphins and feel good is more so with the crawl although maybe 10 minutes more of treading water and the calories burned would be equal - 12/3/2012 6:53:11 PM