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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.
You Are What You Eat, So Feed Your Face
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.
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:
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.
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.