Health & Wellness Articles

10 Natural Ways to Defy Your Age

Skip the Gimmicks to Look and Feel Younger Than Ever

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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

  • I find this article highly offensive and insulting to those who have arthritis or other diseases. The article quite clearly implies -- in fact, near blatantly states -- that if you had made better lifestyle choices and had better habits, you would not have "x" disease. - 1/22/2015 12:12:26 PM
  • TIFFANYJEWELZ
    Dear Ellen or Helen Goldman. You give some VERY BAD ADVICE. On page 1 you act like if you don't eat healthy and exercise that you going to grow old fast. And that's just NOT TRUE. #1 component on how you age is your genetics.
    And arthritis, my dear, you are SO wrong about arthritis. I was in my prime @ 39 and was hit with an auto-immune form of inflammatory arthritis. It had NOTHING to with what I ate, I was exercising all the time and was the healthiest I'd ever been. Gout, of course, is another story, it IS related to food.
    My mother had dementia, it was not caused by what she ate, she ate well her entire life. Was always fit and stayed the same size her entire life. Nor was it "brain exercise" related. It was from lack of Oxygen during an atrial fib episode. But we didn't know that until autopsy (what kind of dementia) and no one ever does until autopsy.
    No Doctor knows what causes auto-immune diseases, dementia's, cancers. But the most recent studies on cancer show it's genetics and bad luck. And you can probably say it's the same for most other diseases too. Except those truly linked to smoking or obesity.
    But you shouldn't publish LIES to try and make your point(s). There's tons of stuff to write about this time of year - pick one. - 1/5/2015 1:00:37 AM
  • EMARIOS
    Good advice for health.Our skin and eyes should be protected from sun, as protection of eyes from sun is necessary,so we should wear sunglasses in the sun.I usually wear sunglasses when I out in sun,as I have made sunglasses collection from http://www.citysu
    nglass.com/,they provide good quality of sunglasses. - 11/14/2014 11:47:47 PM
  • Good advice.
    This article hit all the right notes.
    I must be doing the right thing for so far aging well.
    I don't ware lots of makeup. wash with ivory soap. Always put lotion on,
    Use sun screen.
    drink lots of water.
    No smoke, drink.
    Sleep and rest.
    It also helps to have some fantastic genes.
    My Mom is almost 90 and looks 20 years younger.
    Gram lived to 96, when she passed people said how sad she went so early. no one realized she was 96.
    The most important thing for me is to be healthy. I don't mind aging, just keep my mind and health.
    Spark on.
    Tisha
    - 11/4/2014 7:03:38 PM
  • Now this is a motivating article! I am aging gracefully so far, and I want to keep it that way into my old age. I'm doing many good things, but there is room for improvement. I have a nice, soft complexion, I don't use make up or cover it up and I want to keep it in good condition. When I lose my motivation to exercise and eat right, this will be it! I'll try harder at clean eating too. Sometimes convenience wins out though.

    Thank you! - 11/4/2014 7:12:58 AM
  • 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

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