Turn back your body clock and banish the signs of ageing
While old age is inevitable, the effect it has on your body is not written in stone. To ward off the common signs of ageing and stay looking and feeling younger for longer, check out these ways to rewind your body age.
Symptom of ageing: Wrinkles and sagging skin
Rewind it: As with most symptoms of ageing, stopping smoking, eating more antioxidant-rich foods and increasing your intake of Omega-fatty acids (which are beneficial for the heart, brain, skin, joints and eyesight) are beneficial steps to stay looking young. To avoid premature ageing, it is also essential to take care of your skin by wearing an SPF of at least factor 15 every day, as sun damage can be a leading cause of wrinkles. Research suggest that chronic stress can also accelerate cellular ageing, leading to wrinkles, so try experimenting with techniques to manage your stress, such as meditation and yoga.
Symptom of ageing: Poor posture
Rewind it: As we age, a combination of bone loss and reduction in muscle mass and strength can lead to postural problems and a rounded spine, which can cause pain, problems with balance and restricted movement. To prevent this, work on improving your posture now through exercise and by paying attention to the general position of your body; trying to avoid slouching as much as possible. Improving your core stability and the flexibility of your spine through exercises such as yoga and Pilates can also improve posture. Research results published in the American Journal of Public Health found that regularly participating in yoga can help to correct spine curvature in the elderly.
Symptom of ageing: Declining brain function and poor memory
Rewind it: To help keep your brain healthy, try to incorporate more healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – found in oily fish, avocados, olive oil and nuts – into your diet, as these have been shown to slow down brain ageing. Studies also suggest that frequent participation in mentally stimulating activities such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have found that browsing the internet helps to boost brain health and memory in those middle-aged and older.
Symptom of ageing: Weight gain
Rewind it: Many people find themselves suffering from the dreaded “middle-age spread” as they get older, as muscle mass decreases, levels of physical activity lessen and metabolic rates subsequently drop. Fortunately, research has found that taking part in regular exercise can help to alleviate this sign of ageing. As well as staying active, you should also make sure that you get enough sleep to offset weight gain. Researchers from the US Department of Medicine in Chicago found that sleep-deprivation can trigger changes in the body similar to ageing; affecting the metabolism and exacerbating age-related conditions including obesity.
Symptom of ageing: Cardiovascular diseases
Rewind it: The risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease or a stroke increases as you get older; however that doesn’t mean that it is an inevitable part of old age. To reverse your risk of heart disease, try to keep your blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels down. You can do this by exercising regularly; eating a heart-healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables and unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats and salt; maintaining a healthy weight; and not smoking. Experts suggest that for smokers the risk of having a heart attack decreases within just 24 hours of quitting.
Symptom of ageing: Poor eyesight
Rewind it: Deteriorating eyesight is a common symptom of ageing. However, there are steps you can take to protect your vision. As well as having regular eye tests, making changes to your diet can help. Try to increase your intake of lutein (which is great for preventing wrinkles as well as maintaining good eye health) and oily fish. Research has found that those who eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables (a good source of lutein) and oily fish are less likely to suffer from age-related macular degeneration. It is also important to avoid smoking, as this has been linked to an increased risk of many common eye diseases, and wear sunglasses with UV protection when out in the sun.
Symptom of ageing: Painful joints and arthritis
Rewind it: You can help to alleviate and prevent joint pain and arthritis by taking simple daily measures to protect your joints such as holding mugs and books in the palm of your hand, rather than in your fingers, and maintaining a good posture. Wearing high heels, carrying a heavy handbag and being overweight can also put pressure on your joints. Exercise such as swimming and walking can help to look after your joints; however you should take not to over-exercise as this can cause stiffness and increase risk of arthritis. If you do suffer from joint pain, studies suggest that regularly eating oily fish can help to reduce the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
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