Managing stress, eating healthy, and a positive mindset, all seem like an idyllic way to not age. However, good health takes focus. Making the correct lifestyle changes is the only way you can keep your body as young as possible for as long as possible. Your body reflects your habits.
There are a variety of different things beyond simply diet and exercise that you’ll need to start doing as early as possible to maximize your results.
Taking Care of Your Skin
Your skin is a barrier; it keeps your “bits” in and keeps the bad things out. Anytime that barrier is breached we put ourselves at risk. This risk can range from bacterial infection to the induction of free-radicals. Taking care of your skin is bolstering your first line of defense against the causes of aging in the outside world.
Your outside environment is full of things that are toxic and stressful, the very clothes we wear are often laced with dyes, carcinogens, and worse and our skin is the only thing preventing them getting in and causing chaos.
Taking care of your skin starts from the inside, it’s the first place you’ll really notice poor hydration. Aim for above the recommended 8 glasses a day intake of water, not fluids in general, but water. The reason for this is that coffee, tea, juice etc. all contain man-made chemicals, free radicals, and unnecessary calories. Water in its simplest form gives you none of these.
It’s been said time and time again but wear sunscreen. We often don’t realize just how much damage from the sun our skin puts up with, even on cloudy wintery days. Sunscreen gives an extra barrier of protection against harmful UV rays. UV rays can damage skin, eyes, and other cells simply by coming into direct contact.
The purpose of UV is to help our bodies produce vitamin D through our skin cells, the problem is we actually need very little of it for this to take place. Vitamin D has been linked to lower risks for certain cancers and other health issues like asthma.
High UV exposure obviously causes sunburn. As the UV rays damage the skin the body attempts to repair it, the process also causes photoaging. Constant, prolonged exposure to sunlight is the number 1 cause of aging skin! A good sunscreen is not expensive. Make sure it’s at least SPF 15. This will block 94% of UVB rays.
Photoaging is due to chronic exposure to UV rays and covers wrinkles and discoloration of the skin (tanning and freckles) as well as lesions and actinic keratoses. Continuous or long term exposure causes mutation in the outermost layer of skin cells, the lower levels can also be damaged which can lead to broken blood vessels as the skin forcibly tries to repair the damage.
As the blood vessels break the skin loses its ability to get nutrients and hydration effectively which will then cause poorer health in those cells. Since your skin is wholly visible you’ll see the effects of this damage before any internal issues.
UV also degrades collagen molecules which is responsible for the production of new cells. As we age our bodies lose the ability to produce collagen so why would you intentionally try and damage this process?
Exercises to Tighten Skin
We’ve all seen the weight loss success stories where they have fold after fold of loose skin hanging on their bodies. When you adopt a healthier lifestyle you’ll automatically start to lose weight. It’s inevitable. As you age you’ll also start to see a loosening of your skin as it loses its elasticity. The loss of elastin in the skin causes it to hang.
Stimulating your skin to produce more collagen and elastin is a good start for getting younger looking skin. Regular exfoliation removed dead cells and stimulates production. Dr. Frederic Brendt, a dermatologist, suggests that you could also improve your vitamin C levels.
The reason for this is that vitamin C (found in many of the same foods that contain antioxidants), also helps to maintain the structure of cells that regenerate your skin. Sunscreen and other good skin practices are a good start to promoting elastin production but once you start to lose them you’ll still need to work on keeping your skin looking good.
Be CAREFUL! You cannot over-exercise here. By stretching your skin too far or over manipulating it you will only increase more damage and produce more lines
Skin tightening exercises are another good way to work on looking better. Yoga is a well known practice for health benefits but did you know you can actually practice yoga for your face? Danielle Collins, yogi, produced a natural alternative to Botox by coming up with a 20 minute routine.
The exercises work by stimulating the dermis layer under the visible epidermis which improves circulation and allows more nutrients to reach the skin cells. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production to give you smoother and younger looking skin.
1. THE V
Press both middle fingers together at the bridge of the nose where the eye lids connect and place the index fingers at the other end of the eyebrows. Apply pressure in an upwards motion while looking towards the ceiling. Relax and repeat . Between each stretch squeeze the eyelids gently shut for 10 seconds.
2. SMOOTHER SMILE
Wrap your lips over your teeth while opening the mouth into an O shape. Smile gently while keeping the teeth covered. Relax and repeat 6 times. Cover the teeth again. Place your index finger onto the ball of your chin. Tilt your head back while pulling your skin up and down using the flat of your finger.
3. SMOOTH BROW
With both hands on the forehead place your fingers into a line above each eye that reaches from your hairline to your eyebrow. With medium pressure pull the fingers in an outward motion from the center. Think of this like ironing your forehead. Repeat 10 times.
4. FLIRTY EYE4. FLIRTY EYES
Point your index fingers and place one under each lower eyelid towards the nose. Concealing your teeth open your mouth somewhat. .Look up at the ceiling then pull down gently using your fingers while fluttering your eyelids. Continue for 30 seconds then relax.
5. THE GIRAFFE
Look straight ahead and place your fingertips in a necklace shape circling your neck where it reaches your décolletage (lower neckline). Lift your chin back while stroking the skin downwards away from your head. Use a gentle-medium pressure. Lower the head then repeat again 3 times.
Now place your fingers on your collarbone, push your chin out as far as you can. Tilt your head backwards until you can feel the skin stretching and then pull the skin gently downwards while tilting the head back. Hold for four breaths.