Seventy percent of aging is voluntary,” says Chris Crowley, co-author of Younger Next Year “Some things you’re stuck with—your basic maximum heart rate goes down a little each year, your skin and hair gets drier, your libido goes down—but 70 percent of aging you can manage by how you live your life.” Many factors can influence how well you age.
Things like how much you exercise, what you eat, how you stimulate your brain, and how involved you are with other people, are the fundamental signals that run every cell in your body and brain. Many doctors and clinics are now able to test your body’s true age biologically, which may be vastly different than the number of years you’ve been alive.
Here are 10 things you can do to slow the aging process:
1. Eat Whole Foods – How much of what you eat each day comes from a box? Start by paying attention to what you eat and avoid boxed, packaged, and convenience foods in favor of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
2. Get Moving – As people age, a deterioration of white and gray matter in certain areas of the brain can cause cognitive decline. Published research shows that regular moderate exercise that makes a person breathless increases the speed and sharpness of thought, the actual volume of brain tissue, and the way in which the brain functions. So, join a gym and get moving!
3. Do Some Heavy Lifting – Strength training not only keeps you from hunching over as you get older, but it also helps prevent osteoporosis.
4. Touch and Be Touched – Research shows that babies who aren’t touched don’t thrive. Adults suffer from the same effect. No significant other? Book a massage.
5. Say Yes More Often – Longevity experts agree that maintaining social networks is critical as we age. The more activities, groups, and classes you’re involved with, the better (and longer) your life!
6. Help Others – Volunteering for causes that are important to you—or even just allowing a friend to bend your ear—can give you a mental boost and promote feelings of gratitude.
7. Live in the Moment – Experts claim that focusing on the here and now, and taking life one day at a time, helps you stay present, grounded, and calm.
8. Take a Mental Break – Spending just a few moments imagining a peaceful scene floods your body with feel-good chemicals that reduce stress, boost immunity, and promote healing.
9. Breathe – Monitoring and focusing on the breath is a healing mechanism that has been used for centuries. Take a deep breath in, sip in as much air as you can and slowly sigh it out.
10. Think Positive – Our thoughts determine our reality. Begin and end every day by thinking about what you are grateful for.
We want to hear from you: what do you do stay young?