An adage of the skincare line I represent is, “We’re all aging all the time, but how that looks is up to you.” This truism is borne out by our daily encounters with people who look much younger or older than they are chronologically. When talking with them about their lifestyles, in most cases, a pattern becomes clear. Those who seem vibrant and satisfied with their lives are active mentally, physically, and spiritually. They see life as a challenge and an adventure. They believe it is their responsibility to stay healthy; so, they are willing to take the time and effort to maintain strong vigorous bodies. Many of them also seek to improve their minds in a variety of ways. They read, take classes, participate in community life, and enjoy hobbies. The opposite way of life is noticeable among individuals who appear to be older than their calendar age. Many of them lead sedentary lives. Frequently they seem obsessed by their ailments and tend to be depressed. All too often, they fail to connect or reach out to others so that their worlds become very small.
What, one may ask, are the real differences in the life styles that can lead to such divergent outcomes in the individuals I have just described? There are a number of key decisions that are within the control of each person although some, unfortunately, are not. However, barring an unexpected accident or illness, we do have a great deal of control over the aging process.
Keeping your body fit by remaining active is important for healthy living.
Making wise decisions about what to put in your body is a real life/death choice. The wrong foods lead to obesity and a host of chronic ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, ulcers, and cancer. Foods high in calories, saturated fats, and sugar rob your body of the nutrients it so desperately needs while adding thousands of calories. Currently the diet believed to be ideal is the Mediterranean. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. Certain dairy products are also included. In my opinion, these foods are delicious and varied enough to never need to be deviated from. Always be cognizant that our bodies also require frequent hydration, more than most of us provide. All fruit and vegetable juices are important if they do not contain added sugar. However, the most important drink is simply water.
Keeping your body fit by remaining active is important for healthy living. Walking, swimming, gardening, lifting weights, and dancing can all be incorporated into a successful exercise program. If you are creative and varied in your choice of ways to exercise, you will have fun and probably stay more motivated to stay with them.
Our bodies require sleep to function at their best. While individuals seem to vary in the amount of sleep needed, the recommended amount is seven to eight hours a night. It is important to have a cool dark room with a firm, comfortable bed. Studies have shown that noise and light—such as a loud television—greatly interfere with sleep.
Another vital component to remaining strong and independent is staying connected to people.
Harmful habits like smoking, taking non-prescriptive drugs, and excessive use of alcohol age and weaken our bodies and keep us from functioning at our best. While recent studies have shown beneficial results from having a glass of wine with dinner, more is considered detrimental. Otherwise all of these products are known to cause premature aging, illness, and death.
Taking good care of your skin is an important factor in both appearance and in health. Protecting our skin from the sun is of utmost importance. Using sunscreens of at least a 30 SPF is a vital step in avoiding various skin disorders and cancers, including deadly melanomas.
Another vital component to remaining strong and independent is staying connected to people. I had a dear friend who continued to host lovely dinner parties in her home into her late eighties. The most interesting thing about these parties was that they included friends her age but also very young couples, generally professionals who were newcomers to Odessa. Planned or not, she created a strong support system which is so important for the crisis times of life. Those who have an active social life, who continue to enjoy interacting with friends, who participate in the extended life of their communities and their churches seem best able to prolong their health and vitality. They are certainly more pleasant for others to be around. So seek health and happiness by being determined to be a part of life for so long as you are able.
And always remember to smile. A smile is an instant facelift. As always, I enjoy hearing from you with questions or comments.