Our bodies are resilient, there is no doubt about that. Through our lives, we have had a variety of mental and physical experiences that have taken a toll on us. While most have had a minor effect on our bodies, there are some that certainly made us look a little older that we are; Let’s call them bad habits. The good news is that, our bodies are remarkable and with just a few healthy choices, we are able to look and feel younger again.
Let’s get going and explore the seven healthy habits that make you age faster and what you can do about them.
Of all the age- accelerating habits, smoking takes the pie. Tobacco itself has thousands of toxins which is responsible for suppressing our immune system, damaging our DNA and causing age-related physical symptoms like wrinkles and spots.
The great news is, it’s possible to cease smoking and reverse much of the damage done to the body.
- Being a couch potato
Multiple studies have already confirmed that living half your life on the couch is bad for health. Other studies show that sedentary habits are becoming a norm as more people ditch physical activities.
A 25-year research found that people who watch more than three hours of TV per day did worse on tests of executive function and processing speed. Executive functions of the brain “are skills every person uses to process and act on incoming information.” They include impulse control, flexible thinking, self-regulation, organization, task initiation and working memory.
The only way out of this is by becoming more physically and mentally active. According to the U.S department of Human Services, a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week will do the trick.
These are Some of the mental activities you could try out to increase your brain activity
Listening to classical music
Take an online course
Eat a new cuisine
Learn a new language
- Not meditating
This mystical mental activity was previously known with hermits and monks. With the advancement in the knowledge sphere, it’s now evident that meditation is by far the most beneficial thing to do for both the mind and body. Researchers have been astounded by the benefits of quieting and relaxing the body. A study done by Robert H. Schneider, a physician and scientist on one type of meditation, Transcendental Meditation found that people who meditate have higher concentrations of grey matter in multiple brain areas- including those for emotions, decision making, impulse control, hearing and speech.
Technically, not meditating will not make you age faster, but refraining from it denies your body the benefits of this amazing technique.
- Being a slouch
Our spine is naturally S-shaped to allow it to support and stabilize our bodies. Slouching over a desk or a chair doesn’t do our backs any justice. Overtime, it gradually causes muscle strain and tightening, misalignment of spinal discs which can result in lower back pain, neck pain and even hip pain.
The American Chiropractic Association recommends various things to improve your siting, lying and even standing posture.
Keep your feet on the floor or footrest
Avoid sitting in one positon for an extended period.
Relax your shoulders
Keep your knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart
Put most of your weight on the balls of your feet
Stand straight and tall with the shoulders pulled slightly back
Don’t sleep on your stomach
Use a firm, comfortable mattress
Support your body by sleeping with a pillow
- Blasting music
While advancement in age is the leading cause of hearing loss, researchers now say that listening to blasting music can overtime expedite hearing loss.
The National Institutes of Health states that loud noises, even in brief intervals have the potential of damaging your inner ear and causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Attending loud concerts, listening to music with ear buds at high volume, recreational shooting and hunting are some of the activities that could result to NIHL after all it may result from a onetime explosive noise or prolonged exposure to high volumes overtime.
To reduce your risk of NIHL
Listen to music at less than ¾ maximum volume.
Move away from loud noises when possible.
Wear quality earplugs or protective earmuffs when near loud noises
- Bad sleep habits
Multiple health disorders have been linked to not having an adequate sleep. Resting your body helps to keep diseases like diabetes, immune disorders and obesity at bay. One interesting fact you probably ignored is that depriving yourself of sleep can wrinkle your skin and make you look older.
A study done in 2013 with support from Estee Lauder beauty company found that “having poor quality or chronic inadequate sleep accelerates intrinsic aging”. This could include having a rapidly aging skin, reduced skin elasticity and irregular pigmentation. Furthermore, it results in poor moisture levels on the skin and decrease its barrier effectiveness. Therefore, the skin and entire body becomes susceptible to toxins and viruses.
Luckily, the National Sleep Foundation shares a few tips that will improve your sleeping habits
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
Having a relaxing bedtime ritual.
Avoid extended afternoon naps.
Exercise every day.
Keep your room at a cool temperature.
Use a comfortable mattress and pillows.