16 Habits that make you age faster
Looking older, tired, and haggard is never a look any woman wants. We all dread aging faster. But the good news is that you can slow aging by practicing simple good habits and avoiding the 16 habits that age you faster.
I am sure you have noticed how some people just don’t age.
You notice how they have this smooth radiant skin, a glow about them, and a body that looks great for years and years.
Are they just lucky? No, that is not always the case.
Their secret to agelessness is much more due to their lifestyle.
Their daily habits. And yes, a bit of help from good genes sprinkled in. Just like we are what we eat, our habits make us.
Now generally there are certain things we all know are healthy but how do they relate to aging?
In this article, we will delve deep into habits that age you faster, why they age you ( I like the science and evidence of things- I am just a nerd like that), and how to practice better habits and slow down aging for a long, long time.
I know you want to look good forever, or for a long time, especially because going to high school reunions can be so awful if you are looking all old before your time.
We all want to age gracefully. But then again we are creatures of habit.
We are human. However, some habits are good and others not so much.
The problem is bad habits can easily age you faster and make you look older than your years among many other problems that come from keeping bad habits.
And remember aging is not just what you see, not just the skin. It is your mind and cognitive ability, it is your joints, and much more.
Plus who really wants to age faster especially when aging comes with numerous health problems as well?
There is a real valid reason why anti-aging creams lotions and antidotes, are a billion-dollar industry.
No one wants to age or look aged. We all want to keep the youthful glow of youth or at least a semblance of it.
And really no one wants to lose their memory.
The quest for the fountain of youth has been going on for ages.
It’s the very rare person who doesn’t feel a twinge of loss and regret when they see that first grey hair or that first wrinkle.
And so, if you are concerned about aging fast, I have good news … and also some bad news. The bad news is we can’t completely stop aging. We may be close perhaps. So I wait impatiently for science to finally and firmly say we can at last escape the scourge of aging.
The trouble is, looking aged on the outside starts from the inside. And so things and not-so-good things are happening on the inside so long before we even know it.
So take care of that first.
Then slather that antiaging cream you bought during that early morning infomercial.
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An article in Aging and Disease states that “the process of aging is the effects of physiological functions and can be defined as the accumulation of damage to molecules, cells, and tissues over a lifetime.”
And this damage according to the same article, over time “affects an organism’s ability to maintain homeostasis (balance) in stressful situations and leads to greater risk to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and premature mortality.”
The article defines age as the “decay of an organism’s structure and function.”
That totally brings the point home for me.
So basically we are not talking about just how one looks on the outside only, because aging is much more than that.
This means that when you have habits that age you fast a lot more, not just the skin on your face which is what we tend to think about when we think of age and losing the glow of youth.
The telltale signs of aging encompass the whole person, looks, ability, and mental function.
Aging begins at the cellular level with DNA changes that accumulate over time changing cell function and thus changing how skin may look.
With age also comes susceptibility to diseases such as cardiac, and immunologic diseases including cancer.
Aging changes brain health, appearance, and ability to function the way you did in youth.
Genetics play a part in aging so you have a slight advantage if you have good genes.
But for the most part, environmental insults are the major problem when it comes to how well we age. And that means that while you may not be able to avoid all environmental assaults on aging, you can minimize them.
And that’s where our habits come in because while we cannot avoid all the toxins in our environments, we can adopt better habits that help us stay healthier and therefore more youthful.
On the other hand, there are some extrinsic factors that cause you to age faster related to the things you choose to do or not. These are lifestyle factors that include our habits.
And, that we do have control over.
Now you may be wondering at this point, what is the good news?
The good news is we can delay the aging process, or rather we can slow the aging.
We can delay the wrinkles, the sagging of skin, even slow cognitive decline, and many signs of aging by avoiding a few bad habits that age you faster.
So my question is, are you indulging in any little daily habits that could be aging you faster?
Little habits can have an immense impact on how gracefully or how fast you age.
And don’t we all want to look in the mirror and smile at the beautiful face looking back at us?
And getting out of the chair without creaking bones would be nice too.
We want to have less senior moments too, and remember where we put the car keys.
We want to avoid the aches and pains commonly associated with aging.
And we can.
It is possible to slow aging.
Many older people are breaking the stereotypes of age and shocking us all. That’s because they have taken measures to practice habits and have avoided habits that age them.
That 90-year-old dancing ballet has been doing all the required physical work to keep fit over the years.
She has most likely eaten healthy for most of her life. So in spite of the wrinkles, she is young in the way her body moves, her flexibility, and her mind.
I can’t promise though that you won’t have grey hair or completely stop any wrinkles from appearing.
But you totally can keep the clock from advancing too fast.
So are you wondering what you can do to age less quickly?
You can stop the beginning or progression of chronic debilitation and diseases that are for the most part due to lifestyle choices and good healthy habits.
With the right lifestyle and habits, you can live to be 120 and still be energetic and have a vibrant fulfilling life.
The author of I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years Ilchi Lee believes it’s possible.
If you still have a well-functioning body, and mind, why not? You can read more to find out why and how Ilchi Lee plans on accomplishing that goal.
So what are these habits that are robbing us of our youthful glow and vibrant life?
Let’s look and see.
Habits that age you faster
1. Excessive Sugar Intake.
Overconsumption of sugar is a bad habit that ages you faster.
The problem is that sugar is hiding in so many products in the modern-day developed world especially. People and Americans in particular, are consuming up to 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.
There are also increased amounts of sugar even in sources such as wheat which have been changed genetically and now contain even more sugar.
And if you are drinking sodas every day, you are not only dealing with phosphorous which causes more problems including the leaching of some nutrients, but you are also consuming excess sugar.
Yes, there are diet sodas, but sugar replacement may not be healthy either.
And according to this study, a daily soda habit can age you faster as it accelerates cell aging.
The problem is that when there is too much sugar in the blood, the excess sugar and protein join together to form advanced glycation end products or AGES, so appropriately named.
These glycation end products break down collagen.
And of course, we need collagen and elastin to keep skin, young. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of supple dewy radiant skin.
When glycation takes place collagen fibers stiffen, get brittle, and break, and the skin, therefore, becomes loose, flabby, and sags causing lines and wrinkles.
AGEs are aging you.
The effects of AGEs make the skin more vulnerable to sun damage leading to age spots as well.
And of course, excess sugar also leads to obesity and its associated problems with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. And that is not all. Excess sugar causes systemic inflammation as well, leading to faster systemic aging.
Sugar, excess sugar has also been incriminated in Alzheimer’s disease. So the sugar habit can lead to faster aging in all these ways and likely more.
Therefore if you want to look great, and show fewer signs of aging, cut the sugar. Choose the foods you eat wisely. Read the food labels. This is one simple habit to change to age gracefully
Related: Reasons Why You Are Not Losing weight.
2. Not Sleeping Enough
The habit of staying up late or sleeping less than you should is aging you faster.
Rethink the habit of staying up to catch up on a movie or the chores, you know after the kids go to sleep.
Lack of adequate sleep stresses the body and mind in many ways all leading to signs and symptoms of aging.
When sleep is not enough too much cortisol is produced. Cortisol is supposed to keep up with your circadian rhythm decreasing at night and higher in the morning.
So when we disturb this natural cycle, we produce too much cortisol which starts to cause signs of aging such as thin skin, increased fat storage around the middle and the upper back, thin hair, and even a bit of facial hair in some cases.
These effects of cortisol age one faster.
You know you should be sleeping about 8-9 hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Not sleeping enough puts you at risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity, diabetes, as well as heart disease.
The issues associated with metabolic syndrome stress the body and make one sick. Chronic sickness is also stressful.
People do not look youthful when sick.
It is during sleep that the body does the work of regenerating new cells, the work of cleaning, and consolidating short-term memories.
So really, beauty sleep is for real.
And it is during sleep, that the body releases growth hormone which restores collagen and elastin, the essentials of keeping skin supple and youthful.
According to this study, chronic inadequate and poor-quality sleep ages the skin. The study found that those who chronically had poor sleep habits had skin that recovered less quickly from exogenous stressors such as exposure to UV light.
So that means if you don’t sleep enough chronically, and you sunbathe a bit too long your skin will get damaged faster.
Not sleeping enough leads to many chronic diseases, including mental health diseases such as depression and anxiety.
And chronic insomnia is also associated with increased brain aging.
Sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalances including hunger and satiation hormones, leptin and ghrelin that lead to overeating, as well as insulin resistance and eventual metabolic syndrome.
The end result is chronic diseases that lead to an increased rate of aging.
Lack of sleep impairs immune health which also leads to an increase in aging. When one is increasingly sick, all signs of aging are more evident.
Not sleeping enough is also associated with cancer, and leads to collagen and hyaluronic acid breakdown. leaving skin weak fragile and loose.
Signs of aging when you don’t sleep enough include increased fine lines, circles under the eyes, puffy eyes, dry rough skin, and uneven skin tone.
Also during sleep, when the body does the essential maintenance and cleanup. Lack of sleep leads to a fluid imbalance and shows itself as puffy eyes and dry dull skin, which are all very aging.
And while we are on the topic of sleep, the pillow you use can also age you. A rough pillow will leave skin wrinkled by morning. But the good thing is that this is easy to correct. You simply get a better pillow. Try a silk pillow for smooth skin.
Also, if you are prone to acne, that can leave your skin looking rough. There are steps you can take to prevent breakouts. Using the right cleansers is great, but when you sleep, you may perspire and bacteria love heat and moisture.
To prevent these situations, try an antibacterial pillow mist.
It is therefore important to make sure you prioritize sleep so you can age gracefully.
Also read this article to see steps you can take to fall asleep faster, and easier and stay asleep through the night.
3. Eating Processed foods Ages You Fast
Stay away from processed food if you want to slow the aging process. Eating processed food is another bad habit that ages you faster. The taste is great and unfortunately processed foods are addictive and so you feel compelled to eat them all the time.
Many processed foods such as cakes, white flour products, such as pastries are instantly turned into sugar, which turns into fats, and an excess amount of these sugars leads to chronic diseases that age a person.
Other processed foods like bacon, hot dogs, and sausages are full of preservatives such as sulfites that cause inflammation.
This leads to many illnesses including obesity and metabolic syndrome.
A lot of processed foods and fast foods contain trans fats which increase the rate at which oxidation happens to the skin causing damage, this study found.
The polyunsaturated fats found in many processed foods cause systemic inflammation leading to inflammatory diseases associated with oxidative stress.
As mentioned above, the sugar in simple carbs leads to the linking up of proteins and excess sugar in glycation, damaging collagen studies show,
Basically eating a Mediterranean type of diet is best as it causes less skin aging as was seen in this study The study found that eating a Mediterranean diet caused less skin aging to sun-exposed skin.
Also per an article in Harvard Health, those who ate a Mediterranean-type diet, which is more plant-based and includes consumption of healthy fats, tended to live past the age of seventy and are less likely to suffer age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
This is because this diet protects from inflammation and oxidative stress that can cause systemic and nervous system diseases the two main ways chronic health problems manifest.
The Mediterranean diet also improves insulin sensitivity prevents metabolic syndrome, and prevents associated diseases that further weaken and age a person.
So to slow aging, aim to include Mediterranean-type foods in your diet.
4. Drinking energy drinks
Energy drinks may give you that pep you need to power through your workday, with focus and energy but it’s not without a price. Sometimes using energy drinks can lead to serious health problems that can also age you faster.
Some energy drinks have lots of sugar, and we have already seen that sugar can damage your cells, aging them plus contributing to the development of metabolic syndrome.
Energy drinks are acidic, and the main ingredient is caffeine which leads to dehydration. The main ingredients in these drinks are caffeine in large amounts.
This has been associated with heart problems including causing anxiety and heart palpitations and visits to the ER have also increased studies have found.
And if you are experiencing these problems you are not your best self.
In some cases, sudden cardiac death has occurred as well as MIs. Researchers found that energy drinks increased platelet aggregation and also increased blood pressure
5. Eating Too Much Red Meat
Is your love of that steak inching you closer to old age? It depends though on just how much and how often you indulge in that grilled steak.
Red meat, especially when grilled and charred has been associated with higher incidences of inflammatory diseases. And because of that eating grilled and charred red meat all the time is a habit that ages you faster.
Red meat especially fatty meat generates free radicals caused by AGEs and some studies show a possible increase of cancers such as breast and colorectal due to excessive meat consumption.
While eating less red meat, it is important to reduce consumption of processed meat such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats due to high amounts of preservatives and sodium, which cause inflammation and damage the skin.
If you eat red grilled meat especially, make a point of cutting off the charred parts.
Include vibrant vegetables as well, as some studies have shown that reduce the effects of glycation. So have a heaping of colorful salad to go with your steak for antioxidants, to combat the AGEs.
6. Eating Gluten May be Aging You
Gluten is pro-inflammation and is especially bad if you have celiac disease. This inflammation leads to damage to the stomach and intestinal lining causing a leaky gut and many health problems. And the health problems associated with a leaky gut are many.
Gluten, a type of protein in some grains like wheat causes damage that can lead to an immune response, leading to changes in the nervous system, and the heart.
This inflammation can show up on the skin as Psoriases, or eczema causing the skin to be red rough, and inflamed. These symptoms make the skin look rough and unhealthy.
However, apart from those who have celiac disease, many people have gluten sensitivity, and some are not aware. And the shocking thing is that this affects six to seven times more people ( source).
In fact, this number has risen in recent years due to changes in diet, and the use of antibiotics causing changes in the microbiome in the gut.
The result of eating food that you be sensitive to like gluten can make you age faster due to the effects of inflammation.
so if you are having gut issues, have your dr. check if you have gluten sensitivity, and stay away from foods that cause you Gi upset. You will feel better, and most likely look better too.
7. Not Exercising Regularly
So apparently, Per this article, if you are older, in the 35-40 crowd, your body is no longer your friend, and it stops trying to keep you young on autopilot and tells you the free ride is over! You gotta put in the work. and so if you don’t exercise, it’s downhill from there.
And then when you hit 40- 50 ” the body begins to default to decay.” This should not have been astonishing but it actually prompted something in me. It woke me up. Time to do something. Got to move more, and do more to keep a semblance of my former self.
The body was made to move. And, let’s face it, and I am talking to myself as well when we don’t move, don’t exercise, things start to be floppy and sag, and these sagging and flopping bits age us contributes to looking aged.
So dedicate some time, every day, go on a brisk walk, get on that bike, and just move.
Exercise is also good for brain health. So boost that memory by taking a 30-minute brisk walk daily. You may find you don’t forget little things as much.
After all, those little moments of forgetfulness are called senior moments for a reason.
Get more oxygen flowing to your brain cells by pumping that heart rate through exercise.
In this way, you’ll burn excess fat too, and stave off all the ills of obesity already discussed here.
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8. Not drinking enough water
So here comes the good old H20 again. Water matters in every part of your health including healthy graceful aging. Simply put water is life! You want to have a healthy glow on your face, then nourish and hydrate your cells.
When you don’t drink enough water, the blood becomes too thick your blood, then what courses through the vessels is this vicious mess full of toxins, that are not easily excreted.
The result is you have too much insulin, blood sugar, lipids, and bacteria and toxins that are not moved out.
Keep in mind that the circulatory system also includes your lymphatic system which is dedicated to taking care of toxins and bacteria out of the body. Your heart does not beat as well either if you are dehydrated.
And having excess toxic sludge causes and feeds inflammation and clogs blood vessels.
And this eventually shows on the surface after years of damage on the inside.
People who drink little to no water are going about daily dehydrated, and that has repercussions on health
Have you ever wondered why many patients when they come to the hospital are hooked on an IV pump and hydrated intravenously?
According to Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra in this article, who in turn referenced Dr.Batman, when the body is dehydrated regularly, it starts to cry out in pain, and hence you start experiencing aches and pains such as arthritis pain.
The dr found that many of the chronic illnesses experienced by many are also due to dehydration.
It is interesting to read that Dr. Batman actually treated many people with peptic ulcers with water.
If you would love to see more of how water can help you ageless, read his book ” Your Body’s Many Cries for Water.”
- Water can influence your cognition, alertness, concentration, and short-term memory.
- Water is needed for kidneys to do the work of filtering your blood- excrete toxins
- Water can help you lose weight. Drinking water before meals helps you eat less many researchers have found.
- Keep temperatures normal
- and lubricate joints
How much water to drink is somewhat flexible because it can depend on the weather and the level of activity.
According to Harvard Health, a healthy person should drink 2-3 cups of water per hour.
More if sweating. However, consult your doctor to determine how much you should drink especially if you have underlying health conditions. Drinking water varies from person to person and conditions, and situations.
But keep in mind that even mild dehydration can affect mood, vigor, and concentration. And when these are diminished you may start to look, feel and act old or older.
Lethargy can leave one feeling and acting old. Also, constantly dehydrated skin will look dry, and dull, get wrinkled and lined sooner,
How to drink water
- Drink enough water- the amount varies, as mentioned above- some health sources say about 2 liters or 8 oz glasses times 8
- Eat fruits and veggies with good water content, such as cucumbers, and juicy fruits.
- avoid sodas and sweetened drinks- they dehydrate you.
- Avoid plastic water bottles- they are made from chemicals and toxins can leak into the water
9. Sitting Too Much
There are many of us guilty of this one. We are at our desk jobs too long, on the couch watching TV or playing video games and really we repeat this day in and day out.
Some of us are sitting too long too much. And it is true, sitting can age you and even kill you, research has found.
We all know that sitting too much can lead to obesity and heart disease, and even diabetes. But studies have found that sitting at least 10 hours a day can age you up to 8 years.
They found that the DNA of those who sit at least 10 hours a day, had shorter telomeres at the end of DNA showing faster aging.
It is likely also that if one tends to sit too long, especially at home they are in front of a TV. Then 3 hours of TV watching every day can lead to faster aging.
A study that followed subjects for 25 years found that watching too much TV translated into less physical activity, and the result was a cognitive decline in middle age.
Other studies have found also that lack of exercise does lead to cognitive deficits associated with aging.
Researchers found that those who did not exercise showed less brain plasticity and significant cognitive decline in midlife.
This decline can be avoided by being really intentional with exercise and making it a priority. Exercise will slow that aging clock on all aging fronts, including cognitive and physical aging.
According to Rusty Moore of Visual Impact to really beat the annoyances of aging we need to move more. A lot more. Like walking 45-60 minutes daily.
He states clearly that as we get older, having a healthy, toned, physique and a sharp mind requires a lot of work, and that forming a daily habit of impactful exercise is key.
And you will feel more vibrant, and alive, You will have a sharper mind and look better, regardless of your chronological age.
10. Neglecting Oral Hygiene.
Go on and schedule that visit to the dentist.
When teeth are yellow, broken or missing, unfortunately, that does age one.
You need to brush twice at least and floss and make sure to see that dentist every six weeks. I know it’s a tall order for busy people.
Also, people who don’t practice good oral hygiene can experience gingivitis, which can lead to loose teeth, exposure to receding gum lines, and even heart disease.
All of these will cause aging and of course, bad teeth generally take away from a youthful look.
A beautiful pearly white smile makes one look young, so take good care of your teeth and oral health.
11. Smoking Ages You
Okay, let’s begin with the basics here. To smoke, you must secure that puffer with your lips and so you pursue them, and eventually, this leads to wrinkles, around your mouth. And wrinkles say aged.
Smoking ages all of you- the whole system, from the lungs to the circulatory system to the skin. All your organs require a great supply of oxygen and as you know smoking affects your lung health.
And that means that your organs and tissues, the very skin cells you need for glowing skin need oxygen, and without it, your skin looks dull, dry, and aged.
Then there are the excess toxins in the cigarettes which add to the insult leading to systemic inflammation.
Additionally, smoking constricts your blood vessels and that interferes with good blood flow to all your organ. So then the tissues and organs don’t get enough nutrients and oxygen, and that causes you to age faster.
You see, the tiny capillaries that need to take blood to your face so you have that youthful glow, well,they get clogged with fat, they get dry and constricted and stop working well. The result? The face gets this dull mask-like look that makes one look older than they are.
Smoking is just bad and should be avoided because it leads to wrinkles, sagging, and age spots adding years to your face that you haven’t lived.
This study found that smoking ages you faster- an average of 13 years actually, and that upon stopping smoking, the skin was rejuvenated based on skin smoothness, pigmentation, elasticity, brightness, lines, and texture as well as vascularization.
Now that there is some good news, when you stop smoking skin improves that much.
Do you want your face to glow with youth? Allow blood to reach all your organs and take that energizing oxygen to every organ, and you will have a healthy radiant glowing skin
And just think for a second here. If the skin looks aged, dull, and wrinkly from the smoke, how does the inside look, you know like your lungs? How do you think they look when you smoke?
Dont want to sound harsh here but that is reality. Smoking is one habit that ages you faster.
12. Do Not eat Nutrition Dense Foods
You want to eat foods that are nutrition dense.
That means that the food you eat is full of nutrients with great vitamins and minerals, and activates and boosts metabolism, brings antioxidants to beat oxidative stress, to energize you so you are able to be more active, and feel and look younger.
Do keep in mind that age is relative. However, you may not want to look 60 when you are 50.
Really, youth begets youth. If you have more energy, then you are likely to want to exercise more, further boosting energy, and blood flow and improving muscle mass, all of which will lead to an agile toned, and youthful body.
You should aim to eat vegetables at least 4 times a day. You need those antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight off the free radicals that age the body including the skin. They keep you looking and feeling young.
The only issue is that antioxidants don’t stay long in the body and need to be replenished often.
So include a heaving of vibrant-colored veggies in every meal. Watch that salad dressing.
Also, make sure you get enough protein every day. Proteins are the building blocks of collagen and elastin.
They are also needed in many body processes such as cell-to-cell transport, and even the production of neurotransmitters. All of these are necessary for keeping one healthy in relation to age.
Bad habits that age you faster
13. Drinking Alcoholic
You likely already know that drinking alcohol in excess is bad for you. I mean if you have ever had a hangover, you know for sure that good things can’t be happening on the inside. And you are right.
Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, your detoxing center for the body.
And unfortunately drinking alcohol in excess ages you in so many ways. It ages you from the inside out and that means that you start to age from the cells, leading to a cascade of diseases that ages you and eventually leads to an early death.
It sounds scary and it is.
Your liver is very important in the healthy functioning of your whole body, performing many crucial functions such as the following:
- Stores some minerals and vitamins
- Fat and carbohydrate metabolism
- Removal of toxins
- protein metabolism and synthesis
- Hormonal synthesis
- Supports a healthy immune system
- supports blood clotting
But when alcohol is consumed the liver focuses first on metabolizing it over everything else.
Eventually, if alcoholism is a problem, these functions are hindered and so sickness follows. And so that is where aging starts.
And when the liver stops functioning properly, toxins build up affecting your whole body including the skin. So the skin color changes becoming yellow, sallow, dry, and wrinkled.
Alcohol is also a toxin to the cells that detoxify the body and what could be worse? It is also inflammatory and dehydrating to the skin leading to drying of the skin and aging. It also makes the skin appear rough and lifeless.
With chronic drinking of alcohol, the skin starts to be dull, and puffy and has many broken capillaries leading to permanent redness of the face and the telltale red nose that is unattractive.
Alcohol also disrupts a lot of the body’s homeostasis, and depletes vitamins B, A, C, D, and even some minerals, like zinc and magnesium further developing a cascade of health issues that age you faster.
With all these disruptions in the proper working of the liver and the body as a whole, skin, and pigmentation may become uneven with chronic alcohol consumption. The skin loses that nice dewy elasticity, and sags, making one look older than their age.
One reason you feel so awful after excess drinking is that you don’t get restful sleep on alcohol too especially if you drink before bed.
Alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle so you don’t get to the most restorative sleep cycle. And when you don’t sleep enough, your skin becomes puffy, and dark circles around the eyes develop. You also feel tired, achy, and lethargic.
So you feel and look old.
Also, alcohol has a moderate amount of sugar, which causes excess weight gain and insulin resistance. And weight gain also may lead to fat on the butt, the tummy, and the face making one look older than they are.
Alcohol also interferes with proper blood flow because alcohol is a blood vessel dilator. By dilating the vessels, one ends up having a puffy red face and a red nose due to dilated broken capillaries, sometimes the tip of the nose gets blue due to insufficient blood flow.
And apparently, your teeth suffer as well from acidic alcoholic drinks such as white wine.
Alcohol contains lots of sugar which adds to the insult on teeth causing tooth decay ( source). aging you faster.
Everyday habits that age you faster
14. Living with Chronic Stress
Do you try to juggle everything? So as a mom, you are the CEO of the household. And as you already know that is an immense responsibility. Sometimes it is completely overwhelming and stressful.
And if you work outside the home or you are a work-at-home mom, things can get hectic and stress can skyrocket.
If this doesn’t change, and if you don’t find a way to diffuse the stress or let go or something, you can easily get physically and mentally ill. And above all that chronic stress ages you fast.
Chronic stress can age you by several years. You see stress leads to changes in your DNA, among other things and if that is not scary, I don’t what is.
Research has shown that chronic stress actually leads to shorter telomeres, those caps at the end of your DNA that make your body age faster. Shorter telomeres mean aging faster. So yes, stress is aging you faster.
To fix chronic stress, try not to take on so much, ask for help, rest more, and make sure you sleep enough.
One of several things that happens when you’re stressed is that you stop practicing self-care.
You stop exercising because frankly, you have no time, and exercise may not be that high on your mile-long to-do list. I understand this quite well.
If your to-do list is a mile long, consider delegating and prioritizing, outsourcing help, or letting some things go.
Seriously, those dishes can wait a few hours while you take a walk outside.
So you say, you will exercise when you have more time, only not ever to have more time.
And then with no exercise and increased stress, you produce more stress hormones, which may give you anxiety, and you are in this unhealthy loop that makes taking care of yourself difficult.
In turn, this can lead to one looking older before their time. Yup! Chronic stress is a habit that ages you fast. Of course, you don’t mean for it to be a habit, and sometimes things just feel beyond our control.
But that is when we must recognize we need help and seek help including therapy as well as reaching out to our family and friends.
Stress is especially harder on the older brain, and in fact, research has shown that extra cortisol can damage the hippocampus. So there goes the memory. Now you have several senior moments in a day.
You feel and act old.
And what is even sadder is that years of stress can even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The key is to remember that self-care is important for your health.
Some things you can do to avert stress may include the following:
- Learn to say no in some situations.
- Don’t be the hero who volunteers for all the school activities.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Those can wait.
- Practice yoga and mindfulness.
- Dance alone or with the kids.
- Read books you love.
- Exercise. One sure-fire thing against stress and its aging effect is exercise research finds.
Practicing these simple things will help you feel more balanced. You’ll smile when you see yourself in the mirror. At least you can minimize the frown lines. You will sleep better too. That is all good for reducing the effects of aging on your body and brain.
15. Not Spending Time With Your Friends
There is a reason you feel so energized and even feel youthful whenever you meet your friends from college or high school.
Research has shown that spending time with your friends can increase longevity and that having meaningful friendships and relationships can protect against obesity, depression, and even heart disease.
And the opposite is also true. Isolation is a habit that causes loneliness but also ages you faster.
This study found that spending time with people who matter to you and having strong ties with friends and family can increase your chance of living longer by as much as 50%.
So go on and call your friends and family, video chat, or go to the movies. Spending time with friends is such a delightful way of keeping yourself young.
So don’t let the busyness of the world keep you isolated. Spending more time with good friends. This simple act will keep you youthful for longer.
16. Sunbathing or Tanning.
One bad habit that ages you fast is too much exposure to UV light as in sunbathing.
While a few minutes outside are great for vitamin D production, too much sun exposure will cause the skin to start making skin cancer instead. So rethink that suntan. The skin may get golden for now, but wrinkles may soon follow.
The effects of UV light are so strong that it is estimated that 90% of skin aging is due to sun exposure to UV light from the sun.
Staying away from the sun or wearing a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen can help.
And while wrinkles and aging are bad enough skin cancer is a worse outcome and that can happen from excess UV light exposure. And the UV rays can also damage your eyes to the extent of developing cataracts.
Loss of eyesight is unfortunate especially if it is something that could have been avoided by adopting healthier habits.
So wear a wide-brimmed hat, and good sunglasses to minimize skin and eyes exposure to UV light.
Also, don’t expose the skin for more than 15 minutes to UV light. That tan looks great but skin aging may follow down the line.
So there you have it.
These are just some of the habits that age you faster.
But they all can be avoided by forming better habits. Start practicing habits to protect your whole health, and you will be rewarded with a longer healthier life. And bonus! Glowing radiant skin and longevity.
You will slow the aging process of mind and body. And you will have the added benefit of looking and feeling great even in your older years.