Written by Dana Brown:
We’ll begin this year a tad different.
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Ways to Stay Young at Any Age
Forget searching for the fountain of youth or the latest anti-aging secret. There are things you can do now to feel younger, both mentally and physically, no matter what your age. A few minor changes to your daily habits and your environment can help you address some of the common culprits that can make you feel older than you actually are. Here are four natural, scientifically-backed ways to stay young for years to come.
Choose nourishing foods
Healthy eating habits are key to well-being and can also delay the effects of aging. Beyond improving your physical health, a varied diet filled with wholesome, nourishing foods can make you feel happier and more energetic. Rather than labeling foods ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ focus on eating as a way to practice self-care.
An important first step is to take a look in your pantry. By filling your shelves with wholesome staples – such as lentils, whole grains, quinoa, nuts, healthy cooking oils, and root vegetables – you have a base for many healthy recipes. Pick up a few additional ingredients like fresh veggies or lean meat. If your pantry is stocked with good quality ingredients, it’s much easier to create healthy, affordable meals. We all have unique preferences and needs, and no single diet is best for everyone, so consider intuitive eating as a way to decide what to eat and when.
Keep stress at bay
Research shows that emotional stress is a common cause of premature aging. Although no one can escape stress entirely, you can effectively manage and reduce feelings of stress with a number of easily accessible methods, such as meditation, deep breathing, laughing, getting plenty of sleep, and spending time outdoors.
If your home environment is creating tension, try making a few changes that may help transform it into a stress-relieving sanctuary. Open the windows to let in fresh air — even in winter, opening the windows for a few minutes can clear out stale air. Try revitalizing your space by decluttering, rearranging furniture and making your environment as pleasing as possible. If your family is arguing or under stress, making a few needed changes to your home can infuse some positivity and make it feel more relaxing.
Move your body
Regular exercise is a proven way to keep you young, but without enjoying it, many don’t stick to a fitness routine. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, get creative. Look for ways to move your body that you enjoy and make you feel good. If it’s a new activity, even better!
A blend of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is best, and this can be nearly anything – gardening, walking, yoga, DIY projects, snowshoeing in winter, or paddleboarding in summer. If you’re unsure about how to get started or freshen up a stale routine, reach out to your community to see if there are any movement classes (including virtual classes) that sound fun or interesting. You can also talk to a movement specialist or personal trainer (remotely if needed) to get ideas for new and interesting ways to get moving.
Keep your brain guessing
Another key to feeling young is novelty – trying new things that stimulate your brain. Routines are an important part of life, providing structure and comfort, but new experiences are vital for creating new connections and encouraging the release of feel-good endorphins.
You don’t have to travel to a foreign country or try an extreme sport to find novelty. Activities like reading, tackling ‘brainy’ puzzles, and hobbies such as painting, dancing, or playing a musical instrument will stimulate the brain to make new neural connections. Anything that is rewarding and interesting to you will do the trick, and even small changes to your routine can exercise your brain.
Making anti-aging changes to your lifestyle and environment doesn’t have to be a chore. By getting creative about the ways you eat, exercise, and enjoy life, you can encourage the healthy vitality that makes you feel young at any age. These positive adjustments help your brain and body function in more youthful and resilient ways – so that you are your own fountain of youth.