I’ve always been one to celebrate birthdays in a big way, and this year was no exception. I mean, having a birthday is way better than the alternative, right? I turned 50 last week, the BIG 5-0. My husband and friends threw me a fab dance party (see photo at right.) So I wasn’t dreading turning 50 at all. But it has been a bit hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m now a half-century old… especially when I still feel like I’m 28.
The thing that has surprised me the most about turning 50 is the number of comments from friends and strangers alike, who can’t believe I’m really 50. Several people have asked what’s my secret for “Staying Young As You Age”?
I mostly chalk it up to pure luck — that I was born with good genes. The oily skin that was a curse as a teenager has helped my wrinkles to stay at bay longer. But there are a few lifestyle habits that I’m sure have helped along the way. And I’m happy to share some of those with you here:
8 Tips for Staying Young As You Age
These are tips that have worked well for me — that I think keep me looking, feeling, and acting younger than I really am.
- I’ve eaten a vegetarian/vegan diet for the past 25 years. Plant-based diets are high in antioxidants which help slow aging.
- I strive to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night. REM sleep is critical to anti-aging, as that’s when the body repairs and rejuvenates itself.
- I cut out sugar. Most days I eat none, but definitely not more than 24 grams/day. Since I’ve been off of sugar (about 9 months) I’ve lost 15 lbs. Read labels — sugar lurks everywhere, or better yet, don’t eat processed foods. Besides adding extra pounds and being toxic to your liver, sugar intake has also been directly linked to causing more wrinkles in the skin. For tips on cutting out sugar, sign up for my e-news (at right.)
- I drink lots of water, at least 64oz day. The human body is 50-60% water, your brain is 73% water and your lungs are 83% water. Dehydration can cause symptoms ranging from clumsiness (tripping/falling) and headaches, to dry skin that is more prone to wrinkling because cells can’t regenerate as well. Your brain needs to stay hydrated to function properly.
- I meditate every day. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress. This is important because stress is one of the biggest factors in premature aging. If you are new to meditating or would like to learn how, check out Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s meditation website for some great info.
- I exercise and stay active. I practice yoga several times a week; lift weights a couple of times a week, and do Zumba when ever I can fit it in. I love to dance, and Zumba is a fantastic way for me to get a workout with out feeling like I’m working out at all. I use a FitBit to track my steps, and strive to hit 10,000 steps a day, though that doesn’t always happen. I also live on a sailboat, which in itself requires a lot of stepping up and down, on and off the boat. Exercise has been proven to increase the length of telomeres, protective ends of your chromosomes, which help protect against aging.
- I have a positive outlook on life, and find humor in the most random things. I view my glass as half-full (or more), and I laugh at myself, or to myself a lot. Many studies have linked positive outlook and humor to a healthier, longer life.
- I have friends of all ages. I learned this one from my Grandma Wini, who had friends ranging in age from 20’s to 90’s. Hanging out with younger people really does help keep you acting and feeling younger. Plus it helps keep you hip to the latest pop-culture, instead of feeling like the world is leaving you in the dust.
While I think I’m mostly just lucky to look and feel younger than I am, I’m sure my lifestyle habits also contribute…maybe more than I realize. Here’s to staying young as you age!