Most of us wouldn’t mind looking and feeling a bit younger than our chronological age. But many of us don’t realize there are science-backed ways to keep your body young, inside and out—and in some cases, even reverse the signs of aging—that you can start doing today, right where you are. These are five anti-aging secrets that experts use themselves. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Sleep is when the entire body cleans and recharges its systems, from the brain to the skin to immunity. Not getting enough can make you age faster. “Insufficient or poor sleep puts us at risk of premature aging, traffic accidents, and medical problems, ranging from depression to diabetes and heart disease,” said researchers at Columbia University. “Sleep is probably my No. 1 anti-aging tip,” nurse practitioner and skincare expert Nancy Pellegrino recently told Yahoo Life. How much is enough? Seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night, say those who should know, including the National Sleep Foundation.
Resistance training is key to preserving bone density and lean muscle mass, both of which decline with age. This can be done with free weights, machines or your own body weight. Case in point: Dr. Stuart McGill, professor emeritus in spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. He’s in his 60s, has a hip replacement, and studies the best ways to exercise to stave off the effects of aging. He shares that he doesn’t pump iron; he does strength-training exercises such as pushing, pulling, lunging, lifting, lowering and carrying. For pulling, he bought a TRX strap set. For pushing, he does standing press exercises.
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health—it helps bone absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough, you could be setting yourself up for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones lose density and become more prone to breakage. Plus: “Vitamin D — which acts as a hormone in your body—has a positive effect on the immune system and may even help offset some age-related immunity issues,” said Alan Mensch, MD, of Northwell Health’s Plainview and Syosset Hospitals in New York. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, says he takes a vitamin D supplement daily.
When consumed in excess, sugar binds to collagen and elastin, two proteins in our skin that keep it looking firm and young. This creates advanced glycation end products (or AGEs), which damage collagen and elastin and actually prevent the body from repairing them. “Doughnuts are not the key to the fountain of youth,” said Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “Skin is an organ. As such, we should eat for our skin, as we do for our heart and brain.” Your move: Reduce your consumption of added sugar. The most common sources: Sugar-sweetened drinks and processed foods. Focus your diet on fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.
Physical activity can make you look younger—and turn back the clock under the hood. “Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system,” says the American Academy of Dermatology. “This, in turn, may give the skin a more youthful appearance.”
A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can reverse the aging of cells and muscles in older people. “Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process,” says Sreekumaran Nair, MD, the study’s lead author. “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.
“We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.