When we think of ageing, often the first things that come to mind are wrinkles, grey hair and saggy skin. Unfortunately some of us age better than others, but is it down to genetics or to the lifestyle that we lead?
Ageing and our skin
How your skin and body ages will depend on a variety of factors; you may get all of the common signs of ageing, or just a few of them. Some people get away with a life full of bad habits and still manage to look and feel good, when the majority of us need to work that bit harder in an attempt to hold back the years.
While some physical signs of ageing are inevitable, it’s worth remembering that beauty isn’t about smooth, line-free skin. The people who manage to ‘grow old gracefully’ are the ones with a twinkle in their eye and are often the happiest and most comfortable in their own skin.
However, many of us better about ourselves when we know we’re doing everything we can to look and feel good – not to mention the benefits to our long-term health.
Factors that are likely to make you age faster
How fast you age is often determined by the choices you make in life. If you have a healthy lifestyle, there’s no reason why you can’t have a biological age of 50 well into your 70’s.
By eating a balanced and nutritious diet you will be more likely to retain a youthful glow. Ensure you eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre from whole grains and lots of colourful fruit and vegetables. Crash dieting is another way that you may end up looking and feeling older than your years – it can cause wrinkles, sagging and generally make you feel older by reducing your energy levels.
Too much alcohol
If you drink more than your recommended amount of alcohol per week it can cause a range of health complications, including cognitive decline. Alcohol can also affect your nutrition levels, especially Vitamin A levels, which are vital for the regeneration of new cells. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause premature wrinkles, loss of collagen, elasticity, redness, dehydration and puffiness.
Aside from it being one of the leading causes of heart and lung disease, smoking induces free radicals that will speed up the ageing process. The longer you smoke, the more it will age you. Smoking will also have a negative effect on the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, Vitamin D,Vitamin C, iron and Vitamin A.
We all need sunlight for healthy Vitamin D levels, but too much sun is extremely ageing to our skin. Over exposure to ultraviolet light floods the skin with free radicals and causes skin ageing, not to mention skin cancer. Unprotected skin can lead to mottled skin, freckles can turn into brown spots and your skin could end up looking ‘leathery’ and saggy.
Lack of sleep
Most of us are aware we look a bit ‘ropey’ if we’ve had a bad night’s sleep. People wrongly assume that the older you get, the less sleep you need, but experts recommend that you get at least seven to eight hours sleep a night. Studies have also found that sleep deprivation has a similar impact on the body to the ageing process and may even increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes.
High levels of stress can stimulate a range of conditions that are more likely to age you. This is because too much stress can cause our arteries and immune system to change, not to mention the added frown lines and tension in our face. Stress also takes its toll on B vitamins, which are needed to keep the nervous system healthy.
Lack of exercise
Exercise keeps you calm, energetic, young and healthy. Taking part in regular exercise is essential to reduce stress and help ward off heart disease, osteoporosis and a range of other conditions. Physical activity will also help your body release natural feel-good endorphins and adrenaline. There’s never a better time to change your habits and turn back the years by regular strength training. Don’t overdo it though – go for moderate exercise to stimulate the production of the body’s antioxidant enzymes, and in doing so, help to slow down the ageing process.
Note: Supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medications, please consult a doctor before use. Discontinue use and consult a doctor if adverse reactions occur.