Gracefully Aging is not only about beauty and aesthetics such as applying sunscreen and moisturizing. It is also how well we maintain our bodies internally and mentally so much so that it will illuminate on the outside and on our appearances.
However, this is not something that we can just achieve overnight. The Fit Loco is here to offer some important tips on how you can make graceful aging to become a lifestyle and the daily practices to get the optimum results.
Importance of a healthy lifestyle and the impact on body while aging.
More and more people are living full and productive lives well into their 80s and 90s. There is a life hack to that and we would like to share how!
By starting to live a healthy and well fulfilled lifestyle earlier in life, you have better chances of staying healthy as you get older. Staying physically active, eating well, socialising and improving your health can help you age gracefully both internally and externally with each passing year!
These expert-approved tips are so simple to incorporate into your daily lifestyle and will leave you looking like an ageless beauty & feel young always!
1) Keep your body active
Regular physical activity has lots of benefits. It can help you sleep better, stimulate your appetite and may reduce your risk of heart disease, dementia and falls. It also helps improve and maintain your fitness, strength and balance.
According to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, human levels of serotonin — the brain neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, sleep, and blood pressure — naturally decrease with age, often resulting in depression, anxiety and hardening of the arteries. Fortunately, exercise is an excellent way to give serotonin levels a boost, as well as combat the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Make it a habit to do some physical activity to keep your arteries healthy and lift feelings of sadness, self-doubt, and fatigue.
It is important to remember that everyone’s fitness levels and physical abilities are different. If you have not been active for a while or if you have health problems or have been unwell, you may find you are not as fit as you used to be. So start slowly and build up gradually. For beginners, we recommend long walks for a start! Take a long stroll of about 30 minutes per day and you will notice a difference.
This means increasing your heart rate to a level where you can talk but not sing. You don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once, it can be done as three lots of ten minutes each day if you prefer. Each week, try to do a range of activities to improve. Here are some examples:
For fitness – water exercises, swimming, dancing, fast walking and cycling keep your heart and lungs fit and healthy.
For strength – lifting and carrying weights, climbing stairs, doing squats and raising your legs to the side all help maintain your muscle tone and bone density.
For balance – reaching to the front and to the side, balancing on one foot or your toes with a chair nearby for support, or tai chi all help you stay stable.
Doing a little extra physical activity per day is better than doing none.
2) Live well to age well.
Genes inherited from your parents influence the way your body ages, although some other factors can impact the aging process. Most importantly it is to be happy and live well; Stress, environment, nutrition, lifestyle and immunity play an additional role in gracefully aging. To prolong your youth, we advice that you constantly make an effort to maintain a target blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and of course do not drink excess alcholic beverages or smoke.
3) Setting the right mindset.
Setting the right mindset is something that we need to incorporate daily. Start this young and it will become a natural habit as you age; the earlier you start to retune your mind and daily habits, the sooner you see the positive impacts on your body. With the right mindset, we can achieve consistency and progressive aging, rather than allowing our physical bodies to deteriorate with age! The Fit Loco has written a previous article to show you useful tips.
Read up more on our article on ‘Setting the right mindset‘.
4) Train your Flexibility.
Simple Yoga Poses
Flexibility is important as it decreases the risk of injuries such as fractures and muscle strains. As you age, your bones get more brittle, and we lose muscle. With daily practice of some stretching exercises or simple yoga poses, it can help to fight against these depreciations of the body. Not only does your flexibility affect your workouts due to better overall muscular performance, it also improves your posture which reduces hunching over; a good upright body posture helps you keep up a more youthful appearance.
Follow the above recommended Yoga poses & light stretches to increase your flexibility gradually!
5) Exercise the not just the Body but also the Mind.
Despite popular belief, mental decline isn’t an inevitable part of getting older. Studies show that regularly engaging in mentally stimulating activities, like meditation, can slow — and even reverse — age-related mental declines.
Exercising the body is important and keeping fit with physical activities may be a life hack to look young, and feel young. But we often neglect ‘exercising the mind’; which is also a crucial part in stimulating hormones that can benefit our bodies in the long run.
“Blogging is a great way to use your mind,” says Ronni Bennett, retired radio producer and creator of TimeGoesBy.net. “It combines both passive and active thinking.” Other ways of keeping your mind active include solving mind puzzles.
What you’ll need: Sudoku Puzzle Book ($7 for 500+ puzzles, amazon.com)
6) Soak up some sunshine.
Vitamin D is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, regulate cell growth, promote calcium absorption, and protect against certain types of cancer. You can get the recommended 400-800 IU of vitamin D a day from eggs, fatty fish and fortified milk. But did you also know that getting enough vitamin D may be as simple as taking a walk in the sun? According to the this study, 20 minutes in the sun is all you need to meet your daily recommended requirements of vitamin D. We can’t think of a better reason to step out for some fresh air during the workday.
7) Maintain a good attitude.
“Aging is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” To age healthily, it is all about cultivating a positive outlook on life. Studies have shown that your attitude, resilience, and ability to cope with stress may be better predictors of healthy aging than physical disease or disability. So how do you attain and maintain a good attitude? It’s all about outlook and mental attitude; a habit that you can practice daily until it becomes natural. Begin by accepting that nothing in life is permanent, and try to look for the silver lining in every situation. A great attitude can help you enjoy getting older, instead of dreading or simply tolerating it.
8) Get your fix of folate.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in your body. It is an especially important dietary intake for pregnant women as it supports healthy cell division and promotes proper fetal growth and development to reduce the risk of birth defects. David Mischoulon, M.D., Ph.D., assistant psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, conducted research that revealed an association between inadequate levels of folic acid and an increased risk of dementia and depression.
To ensure you get enough folate in your diet, load up on foods such as leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, dried peas, and beans. According to the National Institute of Health, some subtle signs of folate deficiency include digestive disorders, headaches, irritability, and forgetfulness.
Vitamin B9 is found naturally in many foods, as well as in the form of folic acid in fortified foods. It’s recommended that healthy adults get at least 400 mcg of folate per day to prevent a deficiency. Here are some foods high in Folate:
3. Leafy Greens (such as spinach, kale, and arugula)
6. Citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes)
7. Brussels Sprouts
9. Nuts & Seeds
10. Beef Liver
11. Other fruits such as Papaya & Banana
13. Fortified Grains (such as bread and pasta)
9) Take up a leisure sports like golf.
According to a study, researchers collected information from 300,000 golfers and found that their life expectancy is five years longer than the rest of the population. “A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometers,” says Anders Ahlbom, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects.” Not a fan of golfing? Find other ways to stay active in the fresh air and sunshine with a companion, like group biking or light walking.
10) Facial Exercises
There are numerous physical benefits to ‘face yoga‘. Proper coordination of the facial neuromuscular system (face muslces) helps with reducing wrinkles as you age and it also helps with giving a ‘natural lift’ and conquer some sagging. In addition, it can also get rid of headaches or any neuro-related negative effects, such as getting better sleep, feeling more relaxed, etc. In a study published last year found that facial exercises can even improve your mental health. Seniors in an assisted living facility attended 30-minute facial exercise programs twice a week over the course of 12 weeks. The conclusions suggested that these exercises improved their mental health, and that this type of therapy could be a useful alternative to physical exercise for people with low motor function.
Here are some facial exercises you can practice at home for anti-aging and long lasting youth:
11) Eating healthy food
It is important to eat a balanced diet for health and wellbeing. Good nutrition and regular meals combined with physical activity can improve your strength and not only help to improve your energy levels and help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also help with gracefully aging!
Eating healthy can be easy, affordable and delicious. It’s all about making smart choices to build an overall healthy dietary pattern. Read more on our previous article of ‘Budget-friendly Meals Preps‘ to learn more!
Foods that are anti-aging:
- Raspberries to Help Mind Health.
This fruit gets its red color from antioxidants, which may help slow down the aging process. “Short-term experimental studies have shown that berries improve cognition — perhaps because they’re high in flavonoids, especially the kind called anthocyanidins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions,” explains Maggie Moon, M.S., RDN, author of The MIND Diet.
- Sip Green Tea for Healthy Skin
“Tea has been touted for its anti-aging capabilities for centuries,” says Kyle. “Rich in antioxidants, it has the ability to help the skin repair itself from the common threats of everyday life, like sun damage, pollution, and poor nutrition or hydration status.” Green tea has an especially high antioxidant makeup, so go ahead and brew a cup.
- Nuts for a Longer Life
Regularly eating a mix of nuts (such as almonds, pistachios and peanuts) may help you live longer. People who regularly eat them have a lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease, found a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Keep your own DIY mix stocked for healthy snacking.
- Cook Up Cauliflower to Boost Brain Health
With cauliflower rice and pizza in vogue, it’s a good thing the cruciferous veggie may help boost mind health. In studies, subjects who ate the most cruciferous vegetables performed better at cognitive tests; their brains were almost two years cognitively younger.
Other eating tips to remember:
- Drink six to eight cups of fluid – preferably water – every day in both hot and cold weather. Tea, coffee, mineral water and soda water are also ok, but water is best. Eat three meals (and snacks) from the five main food groups each day. The five main food groups are: vegetables, fruit, lean meats and fish, dairy, grains and cereals.
- Avoid foods that have a lot of saturated fat (like biscuits, pastries, fast foods), salty foods and drinks, and foods high in sugar.
- You can drink up to two standard drinks of alcohol each day but aim to have one alcohol-free day every week.
- Always prepare and store food safely.
- Eat protein (meat and fish) and dairy (yoghurt) instead of carbohydrates (bread and pasta) if you are having trouble eating.
- Consider how your food is presented, how it tastes and what you like. Great smells encourage an appetite, and food is more appealing if it looks good!
Getting the right nutrition is the true ‘fountain of youth’!
12) Testosterone: Important note for Men especially
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced primarily in the testicles for men and the ovaries and adrenal glands for women. This hormone is essential to the development of male growth and masculine characteristics.
For women, testosterone comes in much smaller amounts. As we age, Testosterones levels drop and it can affect numerous health factors.
Testosterone production increases about 30 times more during adolescence and early adulthood. After early adulthood, it’s natural for levels to drop slightly each year. Your body may see a one percent decline after you’re 30 years old.
How Testosterone benefits your body:
- Healthy heart and blood
A healthy heart pumps blood to the rest of the body, providing muscles and organs with the oxygen needed for peak performance. Testosterone helps red blood cell production through the bone marrow. Low testosterone levels are linked to a variety of cardiovascular risks.
- Less fat, more muscle
Testosterone is responsible for increased muscle mass. Leaner body mass helps control weight and increases energy. For men with low testosterone, studies show Source that treatment can decrease fat mass and increase muscle size and strength. Some men reported a change in lean body mass but no increase in strength. It’s likely you’ll see the most benefits when you combine testosterone therapy with strength training and exercise.
- Stronger bones
Testosterone plays a huge role in bone mineral density. Bone density decreases as men age and testosterone levels drop. This raises the risk of weak bones and osteoporosis. Strong bones help support your muscles and internal organs, which can boost athletic performance.
Bone density increases with testosterone treatment as long as the dose is high enough. Clinical trialsTrusted Source on the effect of testosterone on bone density found increases in spinal and hip bone density. Another studyTrusted Source of females transitioning into males found that testosterone increased bone mineral density. But it’s unknown if testosterone can help with reducing fracture risk.
- Better verbal memory, spatial abilities, or mathematical reasoning
Research shows that men with higher ratios of total testosterone have a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also evidence for a strong correlation between testosterone and thinking abilities such as verbal memory and faster processing speed. Testosterone treatment for men 34 to 70 years old has shown an improvement in spatial memory.
- Better libido
Testosterone levels naturally rise in response to sexual arousal and activity. Men with higher levels of testosterone usually have greater sexual activity. Older men need more testosterone for libido and erectile function. But it’s important to note that erectile dysfunction is often due to other conditions or medications rather than low testosterone levels.
- Improved mood
Lower testosterone levels are associated with poorer quality of life. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone levels include depression, fatigue, and irritability. But some research showsTrusted Source that this may only be for men with hypogonadism. Men whose bodies follow the normal decrease of testosterone over time didn’t show an increase for depression.
The effects of testosterone replacement therapy on mood can vary. Men with hypogonadism reportedTrusted Source improved mood and well-being, and reduced fatigue and irritability. Research suggests that this treatment may also be an effective anti-depressant treatment.
Tuna is rich in vitamin D, which has been linked to a longer life and testosterone production. It’s also a heart-healthy, protein-rich food that’s low in calories.
Whether you choose canned or fresh, eating this fish can be a natural way of boosting testosterone. A serving of tuna fulfills your daily vitamin D needs.
- Low-fat milk with vitamin D
Milk is a great source of protein and calcium. Children and women are encouraged to drink milk for better bone health, but milk can also keep men’s bones strong too. The vitamin D content may also keep testosterone levels in check.
- Egg yolks
Egg yolks are another rich source of vitamin D. While cholesterol has a bad reputation, egg yolk contains more nutrients than egg whites. The cholesterol of egg yolks may even help low T. As long as you don’t have any preexisting cholesterol issues, you can safely eat one egg per day.
- Fortified cereals
Eggs aren’t the only breakfast food that can help low T. If you have to watch your blood cholesterol, this is especially good news.Certain cereal brands are fortified with vitamin D, not to mention other heart-healthy nutrients. Consider incorporating fortified cereals into your breakfast routine to jump-start your day and your testosterone levels.
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