“I’m not adding this year to my age because I didn’t use it.”

Getting older doesn’t mean that you have to decline in your physical health and live a life filled with despair. There are things that you can do to age gracefully and it should begin when you are young!

As I was visiting with an old friend she told me, “I’m not adding this year to my age because I didn’t use it.” People are so afraid of growing older because they think of old age as a time of poor health, wrinkles, unhappiness and the inability to do the things that they once enjoyed. But the truth is that we can experience even more joy, happiness and successes with age and our experiences! So what is the secret?

Secret to Aging Gracefully

1. Decrease stress in your life. Stress can have so many negative effects on your life. Increased stress can cause health issues including high blood pressure and heart attacks. Recognize what is creating stress in your life and remove yourself from as much of it as you can.

2. Get on a good sleep schedule. Studies show that most people need 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. When you sleep, your body decreases cortisol levels (stress hormones). This is why when you wake up after a good nights sleep you often feel more refreshed. Sleep is also the time when your skin cells regenerate.

3. Eat healthy. Your body needs a nutritionally balanced diet in order to operate at its top level. With proper diet you are less likely to encounter health issues, such as stroke, diabetes and heart attack. It not only will keep you mentally sharp, but also give you more energy so you can enjoy doing the things you enjoy.

4. Learn something new every day. This is something that everyone should do no matter what your age is. Never stop stimulating your mind. There are so many new skills and hobbies that you can learn to keep your mind active.

5. Keep hydrated. Your body needs water to function properly. It helps to flush your body of toxins. With water, you will find that you can think better, sleep better and it even helps you to lose weight. You are less likely to have dry, flaky skin and suffer from the fine lines of aging if you keep yourself hydrated. If you have trouble drinking enough water, try some warm or cold tea, watermelon or cantaloupe to help quench your thirst.

6. Keep active. By keeping active, you will actually slow the aging process (at the cellular level)! By moving you are nourishing your joints and are less likely to develop the common aches and pains of aging. So, keep doing the things that you enjoy doing. Go for a hike, keep working out at the gym, take your dog on daily walks, keep playing that sport you enjoy. Start a new active hobby, like dance or bowling. Just keep active!

7. Protect your skin. This should start from day one. Wear sunscreen and protect your skin with a hat or protective clothing. Sun can damage your skin and cause premature aging. It’s good to get outdoors and get some Vitamin D, but make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen. Make sure that the sunscreen that you use protects you against both UVA and UVB sun rays and has at least a SPF 30-50.

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