Experts agree that efforts to stay young begin in the mind. Not being stressed about each new gray hair or wrinkle goes a long way toward a youthful outlook. Be active. Enjoy each day and the new adventures that may come your way.
Stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. Surges of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol can cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. Job pressures, money problems, commuter traffic, and other daily life aggravations cause stress, which can, in turn, take a heavy toll on both physical and emotional health.
Take a Break
Once or twice a day for just 10 to 20 minutes, take a break. Go to a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed. Relax your muscles, roll your head, neck, and shoulders, and breathe deeply. If you haven’t tried meditation, consult a guide online or in a book to help you use meditative techniques to empty your mind of the thoughts that are causing stress. A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital showed meditation helped prevent age-related changes in the brain.
Here are ten natural ways you can erase the years as you reduce stress, boost brain power, and smooth your skin.
Eat More Fat
Eating the healthy kind of fat (Omega-3) – the one found in salmon, walnuts, and seeds -- helps stabilize mood, maintain bone strength, and reduce inflammation in the body. According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a leading anti-aging expert, “Omega-3s also boost the ability of the body’s enzymes to pull fat out of storage (from the hips, for example) and use it as energy. Omega-3s keep you healthy and your skin radiant.” If you aren’t getting enough Omega-3 fat from foods, try taking a high-quality supplement.
Regular exercise helps tone muscles, build healthier bones, and boost mood. It can also help you think more clearly and may even help you to lose some extra pounds. Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, says, “Walking just 10 minutes a day lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by 40 percent.
Physical conditioning reduces stress and anxiety, which wipe out your memory bank.” Try yoga, too, to relieve stress or as a form of gentle exercise. If you enjoy running or biking or swimming or dancing, do it! Doing what you have always enjoyed doing goes a long way to keep you feeling young!
Be in Love
Passion is a powerful drug. The central motivator of all human activity, passion is the ability to embrace life in all its variety. Rekindle the flames with your partner, find someone to love if you’re without a partner, or discover a new love in the form of a mental or physical pursuit. Join a club or group with common interests. Take a painting class or invite others to walk with you. You’ll feel energized and your self-esteem will get a boost.
Yoga is a mind-body exercise that can result in more energy, better posture, greater flexibility, improved mood, and less stress. There are gentle yoga classes designed for those who are no longer in their 20s or 30s or who have never tried this form of exercise before.
Through conscious yoga breathing, the connection between mind and body becomes clear. Deep oxygenating breathing helps eliminate toxins in the body, aids in preventing illness and makes the skin glow.
Superfruits like pomegranates, goji berries, and blueberries have rich sources of Vitamins C and E and antioxidants which help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce inflammation in joints, and may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is believed the goji berry stimulates the release of human growth hormone, a natural substance in the body that improves the ability to sleep, reduces fat, improves memory, boosts libido, enhances the immune system … and helps us look younger. Snack on dried goji berries or take a concentrated form of the juice as a supplement. A pomegranate-infused anti-aging serum with marine extracts and Vitamin C is said to plump wrinkles, block the sun, and give the skin youthful blush.
Play Brain Games
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that brain exercises can prevent cognitive decline. In just two weeks, the brain can be “re-wired” to improve memory. Strengthen the mind by doing brain games every day. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, online games, like www.lumosity.com and others use numbers, sequences, and word-play to condition the left and right spheres of the brain.
Schedule Some Playtime
One of the best ways to stay young is to spend time with those who are. Take the grandchildren to the park. Join the little ones as they color or play with blocks. Introduce a child to a new activity, a favorite card game, or puzzle. When the generations spend time together, both enjoy the benefits and the bond you form.
Spend Time Outdoors
Fresh air and sunshine revitalize the mind and body. Sunlight encourages the body to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that is a natural mood enhancer. Don’t forget the sunscreen but take every opportunity to spend some time with nature. Work in the garden or read a book in the park. Sit outside and people watch. Chat with a neighbor over the “back fence.”
Don’t forget about your own needs. No matter what your age, be sure to take a day to celebrate yourself with a special treat. Get a massage. Buy a new outfit. Bring home a bouquet of flowers. Whatever brings a smile to your face will raise your spirit and renew that inner spark of youth!
In addition to housing, healthcare, and programs for seniors, SALMON Health and Retirement communities offer support groups and resources for caregivers and family members. To learn more about the options available to you and your loved ones, contact us today by calling 800-446-8060 for more information.