They say that when men age they become distinguished. A little gray here, a wrinkle there, defines a man in the best way. If we are talking about looks, that might be a possibility. But how about the way you feel? Not so much. What if you’re a woman? Are we considered a fine wine when we age? Perhaps that would be the optimistic way to look at it. You have also heard that old saying “Your only as old as you feel” which hopefully rings true in most of us. However, if there were simple changes that you could make in your every day life to slow down the aging process, would you change them?
You’d be surprised at how many “what we consider harmless” tasks or rituals we do that speed up the wrinkle process, damage our skin and age our insides without even knowing it. Here is a list of 10 activities and habits of which you had probably never thought of that could possibly induce the aging process.
1. Drinking through a Straw – Did you know that if you drink through a straw it can do just as much damage to your mouth as sucking on a cigarette? Constant pursing of the lips will bring on the wrinkles faster. Of course they say that about smiling as well. I don’t suggest you give up laughing for any age reduction therapy, but perhaps omitting the straws out of your favorite drinks could be step in the right direction.
2. Eye Liner and Contacts – Yes, even the cosmetics that some of us use every day and the products that help us see can have damaging attributes. Constant tugging on the lids to make the liner go on straight or the dragging down of the lower lid to fit in your contact can eventually stretch the skin. So in my opinion about that old urban myth where your mom says if you keep making that face, it’s going to stay like that; might not be a myth after all.
3. Excessive Exercising – According to an article I read on About.com and Wikipedia, too much exercise can have harmful effects on the body like creating an ideal environment for a stroke, circulation issues, muscle and tissue damage, and even osteoporosis. Not getting enough rest before exercise could be a factor. Listen to your body and don’t over exert.
4. Stress – We all have some stress in our lives one time or another but a constant stress factor could weigh heavily in the aging process according to WebMD. I would suggest finding creative outlets to relieve some over active stress factors in your life like sitting in a quiet place, listening to some mellow music; take a walk or anything that brings you back to a healthy level. These are a few of the things that have worked for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
5. Moving too Little – As the old saying goes “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” rings very true when it comes to aging. Some of the activities you did, then stopped, then tried to do again weren’t as easy as you remember them to be. Keeping active with your body will help you retain some of that youthful vigor for a longer period of time. For example: I used to be a pretty good gymnast in my younger days; doing flips, cartwheels and handstands. It came so easy for me. Then, I stopped for a few years. Still thinking I was just as strong and limber as I was a few years ago I attempted to do a handstand. As soon as my feet left the ground, my head hit it. It seems that all the muscles that I had used previously in my antics had disappeared with lack of use. It certainly happened quicker than I would have imagined. On that note, I suggest keep doing the things that you love if you want to keep doing them.
6. Alcohol – Drinking too much or not enough – This suggestion has a damned if you do, damned if you don’t outcome. Where a few drinks certainly can bring down your stress levels and studies have shown that a glass of wine or two can reduce the risk of a heart attack for people in their middle ages, help to increase the HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce the LDH (bad cholesterol), and it’s rich in antioxidants. Too much can create possible health problems like liver disease, kidney failure, and a lot of other health problems. I guess the key word would be “moderation”.
7. Sun – For all you sun gods and goddesses out there including me, please, please wear your sun block and protective clothing. Though most of us think that a lovely bronze glow to our skin may make us look healthy it can also make us look aged as we grow older. Not to mention putting yourself at risk for a skin cancer. I’m not saying, stay out of the sun completely; just make sure that you take pre-cautions before you venture out.
8. Not Wearing Sunglasses – This also goes along with the sun exposure. If you want to keep those crows feet around your eyes hidden for just a little bit longer, wear your sunglasses. According to an article on Buzzle, excessive squinting can cause wrinkles. Besides I don’t believe having your eyes exposed to the sun can be all that good for them either.
9. Eating Excessive Amounts of Sweets – Yes it’s true. For all you sweet tooth’s out there, eating a lot of sweets can be damaging. MSNBC had an article that explained that eating unhealthy sugar can dull your skin and cause wrinkles. It is a process known as glycation which creates harmful molecules that attach themselves to proteins like collagen and elastin. You know that good stuff that keeps the elasticity and firmness in your skin. The more sugar you eat the more molecules are created. I suggest instead of going for the glazed donut, pick up an apple instead.
10. Not Having Enough Sex – Believe it or not, an active sex life is very healthy. Research shows that people with active sex lives have a stronger immune system. They also experience less pain and have a lower cancer risk. Having a better mood doesn’t hurt either. It has also been said that being active in sex can also make you look younger – up to 12 years. Maybe it’s time to spice things up and shop for some lingerie.
Whether or not you plan on growing old gracefully or doing everything in your power to reverse or slow down the process we still are not going to get out of this life alive. The most important thing is to enjoy your life to the fullest and live each day as if it were your last. Aging isn’t the worst thing that can happen to us, it’s how you feel that counts.