Aging is a natural process that each person experiences. You may notice your hair turning gray or white or your skin beginning to sag and wrinkle. You cannot prevent aging, but you might choose to slow or reverse signs of it. Anti-aging strategies include drinking plenty of water each day, moisturizing your skin, and wearing sunscreen.
It’s essential to focus on keeping yourself healthy as you age with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Read on to learn about 15 of the best anti-aging strategies to incorporate into your daily routine and stay healthy as you age.
Make sure you apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily to prevent dark spots and wrinkles. You can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by wearing sunscreen while outdoors. Sun exposure can increase your skin cancer risk.
Aging is often visible on your skin. Signs of aging include dark spots, fine lines, thin skin, and wrinkles. You can reverse or slow aging by taking care of your skin. Try exfoliating your skin, for example, with beads or chemical peels. This process helps slough off dead skin cells, revealing a smoother complexion underneath.
Too much exfoliation, however, can aggravate your skin. Consult a dermatologist about what exfoliation method is best for your skin type. They can recommend treatments for more dramatic results than you would get from home remedies, such as an exfoliating peel with glycolic or trichloracetic acid.
Some evidence suggests a topical vitamin C serum can offer several health benefits, such as preventing sun damage. A study published in 2017 found that using a topical vitamin C serum daily for three weeks can improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles on the face and neck.
It’s also important to moisturize your skin regularly. Apply a gentle lotion within a few minutes of getting out of the shower or bath to lock in moisture.
Retinoid, which is a derivative of vitamin A, accelerates cell renewal. This powerful skincare ingredient boosts collagen, improves skin tone and texture, and reduces wrinkles.
Retinoids can dry out your skin or cause acne when you start using them. Start slowly, using a low-strength retinoid every other day. Gradually work your up into using the product every day or trying a higher strength.
Hands typically do not receive the same care as the rest of the body. Signs of aging in your hands can include brittle nails, changes in skin texture, dark spots, and wrinkles.
There are plenty of ways to protect your hands against aging, such as:
- Chemical peels
- Laser therapy
- Skin creams and lotions
Smoking increases your heart disease and lung cancer risk, in addition to skin problems. The movement of your face when smoking may cause wrinkles. Smoking also has a vasoconstricting effect, meaning it tightens your blood vessels.
Smoking, as a result, can age your skin faster than usual. This habit takes a significant toll on your appearance, contributing to:
- Increased risk of psoriasis, which causes itchy, thick patches of red skin and silvery scales
- Premature aging
- Stained teeth
A balanced diet helps improve your brain function, maintain your weight, and reduce your risk of several health problems. Make sure that you eat plenty of:
- Healthy fats
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radical damage. These harmful substances might contribute to premature aging and the onset of illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Some of the most common antioxidants include beta-carotene and vitamin C. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits and vegetables.
A balanced diet also helps keep your heart healthy as you age. Healthy fats, for example, help control your blood pressure, decrease your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat).
Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt provide a dose of probiotics, which are organisms that aid digestion. These foods are sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Products made with fermented extracts can also make a difference on your skin. A study published in 2022 found that fermented pomegranate helped improve the brightness, elasticity, and moisture of skin after eight weeks.
High-sodium foods make your body retain water, leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Those salty foods can trigger a similar response in your face, including puffy eyes.
You can reduce your sodium intake by cooking with salt-free flavor boosters, such as garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Not only will you feel less bloated, but a low-sodium diet can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Are you drinking enough water each day? Remember to carry a water bottle with you while running errands and pour a glass of water to enjoy with every meal. Experts advise drinking 91–125 fluid ounces (fl oz) of water per day. You will need more water than normal if you live in a humid, hot environment, are physically active, or have a bout of illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting.
Alcohol dehydrates your body since it increases urination. Dehydrated skin often appears dry, sallow, and dull.
Cutting back on alcohol can also improve overall health. Excess alcohol intake can lead to long-term health concerns, including a weak immune system, cancer, high blood pressure, mental health problems, and more.
Make sure you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per day for a good night’s rest. A lack of quality sleep can also increase your risk of a host of health problems, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Avoid caffeine and exercise in the late afternoon or early evening if you have trouble sleeping. Try removing electronic devices from your bedroom, and make sure your space is quiet, dark, and relaxing.
Regular physical activity has a positive effect on your brain health. Exercise helps improve your thinking, learning, and judgment skills as you age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, such as biking, jogging, running, or walking.
The CDC also advises two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week. This type of exercise, which includes doing bodyweight exercises and lifting weights, strengthens your bones, joints, and muscles so you can do your daily activities.
Research has shown chronic stress speeds up aging. Stress is also a risk factor for autoimmune disorders, cancer, heart disease, and neurological diseases.
Here are some ways to relieve stress:
- Adopt a pet.
- Get plenty of rest each night.
- Go outdoors.
- Meditate or pray.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Stay physically active.
- Try tai chi or yoga.
You might look down at your smartphone constantly throughout the day. Craning your neck downward and other repetitive motions cause fine lines and wrinkles. Holding your smartphone at eye level can improve your posture, which might reduce your risk of pain and injuries.
Stained, yellowed teeth can increase physical attributes of aging. Remove stains with whitening toothpaste or strips to feel more confident about your smile.
You can also prevent discoloration by:
- Avoiding coffee, tea, and red wine
- Brushing your teeth twice daily
- Having regular dental cleanings
- Not smoking
Your body changes as you get older, and the process of aging is normal. It’s natural for your hair to turn gray and your skin to sag and wrinkle. You cannot prevent aging, but there are different ways to slow down the process and keep yourself healthy. Get enough sleep, protect your skin with sunscreen, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and manage your stress.