If there’s one thing in life we simply can’t avoid, it’s that no matter what, if you’re breathing, you’re aging. In fact, aging, or anti-ageing, is such a hot topic that health food stores, supplement shops, and even your neighborhood supermarket keep their shelves stocked full of anti-ageing creams, pills, or guides. Just like the diet industry, this one is booming; the topic hits home for nearly everyone.
The thing is, also similar to the diet industry, quick fixes, trends, and drastic promises more often than not just don’t work. Claims of taking years off your skin are rife, but let’s be honest, who’s actually used a product that does what it says it will?
Over the past few years, more people have become aware of and resilient to fad approaches and quick beauty fixes, which is a strong step in the right direction. People are beginning to understand, if they genuinely want to make a lasting change on their body, it has to come from within.
That statement holds true when it comes to anti-ageing as well. Surface level products just won’t do the trick, but if you can find the drive and motivation from within – the commitment to adopt a forward-moving mindset – there are approaches that truly will make you look, and better yet – feel younger.
What actually is aging and what causes it?
This might sound like a silly question; of course, aging means getting older. Beyond the simple definition, though, it’s important to understand aging as a process – what it means to your body, what it entails, and how it happens.
Irritation & Inflammation
When something harmful enters your body, your immune system fights back, plain and simple. When you get sick, your immune system quickly tries to fight off the virus causing your body harm – that’s where fevers come from. When you eat something your body doesn’t agree with, you feel cramps and bloating. Again, that’s inflammation doing its job.
Of course, after years spent defending itself from foreign invaders, your body starts to pay the price. You’ll eventually start to notice damage to skin, scars, and wrinkles; constantly warding off harmful intruders is a demanding job, and eventually, it’ll show.
We all know refined sugar can be damaging to your fitness and weight loss efforts, but did you know it can lead to signs of aging, too? An overload of sugar can add to the aging effect of your skin, causing wrinkles and damage.
Most of us have probably heard the term “free radicals” by now, but does anyone really know what they are?
Nutritional Biochemist, Dr. Libby Weaver, explains that, “free radicals are highly reactive molecules, and they destroy cells and tissues by causing them to age, form scar tissue, and die. Free radicals cause all living things to age and decay.”
Effective Ways of Anti-Ageing
How do we stop these pesky effects of ageing?
It’s not as simple as winding back the clock, but there are some real, genuine, anti-ageing tactics that will help you look and feel fantastic – both on the inside and out.
Maintain, or Better Yet, Increase Your Lean Muscle Mass
When your body fat levels are low and your lean muscle mass is high, wonderful things start to happen:
- Your insulin sensitivity increases, which means your body knows how to handle the sugar you eat (aka not just storing it as fat!). Think reduced inflammation.
- Your body stays adequately hydrated more easily, which in turn keeps your internal temperature at normal levels (Did I mention reduced inflammation?).
- Your metabolism increases, and you burn more calories – even at rest.
- Your bone density will increase, which means your body’s structural support system will actually be able to do its job, helping you to stand up properly, maintain good posture, reduce the risk of injuries, and sustain an overall higher standard of health and fitness.
- You start to look toned and defined.
As we age, our muscle mass naturally decreases, which means we actually burn less calories throughout our days – even when we’re simply sitting on couch! The absolute best way to slow down the ageing process is to pump some iron! But if you are not a fan of weight training, you can do resistance training by using your own body weight.
Not sure where to start?
Aim for a 35-40-minute full body program at least 4 times per week including 3 sets of each exercise for 10-12 repetitions! Make sure to incorporate both upper and lower body exercises or compound movements such as a squat to shoulder press. Squats and lunges are my favorites! I find that doing them is the quickest and most effective way to increase your muscle mass and tone your legs and butt.
In order to build lean muscle and definition and lose body fat all around, it’s important to include both upper and lower body exercises. If you really want to succeed it’s best to follow a plan that allows you to progress from week to week, so you never hit a plateau. That is exactly how I designed my The Lean Body Formula workout plan to take out all the guesswork and help you see real results, really quickly.
Boost your antioxidant intake
When was the last time you included antioxidants in your diet?
If it wasn’t in your most recent meal, you might want to rethink what foods go on your weekly grocery list.
Antioxidants are foods jam-packed with nutritional value that help fight against free radicals. They are vital for a healthy aging process. Think berries, nuts, wild caught fish, kale, lemons or pure cacao. All of these foods provide nutrients for your body that help repair your skin and other damage caused by aging.
The antioxidant capacity of foods is measured by ORAC, which is short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is the measure of the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances The higher, the better. Aim to include at least 3-4 of these foods on a daily basis.
To age gracefully and naturally (and not prematurely), you have to stay hydrated.
Not only does hydration help keep off excess fat, regulate your body temperature, help deliver nutrients to your cells and muscles, and flush out harmful toxins (should I keep going?!), it also acts to keep our skin fresh and less prone to wrinkling.
Imagine biting into a grape. Typically, an explosion of juice fills your mouth.
Now imagine biting into a raisin. It’s the same fruit, right? Why is it so much different than eating a grape? All the moisture has been sucked out! See what I’m getting at here?
Check Your Stress Levels
You’ve probably heard about and felt the effects of stress on your body. The old theory that stress brings on the gray hairs is no myth.
Studies are tying stress to accelerated ageing, and research have shown that high amounts of stress will noticeably speed up the ageing process. In fact, in a study performed by Plos One, job stress was found to directly correlate with shorter telomeres, which help our cells function. Plos One proved this phenomenon leads to premature ageing and possibly cancer.
To reduce stress, try meditation (even if it’s just a few minutes each day), get to the root of what’s causing your stress, as well as relaxing breathing techniques, such as this deep belly breathing.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Whoever coined this phrase wasn’t making things up. Lack of sleep has been directly correlated to premature skin aging. Not only that, inadequate rest has also been shown to inhibit your skin’s ability to recover after time spent out in the sun.
As many as 50% of all test subjects in a study run by Dr. Elma Baron were not getting enough sleep at night, and UV light tests showed those participant’s skin to have signs of premature ageing and poor quality – wrinkles, splotches, and even loose skin.
Supplement With Collagen
Collagen is a common protein in our bodies – it’s what gives our skin its elastic qualities and strength; it also helps replace dead skin cells. Put simply, collagen plays a huge part in how we look and function and can be an excellent anti-ageing supplement.
As we age, our body naturally stops producing as much collagen, which is why our skin eventually becomes loose and frail late in life.
One way to increase collagen levels is by consuming nutrient rich supplements like bone broth. You might have caught wind of this growing trend by now, and for good reason. Consuming bone broth made from cows, chicken, or even fish is an excellent way to give your skin its best chance of maintaining the elasticity and strength it needs. I personally like to add a collagen supplement like this to my diet. It’s is a good quality flavourless powder which isn’t only great for skin health, but it is also great for your joints. I add it to drinks and meals, and I feel great knowing that my skin and my body are getting a boost of the nutrients that assist in healthy aging.
7. Practice Self Care
Practicing self-care is one of the most essential things you can do for yourself for anti-ageing and overall well-being. And I’m not talking about your mani-padi or getting your hair done.
Self care is all about really connecting with you, and getting more in touch with yourself on all levels, physical, emotional and spiritual. It means taking time our to look after you, and filling up your cup so it’s overflowing with love and positive energy so that you can radiate more and give more to others. This can be an hour each week, or an hour each day. See what works for you.
Each week dedicate time to spend some time alone, and do something that makes you feel juicy, energetic and relaxed. My personal favourite self love practices include:
- Going to acupuncture – I do this every weekend and it helps rebalance me
- Going to the markets to buy organic food – it helps me connect with my food, get ideas on what to cook for the week and gets my creative juices flowing. I get excited about food, and going to the markets and getting my food from the source makes me want to take better care of what I put into my body.
- Take a candle-lit Lavender bath – I find lighting a beautiful soy candle and adding doTERRA® Lavender Oils to my bath beyond relaxing. I can’t help but to fall into a deep relaxing sleep each time.
- Journal – I like to go out in nature such as the beach and express the things I’m grateful for, and the things I wish to attract into my life. Writing it down make it real, and creates space to attract the right things into my life to make things happen.
- Getting a massage – it’s like heaven, especially when I incorporate aromatherapy and use doTERRA® Oils. My favourite oils that instantly improve my mood are Cheer blend, Lemongrass and Citrus Bliss.
- Doing this deep belly breathing every day for at least 5 minutes with one hand on my belly and the other on my chest. Completely helps me relax, unwind and connect with myself.
Where To Start With Anti-Ageing
Your body will naturally and beautifully age if you let it. There are so many outside factors affecting the process, though, it’s becoming harder and harder not to speed up the clock.
By making it a habit to strength train, eat a nutrient and antioxidant rich diet, drink enough water throughout the day, keep stress levels as low as possible, and get enough sleep at night, you’ll drastically increase your anti-ageing abilities.
Try making each of these points a part of your daily routine; you’ll start to notice huge changes in your body and the way you feel.
Do you have an anti-ageing tip or trick that’s worked wonders on your skin and body? Comment below and let me in on your secret!
ORAC Source USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 – Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – May 2010