9 habits you need to break to slow down ageing

By Jessah Shaw, Adv Dip (Nut Med)

While there are many things you are probably aware of that can accelerate the ageing process such as smoking and obesity, below are some of the many common habits that may secretly be ageing us every day.

1. Excessive worrying

While it is common to experience some degree of stress between work, family, relationships and time constraints, we can all attempt to reduce our tendency to worry. Not only does worrying make us unhappy, anxious, mentally exhausted and lead to sugar cravings, it can actually age the body. The constant release of cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline can literally intoxicate the body and lower our immunity, increase blood pressure, and affect our sleep cycle, memory and mood.

2. Too much sun exposure

While it is ideal to get 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day to manufacture sufficient vitamin D, overdoing it can be detrimental to the health of our skin. Repeated extended periods of time in the sun can cause significant premature ageing. To get sufficient vitamin D we recommend getting brief yet frequent sun exposure preferably between the hours of 11am and 2pm. The time frame you require depends on your skin tone. Fair skinned individuals absorb UVB rays very well and thus require less time in the sun in comparison to dark skinned individuals who require a lot more time in the sun to manufacture sufficient vitamin D. People low in vitamin D are more likely to be overweight, have high blood sugar, high blood fats and high blood pressure.

3. Overindulging on sugar and processed foods

Sugar and processed foods have a very ageing effect on your skin as they promote the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). This means that sugar causes cross-linking of the collagen fibres in your skin, resulting in loss of elasticity. Sugar damages our skin by drying out the collagen and elastin that are naturally present, causing full, dry, sagging and wrinkle-prone skin. While it may be difficult and unrealistic to eliminate sugar altogether, work towards minimising consumption and reading labels to look out for hidden sugar sources. Include plenty of antioxidants and good fats in your diet to improve skin quality and retain that youthful glow. Ultimate Superfood powder is a convenient and economical way of getting the nutrients and antioxidants your body needs each day, when you don’t have the time to cook nutritious food.

4. Being sedentary

In today’s society, it is very common for us to become too sedentary from either sitting down for long hours in a car or at our office chair at work. This habit can increase our risk of kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity. Maintaining a regular exercise regime of 30 minutes a day whether it be walking, cycling, swimming or resistance exercises, can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve memory and concentration, reduce body fat and exert anti-ageing benefits.

5. Holding on to anger

Holding grudges is not only damaging for your mental health, but can physically age you as well. If you become capable of simply letting things go, you could be adding years to your life. A study showed that lacking forgiveness can affect sleep quality, increase cortisol levels, increase blood pressure, raise blood sugar, cause weight gain and cause an increased reliance on medication. Next time something or someone frustrates you, take a deep breath in and out, and try to let it go. Holding on to anger does not do you any favours.

6. Being unsocial

It’s common as we get older to have less time for friends as life gets busy with demanding jobs, partners and parent and household commitments. Despite the fact that we are all busy, it’s essential to make time for friends as strong friendship bonds can be essential for alleviating depression, reducing stress and reducing our risk of chronic conditions. Whether it be a simple phone call or quick catch-up over coffee, this simple interaction can do a lot to boost your mood.

7. Watching too much TV

I’m sure many of us are guilty of binge-watching Netflix over the weekend, but this is different to regularly gluing yourself to the TV. A recent study monitored 11,000 Australians aged 25 and older and discovered that for every hour of television time, adults reduced their life expectancy by 22 minutes. This is quite grim when you think about the statistics of those who would watch more than this on a daily basis. It’s not so much the TV watching, as it is the sitting around instead of being outside or giving your mind or body a workout. If you are someone who suspects they watch too much TV, try to limit yourself and perhaps read a book or go for a walk instead.

8. Skimping on sleep

Sleep is something you should make a priority, as not only is it essential for our immunity but also allows the repair and regeneration of body cells. Symptoms of sleep deprivation include dark bags under the eyes, lack of energy during the day, mental brain fog and sluggishness, trouble focusing and weight gain. If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, you may benefit from having a chamomile tea before bed to help induce sleep, avoiding technology and bright lights an hour or so before bed, and reading a book or listening to some relaxing music instead. Magnesium is a powerful mineral that helps to promote a healthy sleep.

9. Poor posture

Sitting or walking with bad posture can do serious harm to our body and ageing process. Unhealthy posture can speed up wear and tear of our joints and muscle strains. Be mindful of your posture and practice daily by ensuring your ear, shoulder and hip are aligned. Maintaining a good posture can make you look more energised and contribute towards your overall wellbeing.

Regardless of your age, these tips are essential to adopt now and can not only extend your life but make your life more enjoyable.

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