1) Avoid the Sun and Protect yourself from the Sun
Unless you’ve been hyper-vigilant about shielding yourself from the sun (think living in a cave) since you were knee-high, the signs of aging skin — fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots — are likely to emerge by the time you enter your fourth decade. “Ninety-five percent of wrinkles are due to sun exposure,” says Doris Day, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.
Consider a wrinkle eraser that includes retinol, a form of vitamin A, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, fade brown spots and smooth skin tone. Retinol or tretinoin topical creams exfoliate the skin and increase the production of collagen. The creams come in a concentration of 0.02 percent and 0.05 percent so just about everyone can tolerate it, and they may even help some people who have early signs of sun damage or skin cancer. Expect to spend about $10 to $15 a month.
2) Sleep 8 hours per night
You may have heard people say “I’ll sleep when I die.” Truth is, their lack of sleep may actually precipitate death. Research shows that if you sleep less than six hours a night, you are at far greater risk of having a heart attack or experiencing a stroke [source: Roizen and Oz]. What’s more, your mind seems to deteriorate at a faster pace.
On an emotional level, a lack of sleep makes you less peaceful and more prone to anger. Sicknesses related to viral infections are also more prevalent among people lacking proper rest. Eight hours of sleep each night is important for your current physical health, as well as your mood and your longevity [source: Roizen and Oz].
3) Maximize your intake of antioxidants
The evidence is “incontrovertible” and bears repeating, says Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University: Free radicals contribute to the onset of age-related diseases, and antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
Everyone should take a combination of antioxidants through diet and supplementation, he asserts. (There’s more on supplements later in the article.) To get that antioxidant boost, Blumberg advises eating dark-colored vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, squash and spinach for carotenoids and blue and purple berries for flavonoids. Because foods contain many classes of antioxidants that work synergistically, they are the superior source of antioxidants, says Blumberg.
Regular aerobic exercise is a must-do for anyone committed to slowing the aging process. Hundreds of studies show that exercise combats the loss of stamina, muscle strength, balance and bone
density that increases with age.
Ready to get started? The American Heart Association advises doing a single set of eight to 15 repetitions, using eight to 10 exercises, two to three times a week for a comprehensive strength-building program. After you get the flow of the routine, it should take about 10-minutes.
5) Eat Well
The standard advice from the U.S. government is to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables and three servings of whole grains daily for vitamins and minerals and the other healthful micronutrients in plants. Drink five to eight 8-oz. (227 milliliter) glasses of water.
Get no more than about 30 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fat, with about one-fifth of that from unsaturated fat (e.g., 1 percent milk, olive and canola oil); 15 percent from protein; and the remaining calories from carbohydrates — which can include fruits and veggies, and should have an emphasis on complex carbs like oatmeal, whole wheat bread and wild rice.