Age Hacking: 100 Ways to Live a Healthier, Happier, Longer Life
Are you tired of the never ending barrage of advertisements for miracle pills, creams, and injections "guaranteed" to delay the aging process? However, are you still searching for realistic ways to stay young and healthy? Though finding the fountain (or miracle product) of youth is unlikely, you can embrace the following 100 ways to feel and look younger. Gleaned from age-defying experts and categorized for easy reading, this list is a must-print to keep on your desk or refrigerator for daily reference. Get to it... Hack into the havoc that aging can wreak on your body!
Health and Fitness
1. Exercise to live longer.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), regular exercise helps control blood pressure, body weight and cholesterol levels, and reduces the risks of hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. Not to mention you will look and feel better!
2. Warm up and cool down.
Regardless of the types of exercises you do, warming your muscles up in preparation of work as well as cooling down with slow rhythmic stretches is key to avoiding injury, reducing soreness, and speeding up your recovery.
3. Commit to daily fitness.
Getting out there and staying active translates into better health and well-being -- both physically and mentally.
4. Focus on total fitness.
ACE recommends aerobics and muscular conditioning along with exercises to stretch your body and promote good posture.
5. Year-round exercise.
Don't ditch your fitness routine because of inclement weather. Try new activities, such as snowshoeing, swimming at an indoor pool, or fitness classes at your local fitness or senior housing
6. Join a health club.
Be social and get fit. This one's worth its weight in sheer motivation points.
7. Stop smoking.
8. Go green.
Eat organic, use eco-friendly products, and practice green living to protect your health as well as the environment.
9. Take supplements.
Don't mega-dose, just take a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
10. Get aerobic.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting moderate aerobic activity 30 minutes per day, five days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity, three days per week.
11. Break it up.
Instead of 20 or 30 minutes of exercise, break up your cardio into 10-minute segments throughout the day.
12. Make working out fun.
Emily Gowens, age 75, from Kerman, California says, “Getting out of the house and traveling to interesting places where you can walk around is one of the best ways to get exercise without even trying, and you get to enjoy the sight seeing, too.”
13. Put a set of dumbbells by your television set -- and use them!
14. Pump it up.
Margaret Richardson, author of Body Electric,
says one pound of fat burns three calories a day while one pound of muscle burns 30 plus.
15. Challenge yourself.
To counteract age-related muscle loss, do exercises with progressively challenging resistance.
16. Burn extra calories by simply parking farther from your destinations.
17. Skip the elevator.
Rosemond Borboa, age 82, resident of Wyndham Retirement Center in Fresno, California says, “I eat three good meals a day and haven't gained any weight because I take the stairs.”
18. Four (protected) eyes are better than two.
Wear eye glasses with an anti-reflective coating to improve your vision.
19. Block the sun.
Wear a visor or use an umbrella to protect your eyes from the sun.
20. Attend cultural events.
According to the American Academy of Neurology, cognitively active seniors are almost three times less likely to suffer dementia or develop Alzheimer's.
21. Train your brain.
Working a daily crossword, Sudoku puzzle or another brain teasing game can help improve your mental fitness.
Join an elderhostel group and travel to local sights or travel the world for fun and mental stimulation.
According to the AARP Bulletin, volunteering is good for brain health and gives you the opportunity to use your skills to contribute to the good of your community.
24. Brain food.
Keep your mind sharp by eating salmon, nuts, olive oil, soy, meat, eggs, dairy, leafy greens, beans, oatmeal, and dark skinned fruits.
25. Music therapy.
Music can regulate mood, decrease aggression and depression, improve sleep, and, because old songs are stored in memory, even create new brain cells.
26. Avoid sitting cross-legged.
Dr. Shoshany, a chiropractic and pain management specialist at New York Chiropractic warns that crossing your legs puts excessive stress on your knees, hips and low back.
27. Sit up straight.
Shoshony says, “When you slouch or strain to look at the screen, these patterns stick and posture learns these positions.”
28. Listen to your body.
See a chiropractor, physical therapist or post-rehabilitation specialist for postural exercises to reduce pain and risk of injury.
Dr. Shoshony explains, “Stretching your neck and chest can prevent short and tightened muscles that can lead to injury. A simple stretch involves bending your head to your shoulder holding it there and slowly brining it back to the mid line and then switch sides.”
30. Belly button to spine.
Not only will this exercise help you stand taller, it will take five pounds off your waistline!
31. Head up.
Instead of scrunching your head to your shoulder to hold the phone, get a headset and avoid injury to your neck and shoulders.
32. Wear a high SPF sunscreen every day and limit the amount of time your skin is exposed to the sun.
33. Vitamin A to the wrinkle rescue.
Research from the Archives of Dermatology
indicates that vitamin A lotion containing retinol can combat wrinkles.
34. Facial massage.
Massaging your facial muscles will boost blood flow and give you a glow.
35. Wear a daily moisturizing lotion to keep skin supple and soft and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scaly skin.
36.Wear natural, matte eye make up.
Sparkly make up accentuates lines and wrinkles in your skin.
37. Forget the fire-engine red lipstick.
“Red lips are dramatic and attention grabbing,” says Charla Krupp, author of How Not to Look Old
, “but who wants to draw all that attention to her lips?” Your lips thin with age and wearing bright red lipstick can make your mouth look even smaller. Try a lighter shade for a younger look.
38. Don't go bold on the brows.
Don't emphasize thinning eyebrows by using a dark pencil. Use a shade that is close to your hair color and go easy on the application.
39. Pretty polish.
Keep your nails at a manageable length and keep them neatly polished with softer colors.
40. Moisturize your cuticles.
Apply a cuticle cream that contains natural oils such as safflower, sweet almond or passion flower daily.
41. Limit the time products stay on your hair.
Products like hairsprays can dry and damage your hair, especially when left on for long periods of time.
42. Be kind to your hair with conditioner. A good conditioner can increase your hair strength by as much as 10 percent.
43. Don't over-brush.
Handle your hair as little as possible to avoid breaking your hair shafts.
44. Dress your age.
Dress more sophisticated and elegantly to show you are proud of your age and carry it stylishly.
45. Ditch the heels.
Comfortable supportive shoes can take years off your body.
46. Ditch the sweatpants.
Do your self-esteem and style some good by opting for stylish jogging outfits or other ensembles that flatter rather than fatten you.
47. Wear clothes that make you feel good.
If you feel good about your attire, you will radiate confidence and vitality.
48. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Holistic guru Dr. Andrew Weil recommends eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and minimal processed foods to reduce inflammation in your body.
49. Eat all natural.
Avoid high-calorie foods full of sugar, fat and artificial ingredients and concentrate on eating high-nutrient, high-flavor foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
50. Eat many small meals.
Eat something every three hours to keep your metabolism high and your blood sugar and insulin levels steady.
51. Don't skip breakfast.
The easiest meal to skip and the most important. Eat something small, even if you aren't hungry.
52. Eat a variety.
Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy, and omega-3 fats better ensures you get all the nutrients your body needs.
53. Eat less and live longer.
Maoshing Ni, author of Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways To Live To Be 100,
suggests the "three-quarters rule," essentially not eating any more after you feel "three-quarters" full.
54. Drink tea.
Ni recommends daily tea because tea is a proven preventive and treatment for hardening of the arteries and has potent antioxidant powers.
55. Slim down with soup.
People who eat soup before a meal reduce the total number of calories they consume.
56. Sink your teeth into superfoods.
Experts say superfoods can help ward off heart disease, cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, bad moods, high blood pressure, and improve digestion, skin, hair, nails, bones and teeth. Superfoods recommended by WebMD.com are beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, green and black tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and yogurt.
57. Eat more healthy fats.
According to the University of Michigan
Integrative Medicine, healthy fats to include in your diet are monounsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and some plant foods as well as polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3's found in fatty fish and omega-6's found in nuts.
58. Avoid bad fats.
Bad fats include saturated fats, which are primarily derived from animals products, and trans fats, which are used in commercial fried foods, margarines, and baked goods like cookies and crackers.
59. Eat and drink coconut.
The type of saturated fat in coconuts does not contribute to heart disease and it is rich in lauric acid, which boosts your immune system.
60. Read labels.
Opt for products with at least three grams of fiber, low sugars and no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
61. Spice it up.
Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients,
recommends high-antioxidant spices and herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, curry, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper.
62. Drink up.
Drinking water throughout the day can decrease your urges for sweets, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, minimize pain associated with arthritis, migraines, and colitis, hydrate your skin, and help with your digestion.
63. Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, too much alcohol can increase your risk for developing various diseases and physiological and social problems.
64. Sideline the soda.
The phosphoric acid in carbonated beverages, particularly colas, can put you at risk for osteoporosis.
65. Drink red wine.
Red wine is renowned for its many health benefits, primarily for the heart. However, new research from the Institute of Food suggests that wine may also protect you from potentially fatal food-borne pathogens, such as E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and H. pylori.
66. Meatless Monday.
Abstain from eating meat every Monday to lower your intake of saturated fat and improve your diet and health.
67. Marinate your meat.
Research from the Food Safety Consortium recommends marinades with rosemary, thyme, peppers, allspice, oregano, basil, garlic, and onion to cut down on carcinogens.
68. Take time to play.
“Watching tennis on tv does not count as playing, “ says Ann Hodgman, author of 1003 Ways to Stay Young. Get out and have some real fun.
Smiling lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and the stress hormone cortisol.
70. Humor your stress.
Laughing improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, releases tension, and improves your immune system.
71. Think positive.
If you can't change the situation, change the way you think about it.
72. Let nature take your stress away.
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods,
says simply being outdoors with green plants, fresh air and the sounds of nature is a proven stress buster.
The Mayo Clinic recommends practicing yoga to reduce stress and anxiety.
74. Get kneaded.
Research from the Touch Research Institute indicates that regular massage lowers heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety levels, depression, hostility, and the stress hormone cortisol.
75. See a therapist.
Mental health professionals can help you deal with stress.
76. Begin with breathing.
Sue Patton Thoele, author of The Mindful Woman,
says, “The first thing you ever did for yourself was breathe. And consciously focusing on your breath remains the epitome of self-care throughout your entire life.”
Sheryl Sparks, vice-president of Alzheimer's Care
for Highgate Senior Living in Ferndale, Washington
suggests using essential oils to improve your mood, reduce stress and even improve your memory. Try lavender, lemongrass, cinnamon or cedarwood.
78. Live with your senses.
Aim to hear, feel, see, smell, and taste all of life's nuances.
79. Take time outs.
They worked when you were little and they can work to reduce your adult levels of stress now as well as increase your mental and physical energy.
80. Accept yourself.
Thoele says, “We are always choosing between personalities…and accepting and understanding your subpersonalities gives them an environment in which they can heal, transform and express the positive qualities inherent within them.”
81. Tame your monkey mind.
In order to stop the stress of thinking and doing too much at once, focus on a single thought and explore its purpose.
82. Be true to yourself.
Dr. John Izzo, author of The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die
, explains, “Being true to yourself often means drowning out other voices that would ask you to live their dreams instead of yours.”
83. Leave no regrets.
Izzo says, “It seems to me that what we fear most as we age is not death, but rather it is to come to the end of our life feeling that we never truly lived. The saddest words ever spoken at the end of life are ‘I wish I had'”
84. Give love.
The choice to give love is even more important in determining happiness than getting it. Choose to be a loving person to find a deep sense of meaning in your life
85. Live the moment.
You have no power over the past and little power over the future so replace your sad dwellings of the past and fears of the future with a priority to appreciate and live in the present.
86. Give more than you can take.
Izzo says that it is what you give, not what you take that gives life meaning.
87. Get married and stay married.
Research from Brigham Young University indicates that happily married couples have lower blood pressure and better heart health than singles.
88. Have more sex.
Kerry McCloskey, author of the Ultimate Sex Diet
, says love making strengthens the heart and relieves pain and stress.
89. Love your kids.
Alta Thompson, age 80, from Rapid City, South Dakota
, says “The most effective age-delaying factor in my life is my kids (who are now adults). Their love and just being around them keeps me feeling young in my heart and my body.”
90. Love yourself.
“Being beautiful within is a surefire way to be beautiful on the outside,” says Patti Willems, age 75, from Hysham, Montana. “When you love yourself and are a good person, it shows.”
91. Stay social and tech savvy.
Join a club, have dinner with family and friends, and do other activities with your social support network. Stay connected by email and get involved in blogs, forums and chat rooms that interest you.
92. Stay active in all parts of your life.
Richard Clower, Senior Olympics athlete, age 86, from Bozeman, Montana says “Staying young is no secret, I'd stayed active in all parts of my life and enjoyed my life much more than if I'd been inactive.”
Get Medically Magnificent
93. Know your family history.
Be aware of your genetic predisposition to illnesses and be proactive in preventing them.
94. See your doctor and get regular health screenings.
Proactively hacking into any problems that may occur at the onset is key to longevity.
95. Take medications as they are prescribed.
Clearly label your medications and follow the instructions.
96. Keep emergency numbers handy.
When a crisis occurs, the quicker you can get help, the better. And, for when all is peaceful, the security you get from knowing you're well-prepared is invaluable.
97. Wear your seatbelt.
According to Car-Accidents.com, one in 13 people die in a car accident in the U.S. every day and 63 percent of them were not wearing a seatbelt.
98. Brush and floss your teeth.
According to research in Circulation
, chronic inflammation caused by periodontal disease has been linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
99. Turn it down.
According to the House Ear Institute, noise-induced hearing loss is a leading cause of permanent hearing loss that can be prevented by turning down the volume on your TV, radio, or headsets to a level that you can comfortably hear.
100. Practice healthy sleeping habits.
Not getting enough nightly rest puts you at risk for accidents, depression and other illnesses, and a decreased quality of life.
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