We all want the secret of eternal youth right? We all want to know how to slow down the ageing process, look our best, and convince the world that we really are 21 and always will be. Not only that , but as well as Thursday being the new Friday, most of us believe that 65 is the new 45. I’m 47 years old now and still do most of the same things and behave the same way (sometimes stupidly) that i did when i was 25. I plan on growing old disgracefully and being as fit and youthful looking as possible for as long as I can manage. Below are some tips which i guarantee that if you follow as much as possible you will look, feel and act younger than you are.
Tips on Staying Young:
#1. Do Resistance Based Weight Training. I know a lot of people hate the idea of this, especially some women who associate weight training with big bulky muscles and a lack of femininity. Well forget that idea straight away. You’d have to train your arse off and eat like a horse to change your body that way. It has been proven that weight training, done correctly has all sorts of benefits that make you look and feel younger and as i said in a previous blog post on my facebook page on 24th March there have been various studies that confirm the anti ageing benefits of training with weights. For a start it strengthens and tones not only your muscles and ligaments but also helps to increase bone density and strength. We all know that bones can weaken and even start to crumble as we get older and regular resistance training fights this process. Even if you don’t have access to a gym, resistance training using body weight or bands can have a fantastic positive effect. As well as strengthening and maintaining muscle tone, regular resistance training will raise your metabolic rate, aiding fat loss. Not only that but muscle is more metabolically active than fat. What does that mean? Well it means that 1 kg of muscle uses up more calories to maintain it than 1kg of fat. This means that as you become stronger, leaner and more muscular it actually becomes easier to maintain that shape and keep the weight off as your body naturally burns more calories. Great eh? Being fitter, stronger and leaner is guaranteed to make you look younger.
#2. Reduce traditional lengthy cardio sessions and do HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) instead. Why? Lots of reasons. Firstly from a purely practical point of view it takes a lot less time. You can achieve in 15 minutes what traditional cardio would take 45 minutes or more to do. HiiT has been proven to build more muscle tone, give a more intense cardiovascular workout thus improving your heart and lung function, AND raises your metabolic rate allowing you to continue to burn calories and fat for much longer after your workout than a long slow cardio workout would. Also from a purely aesthetic point of view there seems to be a connection with how people look. Take a look at many (not all) endurance athletes, long distance runners, long distance cyclists, triathletes etc. They often have a somewhat taut, gaunt appearance and lean, loose, sometimes saggy muscle tone. Compare that with sports that tend to use shorter bursts of more intense exercise such as sprinters, boxers (3 mins on, 1 minute off), gymnasts etc. They look more toned, less gaunt and yes it’s true….younger.
#3. Drink lots of water….loads of it, as much as you can get down your neck (within reason). Our bodies are largely made up of water. Studies have shown that up to 75% of people walk around partially dehydrated for much of the time. It’s just plain logic that if you are fully hydrated your cells will be more full of this life giving substance. Full cells = plumper and healthier looking skin, more luscious hair, clearer eyes, fuller muscle tone. That’s aside from the longer term health benefits of better digestion, less gut issues, improved kidney function, improved vacscular performance etc. People often think tea, coffee, juices all count for hydration but it’s not the same thing. Tea and coffee are both diuretics which means they make you pee or expel water from your body and juices, all juices, contain sugars. Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every single day. Do it for a month and i guarantee you will be shocked and amazed at the difference it makes to your skin and overall sense of well being. People make me laugh when they say “how hard it is to drink 6 glasses of water a day” then go to the pub and drink 5 pints of larger or 5 Gin & Tonics in 2 or 3 hours. Don’t make excuses, get to the tap and drink yourself younger.
#4. Eat natural and whole foods. Again you don’t need to be a genius to work out that what you put inside your body is going to have an effect on how the outside looks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a food facist that is going to dictate that you ONLY eat organic, never have a treat and never drink again for the rest of your life. God knows i have some bad habits and love a blow out now and then. However consistency is key. If you can eat well 75% of the time AND drink a lot of water it will 100% be reflected in how you look. What do i mean by eat well? Again it’s pretty simple. Try to eat loads of fresh foods. Fresh fish, meat, poultry, lots of veg, salads with 4 or 5 meals a week, lots of nuts, proper butter and dairy products, fruit, and DO NOT be afraid of fats as long as they are good fats eg fatty fish, lean meat and poultry, nuts, eggs avocado etc. A report came out in the UK press only yesterday (see my facebook page) talking about the benefits of good fats and they aid not only muscle development and fat loss but keep your skin looking healthy, and some studies claim they even protect brain function longer term.
#5. Keep active. I’ve already talked about training and exercise so that is not what i mean. By keeping active I mean keep your mind and body active. Be passionate about life. Have hobbies, go to museums, eat out, travel, go on walks, read books, go to concerts, play golf or bowls, have a wide social circle, keep working even if part time once you reach retirement age. This mostly applies to older people who are perhaps at or beyond retirement age but the mindset also applied to the younger ones of us. I firmly believe (and I’m sure you can think of and name examples) that if you keep doing stuff (anything counts), stay active, keep your mind engaged and keep that verve for life, then it keeps you young in both mind and body.
#6. Act younger than you are. This one is very closely to linked to number 5 above. Some people use the phrase “act your age”. Well screw that. As soon as you start to do that you are on the slippery slope to doom. The world has changed, you are no longer middle aged as soon as you hit 50 and old when you hit 60. I’m not saying behave like an idiot the whole time, I’m saying that just because you get older that doesn’t mean you can’t do all or at least most of the things you always used to do. You may need to make some minor adjustments but just keep going for it. Laugh loudly, sing badly, dance embarrassingly (my friends will tell you I’m a world beater at this but I don’t care, i love it), take up hobbies that you enjoy and just generally try to seek out fun and big experiences wherever you can. The minute you start to think you are old, that’s what you will become. I think someone once said “I think therefore I am”…..or something like that. It’s true. You become what you believe you are. If you believe you will be successful in life, you will. If you believe you are invincible and will always stay young, you will, if you believe you are getting old and “can’t do that any more”…guess what, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
#7. Supplements. This is a very quick paragraph. I’m not really one for taking pills and potions. I take a protein shake and some creatine when I train, that’s it. What i mean by supplements are natural products that I believe, and there is a lot of evidence to back ity up, that are supremely healthy and have some amazing benefits for your body, fitness and skin. So just to briefly list some favourites. Ginger – add it to everything from tea to stir fries to salads. Honey – preferably a non mainstream organic honey. Green tea or other variations on herbal and green tea’s. Lemons – squeeze them into and onto everything, grate the skins, drink lemon water as often as you can. Chilli, again add to food as often as possible and put in salads, soups etc. Turmeric – add to food or make Turmeric milk, its has amazing properties. Cinnamon – the same as with Turmeric. Tomatoes – eat as often as possible. Avocado – eat almost every time you have anything cold. Nuts – all sorts and also spread nut butter everywhere and anywhere you want. There are others but if you can use these as often as possible you won’t go far wrong.
#8.The obvious stuff – basic skin care, look after your teeth, dress well. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit slack here. I have never ever used a moisturiser or ANY sort of skin care product of any type ever. So I can’t really preach. All I’m really talking about are the basics. if you are covered in spots, have yellow teeth and wear baggy, shapeless clothes are you really going to look good and younger than you are? Probably not. So all I’m saying is to do whatever works for you to keep your skin looking moist and fresh, your teeth as white as possible (a 6 monthly dental hygienist appointment does wonders) and if possible choose some well coordinated, properly fitted clothes so that you look good when you go out. I bloody hate shopping and buy very very little, but when i do I like to buy a couple of things that are good quality, fit me well and show off my best qualities. Am I a vain overly egotistical sod….yeah probably, but you know what I don’t care. I embrace many of the tips I’ve given you above and am proud of it, i enjoy trying to look younger than I am. If people don’t like that, tough. In fact that may be my tip #9. Learn to not give a S***. Do things for you, because you want to and because they make you look and feel good. If some people don’t approve that is their problem. This is your life, grab it by the scruff of the neck, go out and live it.
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