7 Mistakes That Make You Age Faster
We probably all know a 90-year-old who still runs and drives, and we know 50-year-olds who can barely move. To increase your odds of being the former, avoid these 7 things that speed up the aging process.
Bad food choices
Whether you eat all the wrong foods or too much of everything, a poor diet is almost a surefire guarantee that you’ll age faster than your DNA intended. To limit calories and take in more nutrients, aim to eat foods that are still close to the condition they were harvested in, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meats. Limit processed foods, which are packed with salt, sugar, and additives and preservatives you just don’t need.
If you don’t sleep soundly or enough, your whole body will suffer. Sleep is one of the most critical components of a healthy, happy, productive life, so follow these 50 steps to better sleep. Sleep helps your brain forge new connections. It also recharges your body’s systems.
Skimping on sleep has been shown to increase your risk of weight gain, cancer, and basically any health problem you can possibly imagine. This might sound like an exaggeration, but there are decades of medical literature to back up these findings.
Occasional stress is good for you. It’s motivating. A little jolt of stress gets you going by triggering the release of hormones like adrenaline. It’s the old evolutionary fight-or-flight response. However, stress and its subsequent rush of hormones can cause us a lot of headaches (even migraines) and heartache. Over time, chronic stress can make you look and feel older and contribute to a whole bunch of problems.
Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins, and not even a fun one. And research suggests you should take the “deadly” part literally. Sitting deactivates the skeletal muscles in your lower body, ushering in negative metabolic consequences. It’s never too late to change. So what’s a desk jockey to do? Get up more often. Stand up at your desk, and move more at work. Schedule walking meetings, and try to move around during conference calls.
You wouldn’t swallow something poisonous on purpose, but you may slowly be poisoning yourself. Scientists have long known that exposure to large amounts of toxins, like lead, mercury, or arsenic can kill you. But now, research also suggests that chronic exposure to relatively low quantities of toxic chemicals can wreak havoc on your health. These substances may build up in your blood, body fat, or other tissues, where they can disrupt your hormones and other body systems.
If you can avoid boozing, smoking, and doing drugs, you’ll do your body a big favor. These vices cause damage your body faster than you think. It only takes 15 minutes for cigarette smoking to harm your DNA, according to a study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, so make it a point to quit smoking today. And over a lifetime, that stuff adds up. Guys who drink excessively or smoke have about triple the risk of dying during a given time period compared to those who don’t use.
Ignoring risk factors
If high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol go undetected, they will wreck your body. Trouble is, sometimes people don’t know they even have these problems until they have a heart attack or a stroke, and by then, it might be too late. Ask your doctor about screening tests, and keep an eye out for signs of trouble.