When it comes to diet and exercise, we’ve heard the expert advice that “everything should be done in moderation” and this is certainly true when it comes to anti ageing. In order to raise energy levels, tackle health glitches and live longer, it’s important to avoid the following lifestyle habits that age us:
1 You eat too much sugar…
There’s no doubt that a sugary doughnut or soft drink wakes you up, but it can cause energy crashes and accelerate ageing in the long-term. In fact, sugar can be more ageing for the skin than a lifetime of lying in the sun, says dermatologist, Dr Patricia Farris.
How sugar ages the skin: “The link between sugar and premature ageing lies in a process called ‘glycation’. This chemical process happens when blood sugar levels become excessively high,” she explains.
“Sugar molecules then circulate in the blood and bind to other components to form substances known as protein-sugar complexes – also called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs.
“These can be found in virtually all organ systems around the body – from the kidneys, brain and nervous tissue to the skin – and trigger an inflammatory response, causing tissue damage and premature ageing,” she adds.
The solution: Try to cut out white sugar, especially fructose, in all forms. Read package labels and stick to whole foods found in their most natural state.
ALSO SEE: Hidden Sugar and Smart Swaps
2. Then you go on crash diets
Starving your body of essential nutrients and filling up with diet foods and empty kilojoules will accelerate the ageing process, not to mention weaken your immune system and contribute to dehydration.
“You are what you eat,” explains nutritional therapist and health writer, Ian Marber. Your body needs to get the most from the foods you eat.
How dieting ages you: Every cell in your body relies on a healthy balance of antioxidants and foods from the major food groups including fats, carbohydrates, proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables to replicate.
Cut any of these major food groups out, and you’ll be depriving your skin, hair and nails of essential nutrients they need to thrive.
The solution: To slow down the ageing process and look younger for longer, focus on nutrients which fight ageing, says Marber. These include;
- zinc (found in seafood, chicken and oats)
- selenium (found in mushrooms, Brazil nuts, seafood and brown rice)
- and Vitamins A, E and C (found in many fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, avocados, nuts, seeds, carrots, spinach, pumpkin and tomato).
3. You sit for too long…
Researchers at The University Health Network in Canada found that people who sit too much every day, either working at a computer, watching TV or simply being sedentary, are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, even if they exercise.
How sitting ages you: According to Dr David Alter, the study’s senior scientist, “Despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.” This is because our bodies are designed to be on the move, constantly, yet our modern day lifestyles and conveniences don’t allow for it.
The solution: The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reverse this trend. Simply standing more and getting up every 30 minutes from your computer to walk around, count.
The trick is to find ways to move throughout the day even if you’re not exercising. In fact, scientists have determined that “exercise snacking” where you do three 10-minute bursts of exercise a day, can have the same health benefits as one long session.
READ MORE: The Once A Week Workout That Works
4. Then, you exercise too hard
Exercise is one of the best ways to beat daily stressors, however the type of exercise and amount you do also counts.
When you put your body under stress through prolonged, intense exercise (such as marathon running) or you never take breaks between hard workouts, your body produces hormones which help you adapt, explains Patrick Holford.
These include adrenalin, cortisol and DHEA. All of these work together to help us react to a situation with a fight or flight response – improving oxygen and glucose supply to the brain and muscles.
How too much exercise ages you: However, if there’s no balance between breakdown and recovery, the body becomes stressed. Prolonged stress through intense exercise can speed up the ageing process, increasing inflammation in the body, as well as risk of disease and upsetting overall hormonal balance.
The solution: Holford advises avoiding too much stress by taking days off between hard exercise sessions, as well as performing some daily deep breathing or learning to meditate. Yoga and Pilates are also wonderful exercises to balance the body and mind.
READ MORE: The Amazing Health Benefits Of Yoga