The anti-aging industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Increasingly, more men (particularly in Silicon Valley) are opting for cosmetic surgery as a means of staying competitive and seemingly young. As technology advances, procedures like Botox injections have become mainstream and more luxurious beauty treatments like micro-blading and eyelash extensions are part of every-day wear—no longer just for the wealthy or special occasions.
However, it’s important to re-visit more traditional means of not just anti-aging, but of holistic well-being. Many Americans have adopted habits that are aging them faster. The good news is that many of these habits are reversible. It takes just a few weeks to form a new habit, for better or worse. Here are some of the worst habits to start breaking today:
Consuming alcohol is one of the number-one “agers.” Considering that one in eight Americans are alcoholics, it’s no surprise that this nasty habit has wreaked havoc on our youth. Alcohol does a number on your physical well-being both inside and outside. Limiting drinks, or stopping altogether, is one of the best things you can do for your health.
2. Smoking Cigarettes
Cigarettes are an especially horrific addiction. Not only do they cause excess wrinkles thanks to the constant sucking, but they also cause yellow teeth and fingers. Your hair stinks, your clothes stink, you might adopt “smoker’s voice”—and worst of all, it’s killing you. Join a support group, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation products, and kick this habit for good to regain your youthful glow.
3. Not Getting Enough Antioxidants
A balanced diet is rich in natural antioxidants which are found in many healthy foods like blueberries. However, most Americans don’t enjoy a balanced diet on a regular basis. Choosing a natural supplement sourced directly from the product is a great way to bridge your nutritional gap. You might also want to add in flaxseed oil for Omega-3s, turmeric for an immunity boost, and calcium (particularly for women).
4. Too Much Screen Time
Your eyes weren’t made to scour a screen for hours on end. Doing so can lead to fatigue, squinting (which of course turns into wrinkles and fine lines) and even poorer vision. Your eyes are one of the most delicate organs of your body and deserve attention. Limit screen time by scheduling pop-up breaks, and consider eye exercises such as compresses with the heels of your hands for a little TLC.
5. Not Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the majority of Americans are chronically not getting enough sleep. Eight hours is just an average. Your goal should be to wake up naturally without an alarm (though an alarm should always be set just in case). Alarms can also interrupt REM sleep, which will impact your energy levels throughout the day. Practice good sleep hygiene which includes soothing bedtime rituals and ensuring your sleeping space is cool, dark and electronic-free.
6. Not Getting Outside Enough
Not only do most Americans not get their recommended 150 minutes of cardio each week, but even fewer are also sticking to strengthening and balance routines (which becomes even more important as we age). Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, being in your 30s. Ideally, head outdoors for your workouts whether it’s running, cycling, urban hiking or another activity. The fresh air is a natural anti-ager. Need a little more motivation? Sign up to be a dog walker and earn a little extra cash while enjoying a commitment to get outside.
Americans have incredibly high-stress levels, but some of it is in your control. Minimize and reduce stress where you can, and figure out your own red flags for high stress. Experiment to find the best stress reducers for you. It might be yoga, a meditative walk, listening to calming music with your eyes closed, or turning off all electronics every few hours for a few moments of quiet bliss. Talking with a mental health expert can also help you develop tools for stress management.
Most importantly, remember that aging is natural and a beautiful, graceful transition. It’s natural to want to look your best or to focus on areas of your body that you wished were different. However, it’s also easy to get into an obsessive territory. If you find yourself spending excessive time worrying about looking younger or spending high sums of money chasing eternal beauty, consider talking to an unbiased professional. The media makes its living off of feeding insecurity and showcasing perfectly airbrushed examples of what we “should be.” Sometimes it takes a different perspective to help us learn to love ourselves.