I am always on the hunt for good anti-aging advice and so much of it is the same – oh wow, sunscreen helps prevent aging? Sleep is good? You don’t say. But every now and then I come across a piece of actual good advice I’ve never heard before, so I figured I’d share these gems with you all. Even if you don’t care about your appearance, many of these tips will help simply keep your body healthy and high-functioning as you get older.
1) Wear plenty of sunscreen inside on a rainy day. I know I said sunscreen was a basic, and I wear it every day, rain or shine. That said, until recently I didn’t put on my sunscreen until I was getting ready to go outside (10-15 minutes before, to give it time to work) but I recently read that it’s important to wear sunscreen even if you’re not stepping foot outside all day long. Even if it’s winter. Even if it’s raining. Those aging rays are still penetrating your windows and affecting your skin. If you’re like “oh hey, what about Vitamin D?” here’s my thought on it – you know those 60-year-old hippies with weathered faces and limber yoga bodies? If you want to look like that (and no shade if you do, it’s totally cool) then get your Vitamin D from the sun. If you do not want to look like that, get your Vitamin D from your food and from supplements.
2) Put on your sunglasses when walking to the mailbox to get your mail. That’s right, wear your sunglasses all the time. Not only will they prevent crow’s feet and wrinkles around the eye area, they’ll protect your actual eyeballs from the sun so you don’t damage your vision as much when you get older. Also make sure you wear your sunglasses (and sunscreen) if you’re on a plane during the day – the sun’s rays are even stronger up there. Ditto for if you’re skiing or snowboarding – the sun reflects off the snow and can damage your eyes. Good thing sunglasses look cool as fuck, huh?
3) Don’t brush your teeth for 20 minutes after eating. Don’t brush your teeth right away! You might think you’re helping, but brushing right after eating (especially something acidic) is the worst thing you can do because it attacks your teeth when your enamel is compromised. You’re better off drinking water and/or chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes and then brushing your teeth. (Same for after you throw up, if you are ever so unlucky).
4) Don’t drink from a straw or water bottle all day long. This one surprised me – a dermatologist in an article I read (where? I don’t remember) said she cringes when she sees women drinking from water bottles all day long. It’s great to stay hydrated, but she says it’s better to sip water from a glass at home and get a water bottle with a spray-top so you can squirt it in your mouth while on the go. This also preserves your lipstick! And makes you look like you’re running a marathon :(. If you’re pursing your lips all day long, you’ll get lines around them like smokers get.
5) Don’t use too many harsh anti-agers before you need them. Dermatologists are a bit divided on this, but in general it seems you shouldn’t use retinol products very often until you actually need them, because they can thin your skin and make it more susceptible to damage. And definitely if you are going to use these products, load the fuck up on that sunscreen.
6) Get buff. LIFT WEIGHTS. Women who say they’re afraid of getting too bulky drive me CRAZY. I will beat the shit out of you if you talk like that in front of me. It is IMPOSSIBLE because you do not have the testosterone to bulk up. You are not going to look like a body builder unless you work really fucking hard to do exactly that. And if you’re afraid of looking strong because you want to look skinny and dainty, get out of here. Want to break a hip when you’re 65? Don’t lift weights. Weight training is good for your bones and studies show people with arthritis who lifted weights and pushed themselves physically when they were younger have greater range of motion and ability to actually use their bodies when they get older. Lift weights or crumble, ladies.
7) Limit (or eliminate) animal proteins. There’s a reason you’re hearing a lot about quinoa, Meatless Mondays, and Vegan before 6. This one’s a little complicated to explain here because it goes against a lot of what we’ve been taught (but let me just remind you that much of what you know is because the vast majority of health educational materials delivered to elementary school students are produced by the dairy industry, and there are many powerful lobbies for the dairy/beef/poultry industries but there’s no broccoli lobby). There’s a lot of conflicting opinions on what humans should be eating, so you’ll have to do your own reading and make up your own mind, but the data really convinced me and I stopped eating animal products five years ago. If you want to know more, check out the book The China Study – you can read some of it for free on Google Books here. I was an inveterate meat-eater so when I read that book five years ago, you bet I was surprised. But I don’t want cancer or heart disease and now I’m more hopeful I won’t get them.
8) Value getting older. Societies with the most centenarians tend to be ones that value old people and look up to them as wise, knowledgeable, and important pillars of society, whereas American culture is often sickeningly youth-driven. I can’t think of a single 19-year-old who is cooler than Helen Mirren, so I feel pretty positively about getting older, and I’m convinced that will help me reach 100 (or pass it, I hope). I do remember where I learned this one – http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html
Obviously if you’re tanning, smoking, and eating three square meals of Cheetos a day, these tips won’t help much. But if you’re already living a healthy life and looking for an extra edge, hopefully you learned something! It’s not just about the way you look. It’s about quality of life. “Life fast, die young” may be a fun slogan to excuse a lack of consideration towards your older years but unless you commit suicide you’re more likely to “Live fast, die slowly for decades with limited mobility and a great deal of pain.” You’re welcome.