Keeping the Moms We Love Young: Lifestyle Changes to Boost Youth
We all miss looking and feeling like our younger selves more often than not, so it is no wonder why science has been trying come up with ways to prevent or reverse aging.
Of course, aging is a natural process for all living organisms, but it doesn’t mean that you have to stop feeling and looking younger as you move through the years.
Let’s take a dive into some of the evidence-based lifestyle changes that you can try out on your own to feel and look younger.
Workout That Older You
One of the best things you can do to age well and feel younger is exercise.
Aging is accompanied by a variety of diseases and disorders, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. But, did you know that partaking in regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk for age-related disease?
In fact, in a set of experiments, researchers injected rats with a molecule known as D-galactose which has been shown to speed up the aging process.
The same rats were trained to swim in warm water for several weeks to simulate a “long-term exercise” program. Interestingly, they found that regular exercise greatly decreased molecules in the brain that are normally associated with older age1.
As well, they found that exercise lowered the amount of inflammation around the heart1, which is also associated with older age2.
Similarly, a group of scientists found that regular cardiovascular exercise may improve anti-aging processes in the brain3.
Simply put, regular exercise may significantly reduce the aging process in the brain and may even boost your immune function.
Finally, a group of researchers found that endurance exercise may greatly increase the healthspan4.
It is important to note that “healthspan” doesn’t mean the same thing as lifespan, which you are probably more familiar with.
Instead, healthspan refers to the number of years lived without disease whereas lifespan only refers to the amount of years lived, period.
So, not only does regular exercise help with anti-aging processes, but if you partake in frequent, endurance exercise, you may be able to slow aging processes and at the same time, maintain a positive health status!
Consider an Anti-Aging Diet
Next, let’s talk about diet. Specifically, we’ll focus on two key ingredients that you should include for an anti-aging diet that have been shown to have powerful effects on aging processes.
Your body has to continuously work throughout the day to produce energy and function properly.
While it does this, chemical reactions produce things like inflammation and oxidative stress in the process5,6.
These can contribute to aging by causing the body to remove excess inflammation and reactive oxygen species7.
However, if you include foods with antioxidant properties, like blueberries, you can greatly reduce the effects of these harmful molecules on your body.
In fact, blueberries were found to prevent the loss of collagen (a type of protein that holds things together) in the bones of rodents8.
And, because collagen is a primary component of skin that contributes to an aged appearance9, it is tempting to suggest that blueberries may even help your skin look healthier!
Another key ingredient to consider in your anti-aging diet is Panax ginseng10, which contains important molecules known as ginsenosides.
Ginsenosides have been repeatedly shown to reverse problems in memory11, cognitive performance12, and cell growth12 that are linked to the aging process.
The power of ginseng is so realized that it is even suggested for the treatment of neurological disorders13,14, including Alzheimer’s Disease15—an age-related disease that is known for its negative impact on memory and cognitive processes.
Panax ginseng is a plant that can be found Korea and northeastern China, but you don’t have to travel to these places just to get some.
Instead, supplements are an easy way to obtain this powerful compound.
Recent studies suggest that becoming more in tune with your thoughts and emotions may actually have positive effects on your age!
This process is known as mindfulness.
The effects of mindfulness are quite impressive. For example, people who took part in mindfulness meditation training were found to improve their attention and markers of cognitive aging16.
Further, there is evidence that mindfulness training can boost many aspects of psychological and physical well-being, and even improve systemic inflammation17.
Finally, practicing mindfulness has been shown to promote a positive outlook and increase resilience in the face of stress18.
Interestingly, chronic stress is suggested to contribute to accelerated aging19, or the idea that aging occurs at a faster pace than normal.
So, by practicing mindfulness meditation, you may be able to reduce the aging process and handle stress in a healthier way.
As a result, you may just be able to tap into your younger, feel-good self well into your later years.
The evidence is clear that eating and living a healthier lifestyle and becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions are some of the best approaches to living a prosperous and enjoyable life.
And, to all the moms out there, thank you for all that you do. You do a commendable job of taking care of everyone, but don’t forget that taking care of yourselves first, is essential. So, go on and start making those changes today to optimize your healthspan.
Author: Brett Melanson is a PhD Candidate in Behavioral Neuroscience. His interests primarily reside within the life sciences with an emphasis on stress-based psychopathologies.