Really Easy Anti-Aging Advice You Can Actually Use
Aging well is not about perfection; it’s about consistency. Here’s a snapshot of great anti-aging practices you can sustainably integrate throughout each day. Now, don't you feel better already?
• Stretch in bed. There's a reason that a spate of stretching studios have cropped up in the past few years. We're not doing enough stretching, and that can lead to tight muscles and restricted fascia, predisposing you to injury. Stretched-out, limber muscles keep your joints comfortable, your posture healthy, and your gait easy.
• Step outside first thing if possible. Sunshine on your face helps keep your circadian rhythms in a good place and connects you with nature, which will help your sleep later on.
• Switch your hot shower to cold for the last 30 seconds. Research shows that it ups the production and health of your mitochondria. (Mitochondria are the energy sources of your cells — the essential force of life and longevity.)
• Meditate or do some conscious breathing at home or on your commute, if possible. Having some sort of mind-quieting practice helps you find relief from thoughts that dog you — which are likely causing stress, shallow breathing, and tightness in your body.
• Have a cup of coffee or tea with a pure fat like MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil for a big energy boost.
• Move around at work as much as possible, and use break time for a walk uphill or up stairs. Opt for movement over stasis whenever you can.
• Fill up on fiber and fat — a green salad and a handful of nuts, for example — at midday to get ahead of that looming afternoon energy drop.
• Drink a glass of filtered water whenever you take a break from your work.
• Grab a few minutes in the sun with a friend.
• Do errands on foot, and take the longer, hillier route.
If you have to choose between morning exercise and high-quality sleep, choose sleep.
• Take off your shoes when you get home, and go barefoot. Body sustainability expert Yamuna Zake says that almost every injury she sees in any part of the body comes back to the feet. Walking barefoot engages all sorts of muscles that are squished and constricted most of the day.
• Have dinner on the early side so you can begin your food break/overnight fast without stressing (aim to finish eating three hours before bed). Short fasts benefit you in a few ways. One is simple calorie reduction: When you don't eat for an extended period of time, you naturally (and effortlessly) eat less overall. Another is that your digestive system works better when it has a chance to rest and recover — and in fact, your body can repair itself better when it isn't constantly diverting energy to digestion. Third, fasting causes major changes in several crucial hormones that impact aging and weight, including insulin and growth hormone.
• Put away leftovers and do the dishes right after dinner, so you’re not tempted to snack as you clean later. (Think of the kitchen as closed after cleanup.)
• Turn off screens and set devices to charge away from the bedroom.
• Lower the temperature of your bedroom. You need a lower core body temperature for sleep; being too warm could inhibit sleep hormones. Keep the thermostat low or the windows open.
• Sit down with a cup of chamomile or mint tea to help close out the eating part of your day and begin your wind-down.
• Take your magnesium supplement. The mineral magnesium is one of the key nutrients for aging well; it's responsible for the correct metabolic function of more than 300 enzymes in the body. It supports the immune system, brings down blood pressure, aids brain and heart function, and helps you relax and fall asleep naturally. Quality sleep is like gold for longevity. Take 300 to 500 milligrams of magnesium glycinate or magnesium threonate. If you tend to be constipated, instead take magnesium citrate (400 to 600 milligrams).
• Take a bath or relax in a restorative yoga pose.
• If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, get in bed an hour earlier than usual (and if you have to choose between morning exercise and high-quality sleep, choose sleep).
• Read a book on paper, not on-screen. Wait till your eyes are really heavy, then turn out the light.
Excerpted from The New Rules of Aging Well by Frank Lipman MD and Danielle Claro (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020.