It's true that scientists haven't found the fountain of youth. They've found several. Although researchers haven't yet discovered a way for you to body-swap with your teenage self, several rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have found that you can slow—and even reverse—the effects of aging, just by making some simple lifestyle changes. One even found you can literally turn back the clock on your DNA. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
Do This Kind of Workout
Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones weaken and become more subject to breaks, affects 44 million Americans (and nearly half of everyone over age 50). But getting regular exercise—both cardio and resistance training—can strengthen bones. Studies have found that resistance training—working out with free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight—is particularly effective for preserving and building bone density.
Eat Less of This
"Findings from research studies suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging," says the American Academy of Dermatology. It's true—sugar can actually cause wrinkles. When ingested in excess, sugar creates substances called advanced glycation endproducts (or AGEs), which are tiny underminers of youth. They bind to collagen and elastin, proteins in our skin that keep it looking young—damaging them and actually preventing the body from repairing them.
Get Quality Sleep
A great night's sleep doesn't just feel refreshing—researchers have found that sleep repairs and reboots the body's most vital systems, including the brain and immune defenses. And going without doesn't just make you look older; it can literally age you. According to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, women who reported good quality sleep experienced "significantly lower intrinsic skin aging" than women who got poor sleep. And scientists at UCLA found that just one night of bad sleep actually makes older adults' cells age faster.
Over time, being chronically stressed can age us on the cellular level. That's according to Harvard Medical School, which reports that chronic stress can shorten our telomeres, the structures inside each cell that contain genetic information. As telomeres get shorter, cells age and eventually die. Not only is this the literal process of aging, people with shorter telomeres are at risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Do All of This—Seriously
A study published last spring in the journal Aging found it was possible to reduce biological age by three years in eight weeks by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes. That's what researchers found in a test group who consumed a largely plant-based diet with a probiotic supplement, exercised for at least 30 minutes daily, did relaxation exercises, and slept at least seven hours a night. The scientists found that the study participants' DNA became 3.23 years younger, on average, after only two months.
And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.