A Doctor's 8 Secrets To Staying Young and Adding Years to Your Life
Staying physically and mentally fit can result in a much happier, healthier you. We're here to share exactly how you can add years to your life with secrets that really work, according to an expert. Eat This, Not That! turned to Dr. Mike Bohl, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro, to learn all about the important tips and tricks for longevity. Dr. Bohl explains that staying young and adding years to your life involve good habits, dedication, and caring for your body from the inside out.
Read on to learn more about adding years to your life with these doctor-approved secrets. And next up, don't miss The Worst Exercise Habits That Are Aging You Faster, Trainer Says.
Give your skin proper TLC
Let's start with the outside. The condition of your skin is quite telling. Wrinkles, fine lines, and skin discoloration can make you appear older. The one step to take that will drastically improve your appearance and keep your skin healthy is applying sunscreen on a regular basis.
Dr. Bohl advises, "Sunscreen blocks the sun's harmful UV rays, reducing both photoaging (visible aging of the skin due to UV damage) and the risk of developing skin cancers later on. But there are many other things that can help reduce the appearance of aging skin."
In order to keep youthful-looking, healthy skin, he recommends maintaining a consistent skincare regimen, explaining, "If you do the same skincare routine every morning and every evening, it starts to become second nature." He adds, "This includes cleansing, using an antioxidant serum, and a moisturizer with SPF in the morning, and then cleansing, using a retinol or retinoid, and a heavy moisturizer in the evening."
Exercise is key to a younger-looking and feeling body
Staying active on a regular basis is an integral step to remaining on the youth train. Resistance training (weight lifting) is important to decrease the loss of lean muscle mass, and it helps strengthen your bones. By lifting weights, you will help your body to appear younger, while maintaining good posture as you get older. The addition of aerobic exercise, balance training, and flexibility training will help you to look and feel younger, in addition to helping you function better.
Dr. Bohl notes, "Regularly engaging in physical activity can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of falls—both of which contribute to adding years onto your life." And don't feel like you're too busy to get in some exercise! As Dr. Bohl puts it, "Proper time management can help you fit in tips like getting enough exercise each week."
Consuming a diet that's "heart-healthy" is a big step in adding more years to your life. It's so important to stay away from processed foods and food items that contain added sugars. Consuming a lot of plant-based foods is the way to go.
Dr. Bohl tells us, "If you find a diet you can stick to and are happy with, you don't have to consciously think about it every day." He also points out, "Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (sometimes called MUFAs and PUFAs) are particularly heart-healthy fats to include in the diet."
Substance abuse is a major no
Plain and simple, Dr. Bohl says if you want to live a longer, healthier life, you should stop smoking. While you're at it, keep any alcohol consumption light and moderate.
Get screened properly at each age
It's crucial to follow screening guidelines that are recommended for your age. Some of these include regular mammograms, pap smears, cholesterol and blood pressure readings, and colonoscopies. Your healthcare professional will advise what's necessary, and testing regularly will allow your doctor to find and address any condition or disease early on, prior to it becoming a more serious situation.
Don't ignore chronic conditions
Be sure to take proper care of any chronic conditions you may have. Take any prescribed medicines, and follow disease prevention guidelines. Some of these include the pneumonia vaccine (at the recommended age) and flu shot.
Have a positive attitude
Don't have the assumption that your genetics are pre-determining your lifespan. Dr. Bohl points out, "It's not always 100%, but to some degree—yes, you can 'defy genetics' by making healthy lifestyle choices. With some genes, you get what you get. For example, there isn't much you can do to change your eye color. But other genes are more about whether you're more or less likely to experience a certain outcome or more or less at risk of a certain disease."
Eat healthy, remain active, and avoid unhealthy things, like smoking and not protecting your skin. Genetics aren't a given—simply live the healthiest lifestyle you possibly can.
Discuss supplements and medications with your doctor
"There's some interesting research around supplements and medications people can take to live longer," says Dr. Bohl, adding, "As of right now, there's no magic anti-aging pill. But supplements like NAD+ precursors and medications like metformin, resveratrol, and rapamycin may have anti-aging properties and are being actively researched, so it's possible we'll know more about their effects in the future."
Dr. Bohl says taking care of yourself is not hard work. He recommends, "Stay connected to the healthcare system. Go to your annual physical exam each year, and—when you're there—remember to ask your provider if there are any recommended screenings or interventions for your age group. The guidelines sometimes change, so remember to ask each time and not just once."