Guest blogger, movement expert, Pilates teacher, and the youthfully exuberant Lynne Gentle gives us her tips anti-ageing, feeling young, and staying that way.
And if you do, endeavour to ditch the tobacco pronto. True, it’s harder to kick than an opiate addiction but if I did it, you can do it. I kicked a 20-a-day habit and haven’t smoked for nearly 20 years. There are a myriad of smoking cessation aides available. My method: trade smokes for nicotine replacement patches. Start with highest potency relative to your habit. Use them daily. After 3 weeks, drop to next lowest dosage. Continue to lower dosage every 3 weeks. When you are at the lowest dosage available, cut patch in half. Then into quarters. By the time you’re there, stop the patches. You’ve kicked it mate. Well done. You will be as proud of this achievement as the birth of your first-born. Believe me.
For sun bunnies, the UK climate leaves something to be desired and when the sun shines we go crazy for the bake. Although moderate sun exposure is life-giving and crucial for our vitamin D needs , over-exposure is ageing. And dangerous. You are most at risk on holiday in sunny climes. Brits take more sun-seeking jaunts than any other country where a broad-spectrum (blocks both UVA and UVB rays) SPF of 50+ is non-negotiable regardless of your complexion – it’s not just pale-faced caucasians who are at risk. Even black-skinned beauties can burn.Use physical sun protection too – wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. Keep a long-sleeved lightweight cotton shirt to cover up if you will be exposed for hours at a time. And it’s not just the beach, pool and sea – snow and altitude amplify and reflect the sun making the slopes a potential sunburn hazard.
Give Up Sugar, Refined Carbs and Trans Fats.
Now. The insidious, chronic inflammatory effects of this ageing trifecta are now widely acknowledged and corroborated by good science. Free radicals = systemic inflammation = pre-mature ageing. Sugar is almost as addictive as tobacco and other more sinister health-wreckers. The more sugar you consume, the more you want. It does not fill you up nor does it satisfy hunger. It merely creates an insatiable desire for more sugar. And combined with fats – think cupcakes, glazed donuts, ice cream, milk chocolate, etc. – it becomes even more compulsive for sugar addicts. Three weeks is all it takes to kick a habit. After that, you will no longer have the same cravings for sweets, and the natural sugars found in fruits, etc will taste sweeter to you too.
Walk Your Butt Off.
Walk, walk, walk. Running is not suitable for everyone but walking is good for all of us. Walk to work or the kids to school. Walk a treadmill or in the fresh air. Walk the neighbourhood – hell, walk the mall if you have to – but keep your legs moving. Be sure to really stride out to engage your buttock muscles. There is no end to the benefits reaped by simply taking up walking. Aim for 10,000 steps a day but half of that is better than nothing. Another good rule of thumb is 30 minutes 5 times per week. Buy a pedometer to count steps (Fitbit is an excellent one) and encourage friends and family to do the same. In 3 weeks you will be transformed.
Don’t Pucker Up.
Incessant sucking on straws and plastic water bottles make us purse our lips which causes those horrible vertical lines around our lips similar to ‘smokers lines’ Pour your drinks into a glass and drink like a grown-up!
Maintain Your Ideal Weight.
Keep to within 5 pounds of your optimum weight. A simple way to determine your body mass index (BMI) is to measure your waistline and your height. Your waistline measurement should be half or just below your height. Yo-yo dieting or gaining or losing weight too fast wreaks havoc on our beauty causing lax skin and stretch marks. ‘Too fat’ is ageing. But so is ‘too thin.’ The adage that after a certain age you have to choose between your “ass and your face” is true. There is a 10/30 ratio rule-of-thumb: 10 percent of your weight-loss will show on your body, and 30 percent on your face…nuff said.
Let Your Eyes Rest Softly.
Hard, tense eyes are ageing. Try this trick: close your eyes and look into the distance through the “eyes in the back of your head.” This encourages the muscles around the eyes to relax and allows them to ‘drop back’ into the socket giving the eyes a softer, more open and relaxed appearance. It also refreshes tired, computer eyes.
Add these readily available foods to your daily diet:
- 6 walnut halves
- 4 Brazil nuts
- 1 portion of oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines
- green/white/mint or maté tea, unsweetened, unless with a little Manuka honey
- unsweetened, unprocessed acai berries/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds
- fermented foods: saurkraut/kimchi/pickles made in brine not vinegar/kaffir/tempeh
- best-quality extra virgin olive oil. Look for small-holding brands rather than well-known supermarket brands
- colourful foods like melon, sweet potato, pomegranate, peppers, butternut squash, carrots, etc. The more colourful the food, the more packed with anti-ageing nutrients.
Sleep on Silk.
Swap your usual pillow case for a silk one. The natural albumen present in the silk will help keep skin silky smooth and wrinkle free and is less dehydrating that cotton or synthetic fabrics. Also train yourself to sleep on your back if possible. Side-lying sleep encourages creasing in the face and décolletage which can become permanent over time.
And laugh often. It takes years off immediately. The muscles required to smile kick off a para-sympathetic response in the nervous system that relaxes us and fools us into thinking we are happy (even if we’re having a less-than-perfect day.) A smile is an easy (and free) anti-ageing quick-fix.