You can change the way you age. Follow our expert tips for living longer, healthier, happier lives.
It’s easy to feel that, as we get older, our bodies become less efficient and start to deteriorate. But there are plenty of things you can do to grow old while maintaining your health, fitness and happiness. Here, we present 50 tips on how you can start living your best life – no matter what your age.
1 Have A Purpose
‘People with a purpose have been shown to have slower cognitive decline and to age better overall,’ says Susan Saunders, health coach and author of The Age Well Plan.
2 Eat Fibre
Fibre is a building block of good health but most of us don’t eat enough. ‘Fibre helps your gut microbiota to make short chain fatty acids, which reduces inflammation in the body and brain,’ explains Susan. Aim for a minimum of 30g per day.
3 Fermented Foods
Gut health aids your immune system, keeps your brain and heart healthy and helps digestion. Eat fermented food such as kefir, sauerkraut or yogurt.
One of the best ways to stay fit, but to really feel the benefit, up the pace until you’re out of breath. Brisk walking has been linked to better memory, better health and a longer life.
5 Have A Laugh
A good belly laugh is as good as exercise, researchers have found. Laughter can reduce stress, boost the immune system, reduce pain and improve blood flow to your brain.
6 Drink Coffee Daily
Researchers believe antioxidants in coffee may help fend off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
7 Build Muscle
After the age of 40, you lose 1% of muscle per year. Higher muscle mass helps control glucose levels, supports your joints and keeps your weight down. Try resistance training with light dumbbells to kick-start muscle growth.
8 Eat Chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, which mop up free radicals and toxins. Make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa solids.
9 Read Every Day
‘Reading before bed has been shown to help you reach a deep sleep more quickly,’ Susan says. ‘It also stimulates the brain, and can help reduce cognitive decline.’
10 Keep Learning
Old brains are just as capable as young minds. Try something with complexity such as dance or craft.
11 Nap Daily
Researchers at the American Health in Ageing Foundation found that an hour nap between lunch and dinner boosted brain function and memory.
12 Boost Zinc
Zinc improves immunity, strengthens the heart and has been found to slow the spread of cancer cells, according to a study by the University of Texas. It helps the brain stay active and aids the production of new cells. Eat red meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds.
13 Get Out Of Breath
This helps keep telomeres long-the tips of our chromosomes that stop them getting damaged. ‘As we age, our telomeres wear down, but short, sharp bursts of exercise can keep them strong,’ explains Susan. Just 10 to 20 seconds several times is enough to put the body into repair mode.
A good bellylaugh is as good as exercise. Laughtercan reduce stress, pain and boost the immune system
14 Be With Friends
Since lockdown, we understand more than ever the importance of spending time with people we care about. Research links social isolation to increased rates of dementia, heart disease, depression and a 28% higher risk of dying.
15 Get A Pet
Pet owners are proven to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-petowners. Stroking an animal reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Just 15 minutes of meditation a day can strengthen our telomeres, boost brain function and improve blood pressure.
17 Boost Your Vitamin D
Our bodies don’t store vitamin D so we need to replenish it regularly. Getting outside in the sun for 15 minutes a day without sun screen is enough. Vitamin D keeps the immune system strong, reduces depressions and builds strong teeth and bones. No sun? Try a vitamin D supplement.
18 Use A Face Roller
Used daily, it reduces inflammation, supports the renewal of skin cells and helps with lymphatic drainage to leave skin less puffy and wrinkled.
19 Sleep Better
‘During deep sleep, brain cells reduce in size, which is when the housekeeping team the microglia cells come in and clean between the cells, getting rid of toxins, including amyloid beta, a plaque linked to Alzheimer’s,’ explains Susan.
20 Get Outside
‘As we age, our circadian rhythm internal body clock goes out of sync,’ explains Susan. ‘Getting out in the daylight helps reset it and helps us sleep better.’
21 HIIT it!
Studies have shown that a 15-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout is more beneficial than slow, steady exercise as it changes the body at cellular level, which means it protects muscles from ageing.
22 Eat Leafy Greens
The vitamin K in green leafy vegetables strengthens bones, helps prevent heart disease and prevents calcification of arteries and kidneys.
A cuddle releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which relieves stress, boosts immunity and can lower the risk of heart disease.
24 Express Gratitude
People who express gratitude every day have been shown to have fewer aches and pains and lower blood pressure, says Susan. ‘Try saying thank you for one thing before you eat dinner every evening,’ she suggests.
25 Cut Downon Chemicals
Chemical overload from cleaning and beauty products can be ageing. ‘Make your own or buy low toxin brands such as Ecover and Method,’ says Susan.
26 Regular Massage
This can help improve the function of the lymphatic system, increase joint mobility and reduce muscle tension.
27 Facial Exercises
Just like any muscle, the facial muscles lose tone as we age. Doing facial exercises three to five times a week give skin an oxygen and nutrient boost. Search ‘Face Yoga’ on YouTube for good examples.
28 Slash Salt
Reducing salt can lower blood pressure. Cut out packaged and processed foods, and eat a banana the potassium helps counteract the sodium.
29 Enjoy Fats
Good fats in foods such as avocados and nuts are great for brain health and help lower the risk of heart disease.
30 Reduce Belly Fat
As we age, fat tends to move from our hips to our bellies, which is where it’s most dangerous. Keeping in shape reduces the risk of fatty liver disease, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
31 Eat Pomegranates
High in fibre and vitamins, iron and anti-oxidants, pomegranates help fight high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and inflammation, and reduces the risk of arthritis.
32 Drink More Green Tea
Healthy compounds in green tea help lower the risk of cancer and diabetes, and protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
33 Open The Window
Allowing fresh air into your home for at least 15 minutes a day will help reduce the chemicals in the air from cleaning and decorating products, which can be ageing, says Susan.
34 Drink Morewater
Our bodies are made up of 70% water and our brains 90%. Keeping hydrated flushes out toxins and keeps skin plumped and healthy.
As wellas keeping the heart strong, dancing is good for mental health
35 Have More Sex
Regular sex reduces stress, boosts confidence and increases pain tolerance. It’s also been shown to boost immunity.
36 Daily yoga
Yoga increases flexibility and strength, which decreases the risk of injury. It can also help reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
37 Paint A Picture
Being creative can improve memory by increasing activity in the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex in the brain.
38 Eat Blueberries
They’re packed full of phytochemicals; plant compounds that protect against cardiovascular disease. Eating them regularly can help protect against age-related macular degeneration.
As well as keeping the heart and muscles strong, dancing has been proven to be good for mental health. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine dancing to a 76% reduction in dementia risk.
40 Use Turmeric
Turmeric is a powerful antiinflammatory. It can improve heart health, skin problems and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
41 Go Yellow
Yellow and orange foods peppers, carrots, corn contain luteins to boost eye health.
42 Whiten Teeth
As we age, stains from food and drink plus thinning enamel make our teeth darker. Getting them professionally whitened will help you look and feel younger.
43 Boost Protein
Help repair brittle hair with fish, eggs and nuts.
44 Protect Hands
Stop your hands ageing early by using SPF daily, as well as an antioxidant serum and a hand cream with retinol to exfoliate and replenish.
45 Cut Down Booze
Alcohol dehydrates the body and leaves your skin more wrinkled. It also puts the liver under stress and puts you at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
46 Strong Core
Protect yourself from injury and back pain by keeping your core strong. Turn to page for our strong core guide.
47 Eat Oily Fish
Two weekly portions of oily fish boosts omega 3 fatty acids, which decrease your risk of heart disease.
48 Limit Calories
A 2018 study found that those who significantly reduced their calorie intake had much lower blood pressure and cholesterol, less inflammation and a lower risk of age-related diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. However, opt to do this just one day a week.
49 Quit Smoking
Smoking damages your lungs, impairs blood circulation and damages skin and teeth. Quitting smoking can increase your life expectancy by up to 10 years.
50 Use Sunscreen Every Day
UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin all year round. Wear at least SPF 30 every day, even during winter, to reduce wrinkles and protect against skin cancer.