Getting older doesn’t mean your best days are behind you. Here are three of my top age-defying secrets to help you put the breaks on the aging tick-tock.
1. Turn out the lights
We’re always hearing about the importance of getting enough sleep — and with good reason. A considerable amount of research links lack of sleep to heart disease, depression and poor immune function. But it turns out that sleep itself is only part of the story. Evening exposure to light decreases your levels of melatonin, a hormone that’s vital for maintaining normal blood pressure. Melatonin also helps you fall asleep in the first place. So turn some lights out at night and switch off the TV at least an hour before bed. You’ll wake up feeling happier and healthier in the morning!
2. Can the pop
Soda isn’t just bad for your waistline, it’s bad for your lifeline too: One recent study shows the phosphates in cola accelerate the signs of aging in mice. Too much phosphate may lead to heart and kidney disease. And if you keep drinking it, you increase your risk of osteoporosis and, according to one study, muscle atrophy, which can contribute to frailty, the scariest part of aging. The good news is that we can do something about it . Instead of soft drinks, choose still or sparkling (if you like the bubbles) water with a slice of lemon as your new sidekick at meals.
3. Stand on one foot
Improving your balance now means helping to prevent falls in your golden years. If you can’t stand on one foot with your eyes closed for at least five seconds, you’re at an elevated risk for taking a tumble. To strengthen your sense of stability, practise balancing on one foot, then the other while brushing your teeth each morning. (Just make sure you stand next to a wall in case you start to wobble!)