5 bad health choices that age you


We’ve all heard about the difference between your true age and your actual body age, but what are the factors that are making you age faster than nature intended?  We take a look at some of the things you could be doing wrong when it comes to staying as physically and mentally young as possible.


1.     The S word

Stress is the number one ager when it comes to your physical and mental health. Several studies show that chronic stress triggers the release of free radicals, the unstable molecules that damage cells and are responsible for aging. Multi-tasking may sound like a positive attribute but besides being an actual impossibility, it just makes your stress levels go through the roof.  Instead of trying to do it all, concentrate on one task at a time and only move on once you finish it.


2.     Skimping on the Zs

If you are cutting corners when it comes to getting enough sleep, it will not only show on your face in the form of dark circles under your eyes, but impact on your daily life in general. Sleeping within the seven-hour range is optimal so work your schedule around getting enough time for sleep. Be sure to get to bed earlier if you have the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which include a lack of daytime energy, mental sluggishness, attention problems, or weight gain.


3.     You spend most of your day sitting

If you’re not getting enough exercise you are putting yourself at higher risk for  kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, not to mention obesity. Naturally, exercising regularly helps to prevent these health issues and keeps you living longer, according to a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Study participants who exercised 150 minutes or more a week lived 10 to 13 years longer than the inactive bunch.


4.     You’re skipping the sunscreen

This is South Africa, land of hot summers and warm winters which should mean you wear sunscreen every day of the year.  Whether you’re running errands, going to the mailbox or sitting outside in the sun, sunscreen is a must.  Studies show that ultraviolet exposure is the number-one cause of nearly every sign of premature aging on the human face, so a good SPF 30 to 50 sunscreen is a must, even on cloudy and rainy days.


5.     You cut out all fat from your diet

You may have your waistline in mind, but it’s important to remember that some fat is necessary for looking and feeling young. Heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel) and certain nuts (such as walnuts and flax seeds) keep skin supple and plump and help to prevent wrinkles. They also boost both heart and brain health, so be sure to include them in your diet to some degree.