Getting older may be beyond our control, but how we age is not. I, personally, am Aging Backwards.
I’m not a doctor, scientist or celebrity and I don’t have unlimited cash flow, but I am almost well past 50 years old and I still get asked for ID to buy wine. A few years ago I was even mistaken for my 17-year-old son’s girlfriend!
I like to think of myself as the “anti-aging Petri dish.” I try as many of the latest, greatest products, services and procedures for turning back the clock as I can — and I tell everyone what works for me. As a correspondent on a syndicated TV show, a contributor to a weekly radio program, and a blabbermouth — I have plenty of opportunities to spread the word.
I like to find unique ways to look at ordinary situations — and I’ve compiled my secrets, tips and shortcuts into my book, Aging Backwards.
“Reverse time” with these 5 anti-aging tips
Here are a 5 tips you can try right away that will start you on your way to rediscovering your own youth.
1. Trick yourself into exercising:
I’m one of the lucky ones — I love to exercise. But even I can fall into the “couch potato rut” every now and then.
When that happens, I put on my cutest workout outfit and tell myself I’m just going to play along. I’m not really going to exercise. In fact, I’m just going to the gym to check out the buff guys.
I’ll take a class or hop on the elliptical machine with the intention of faking it, but five or ten minutes into the workout I find renewed energy I didn’t even know I had and I’m going full speed ahead. Try it!
2. Keep your brain sharp:
According to the Mayo Clinic,1 “The secret to memory improvement may be something you already know is good for you: exercise.” According to researchers, “Exercise can increase your brainpower, help put off normal aging-related memory loss and, perhaps, even prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” That’s powerful stuff.
You’ve also heard that working crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, and other brain teasers can help keep your brain sharp. Here’s one you may not have thought of: memorize numbers. I spend a lot of time in my car, so I like to take the opportunity to train my brain at the red lights.
With the advent of cell phones and PDAs, we don’t have to remember phone numbers the way we did only 10 or 20 years ago. When I get to the red lights, I memorize phone numbers on the billboards. I’m not going to call them — it’s mostly realtors and personal injury attorneys where I drive, but I keep my brain sharp by practicing memorization.
3. Give back for health and longevity:
Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher and statesman, said way back in the 1500s, “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” Volunteering makes us feel wonderful on the inside and that inner glow radiates to the outside.
Studies show that giving back can have numerous health benefits. The Corporation for National and Community Service released its most recent report on the health benefits of volunteering, which showed that, “States with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease.”2
4. Ease into better eating habits:
The best way to achieve weight loss and optimal health is with a diet rich in protein and healthy fats and consisting of low glycemic carbohydrates. If your eating habits are way off, here’s a way you can ease into changing your diet for the better — start with portion control. Portions in America are way too large and that has been shown to contribute to the obesity epidemic.
A study conducted by nutritional experts3 found that, “The largest excess over USDA standards (700%) occurred in the cookie category, but cooked pasta, muffins, steaks and bagels exceeded USDA standards by 480%, 333%, 224%, and 195%, respectively.”
Instead of “super-sizing,” try “half-sizing.” I knew a girl in high school, Frederica, who lost 50 pounds over the summer break. I asked her how she did it and she told me, “I just ate half of everything I wanted.”
It all starts with portion control.
5. Use visualization and keep stress levels low:
Can what we think actually affect our bodies? It’s called the “mind/body connection” and according to researchers it can have a real effect on our health.
The American Academy of Family Physicians’4 web site lists a number of ailments that can be attributed directly to stress, including back pain, chest pain, high blood pressure, insomnia, stiff neck, and shortness of breath, to name a few.
One of my best secrets for keeping my stress level low is to use earplugs. I carry them wherever I go. Not only do they block out stressful surroundings and noise levels, but they also allow me to focus on my breathing, a proven meditation technique.
Experts say it takes 21 to 28 days to form a new habit or break an old one. Try these tips, make them into habits, and you’ll be on your way to recapturing your youth. As I like to say, “It’s never too late or too early to start Aging Backwards.”
Jackie Silver is Aging Backwards. She shares her secrets, tips, and shortcuts for looking and feeling young on her website, AgingBackwards.com, in her book, on TV, radio, online, and in person. As a television correspondent on the syndicated show, Daytime, she’s been called the Aging Backwards “Guru” and Aging Backwards “Expert.”