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Get Younger in 24 hours

24 Hours

We need to do to give our bodies the best chance to withstand the effects of premature ageing.

However, even if you have the best of intentions, life can get in the way. So, here are a few ideas to make you see just how easy it is to incorporate anti-ageing techniques into your day.

6am: Fill ‘Er Up

How do you start your day? Do you reach for slices of hot buttered toast and jam, or load up a bowl of cereal and sprinkle over a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten the deal? Research has shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it may surprise you to learn that excess sugar can age you.

Unused sugar floats around your system and gets deposited on protein molecules like collagen, causing sagging and ageing skin.

…it may surprise you to learn that excess sugar can age you.

And the complexion isn’t the only casualty. Excess glucose also attaches to arterial walls, the lens of the eye, causes impaired joint movement and can eventually lead to arthritis and difficulties breathing.

Rather try this smoothie recipe taken from Spent? End Exhaustion & Feel Great Again by Dr Frank Lipman (Hay House). Blend one cup frozen blueberries, a quarter of an avo, a cup of coconut milk, juice of half a lime, three to four tablespoons of whey protein powder, two teaspoons of green powder (like wheatgrass) and four ice cubes. That way you’re getting a nutritious breakfast full of anti-ageing vitamins and minerals that will keep you feeling full a lot longer than sugary toast. Plus, you’ll be feeding your body with nutrients to regenerate the skin and body tissues.

8am: Dose Up

The cells of people who are stressed age up to 50 percent faster than people who are more chilled

Before you leave the house, dose up on vitamins like C and E. Vitamin C is an essential component of healthy collagen throughout your body. It’s also a well-known antioxidant. Interestingly, scientists from the University of Leicester in the UK have found that a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, can help heal the skin by stimulating fibroblasts (the ‘factories’ in the skin that make collagen and elastin) to migrate into wounded areas. It also increases the capacity of fibroblasts to repair DNA damaged by sun exposure.

Experts recommend that it’s best to take vitamin E with vitamin C, as E renews C and keeps up its antioxidant abilities.

10 am: Learn Something New

According to the authors of You Staying Young (Harper Thorsons), Dr Mehmet Oz and Dr Michael Roizen, we lose about one tenth of our brain cells by the time we turn 65; we also lose a lot of our problem-solving capabilities. The answer is to keep learning throughout our lives.

“When you increase your learning during life, you decrease the risk of developing memory-related problems… You have to challenge your mind – even making it a little uncomfortable by pushing yourself to learn tasks that may not come naturally. Doing tough tasks reinforces the neural connections that are important to preserving memory.”

12pm: Get Protected

Popping out for that lunch meeting? Remember to re-apply sunscreen (because we know you apply each morning).

much of our skin damage is from short bursts of exposure, like hanging out the washing…

Experts reckon that while intense bursts of sun are a bad idea, much of the damage that shows up on our skins is from accumulated short bursts, like when you’re sitting in traffic, walking to the car, hanging out the washing and so on. The answer, then, is to carry SPF with you and apply before you go out.

2:30 pm: Stress Less

Okay, okay. You’re tired of hearing the “stress is bad for you” message. We are, too. Plus, it’s not like we can all opt out and go and live in the mountains making wind chimes for a living.

Stress is an unavoidable part of modern life, but when you consider what it does to the body, it really is worth finding ways to manage its impact on your bodies. A team at the University of California in the US found that stress makes your cells age faster, putting you at higher risk for age-related diseases earlier in life. In fact, the cells of people who are stressed, age up to 50 percent faster than those who are more chilled.

6pm: Hit the Gym

Countless studies have shown that exercise is a great way to keep ageing at bay.

An article published by the UK Daily Mail suggested regular exercise can slow down ageing by up to 12 years. The article recommended sports such as cycling and running as having the best effects, with the added benefits of maintaining muscle strength, balance and co-ordination later in life.

8pm: Breathe through your Nose

Nitric oxide (NO) is found in the highest levels in the nasal pharynx, say Oz and Roizen. Why should you care? It turns out this gas promotes wakefulness, keeps your skin younger, acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, has a calming effect and helps keep open the arteries. That’s why nasal breathing and meditation are so important, they say. “The flow of air that happens when you breathe through your nose allows very rich sources of nitric oxide to be fuel-injected into your system.” So take a deep breath.

9pm: Switch Off

Despite living in the 21st century, our brains are still hardwired to when we lived in caves. In other words, we’re designed to work when the sun is out and sleep when it’s dark. You may have the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” attitude to slumberland, but you could be doing yourself a huge disservice.

To help your body switch to sleep mode, turn off everything electrical, especially if it emits light…

Aside from simply giving your body a chance to rest, when you sleep, your body releases melatonin, which is a strong antioxidant, explains Lipman. “It boosts your immune system and some studies show that it can even fight ageing,” he adds. It also declines after you hit 40, which is why you need to create the right environment to ensure you get as much as you can. In order to trigger melatonin production, you need to ensure your bedroom is a dark, restful place. That’s why Lipman recommends you have an “electronic sundown” – that is, you turn off everything electrical, especially if it emits light – to help your body switch to sleep mode and make the most of its in-built anti-ageing mechanisms. That means PVRing stuff that comes on after 10pm.

2am: Get to Work

Some skincare fundis suggest that your skin cannot tell the difference between day and night, so you clearly don’t need separate products. Other experts disagree. According to researchers from Clarins, your skin’s renewal peaks between 2am and 4am in the morning. It’s essential, then, to provide your skin with the tools it needs to boost this renewal process. Your day skincare product should be about protecting, while your night routine should be about repairing.

Text by Nicole Sparrow. This article was taken from the June 2010 edition of Longevity.


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