The Secret to Feeling — and Looking — Young

October 2, 2017 | Patricia Wuest

Hint: It’s not the beauty products you buy.

There is no reason for senior adults not to love their age. Getting your rest, eating properly, exercising, and developing a positive attitude will not only make you feel younger than you are — you’ll look better too. Follow this simple advice to tap into your inner fountain of youth! 

1) Get your beauty sleep. While older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults — seven to nine hours each night — seniors often report that they have trouble falling to sleep and staying asleep. There are definite benefits of a good night’s rest. Sleep boosts the production of collagen — the protein produced by our cells that helps “hold” the skin together — and helps prevents your skin from sagging. More collagen means skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle. However, it’s easier said than done for senior adults. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. Try creating a soothing ritual just before going to bed, like taking a bath or playing music. It will help you to fall asleep naturally. 

2) Eat healthy. You know what foods you should be eating — veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean protein — but is that what you’re actually putting in your mouth? You need good nourishment to feel and look your best. Make sure your fridge and pantry are packed with fish like salmon, purple or blue foods like blueberries, dark, leafy greens like spinach, and sprouted nuts and seeds like almonds. They will help you feel more energetic and ready to tackle what you’ve got planned for the day, but the vitamin C in veggies and fruits like broccoli, tomatoes and oranges also benefit collagen production. A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that women over 40 with the who had the highest levels of vitamin C in their diet were less likely to develop wrinkles than those who consumed lower levels. “Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have additional benefit for skin appearance in addition to other health outcomes in the population,” the study authors noted.  

3) Get the exercise glow. You’ll reduce wrinkle-inducing stress and gain a better mood when you exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to mean strenuous activity or loads of time spent at the gym. In fact, a 30-minute daily walk is one of the best ways to stay fit. Best of all, it doesn’t require any equipment or experience and you can do it anywhere. Studies show that even moderate amounts of exercise can make you feel and look young — no matter how many birthday candles are atop your cake. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario studied a small group of adults between ages 20 and 84. The people over age 40 who exercised frequently had skin that resembled the more supple skin of people in their 20s and 30s. The researchers, who say more research is needed, theorized that exercise creates body substances that help slow aging in skin.  

4) Be happy. How you feel about getting older can actually affect your mood. Remember, laughter is the best medicine for your mind and body. So instead of buying expensive anti-aging creams, try smiling more. A study from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin found that happy people have a more youthful appearance than those people who did not smile. 

5) Don’t act your age. Play with your grandkids, nieces, nephews, or a favorite pet. Pick up a long-neglected hobby or try a new hobby. It may sound silly, but playtime can add joy to life, relieve stress and improve cognitive abilities. 

6) Connect regularly with friends and family. Spend time with people you love and like. It may be a neighbor who you like to exercise with, a lunch date with an old friend, or shopping with your children. The benefits of social time with loved ones and friends will make you feel upbeat.

“With all the trees and the lake, it’s like living in the country.”

Lillie B

“I don’t have to cook, clean or wash my clothes. That’s the best!”

Margaret N

“The people are friendly; I love them all!”

Margaret B

“I’m just overjoyed to be here.”

Matt G

“You have to come and visit us, because it is beautiful.”

Lillie B