To say the anti-aging market is big would be an understatement. According to a recent report from Zion Market Research, the global anti-aging market was US $140.3 billion in 2015, and it is projected to reach US $216.52 billion in 2021. Clearly, people are interested in finding products and services that help ward off, delay, or prevent aging.
What are people buying that is causing them to dig so deep into their wallets and pockets? Perhaps a more important question is, do any of these products or services actually work and are they safe?
The second question is a challenging one, given the enormous number of anti-aging options available and the lack of verifiable and accurate research to determine whether they are effective and safe. So-called anti-aging drugs, serums, lotions, hormone treatments, and supplements, as well as procedures such as face lifts (and any other body part you can lift, tighten, or otherwise change), injections, and chemical peels, among others, are all touted as ways to look younger longer or fight the aging process.
If, however, you prefer a completely natural approach to helping ward off the effects of aging, you have an impressive list from which to choose. They may not be as sexy (or expensive) as the products and services mentioned, but they can not only work to slow aging but improve overall health and well-being as well.
Research has shown that lifestyle choices have a significant impact on how we age. In fact, experts report that “the genetic influences on aging may be highly overrated, with lifestyle choices exerting far more important effects on physical aging.” Which lifestyle choices are we talking about and what steps should you take?
Smoking and sun exposure. These two factors have been named as the “most notable” external issues that influence degree of aging. Therefore, not smoking or stopping immediately is recommended. Sun exposure should be limited to what is needed for vitamin D production (about 20 minutes four days a week of unprotected exposure), and use of sunscreen all other times. [Editor’s Note: Goddess Garden makes mineral based sunscreens and has a line skin care formulated to counteract the effects of sun exposure.]
Stress management. People who are stressed “can appear up to 5 years older, 10 years if they don’t manage stress or make changes to their lives,” according to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, professor at Columbia University. Signs of stress and tension are noticeable on the face, so it’s time to adopt a stress management plan that erases those signs or at least delays their arrival. Find one or more things that you enjoy and that work for you-yoga, deep breathing, meditation, dancing, tai chi, massage, sauna, visualization-and make it a part of your daily routine.
Sleep. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night is recommended to fight aging. That’s because the body conducts repair and recovery efforts while you snooze. During shut-eye, the skin makes collagen, which prevents sagging, and blood circulation to the skin is enhanced. Lack of sufficient sleep can even cause the corners of your mouth to droop. [Editor’s Note: NeoCell has a complete line of collagen and hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture and help the skin make more collagen.]
Eating habits. Two nutritional approaches top the list when it comes to anti-aging: the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet. The first diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and beans, olive oil, fish, and nuts and seeds; the second is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets and emphasizes 10 brain-healthy foods found in both diet plans. MIND has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by an average of 53 percent.
Calorie restriction. Thousands of studies conducted over nearly 80 years have shown that a diet with restricted calories (but still rich in nutrients) can significant extend the life span of animals, including monkeys. Some experts say that practicing calorie restriction (30% less calories consumed) for just five days per month, and repeated as needed, is “safe, feasible and effective in reducing risk factors for aging and age-related diseases.”
Anti-aging creams. To help battle crow’s feet and fine wrinkles and lines, consider using an anti-aging cream you make yourself using all natural ingredients. There are scores of recipes from which to choose, such as one that combines calendula oil and infusion with several other essential oils to result in an all-natural anti-aging cream. Experiment!
Supplements. Antioxidants in general are arguably all anti-aging nutrients, as they fight free radicals that are associated with cell damage and aging. However, some are more potent and possess special qualities that move them to the top of the list. One of them is pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), which has a positive impact on the formation of new mitochondria, the power and energy centers of your cells. Mitochondria also are believed to play a major role in aging. PQQ also works with genes that are directly involved with healthy metabolism, cell proliferation, and normal body weight.
Another anti-aging supplement to consider is lipoic acid, which also has a huge impact on mitochondria. By providing your body with extra potent antioxidants such as lipoic acid, you may be able to help slow the aging process. New research also shows that lipoic acid “reverses age-associated loss of neurotransmitters and their receptors, which can underlie its effects on cognitive functions.”
If doing 30 minutes of facial exercises every other day could make you look younger, would you give it a try? The findings of a team of researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago may motivate you. They evaluated the impact of doing facial exercises in 27 women aged 40 to 65 over 20 weeks. The women were taught 32 facial exercises they could do at home: 30 minutes daily for 8 weeks, and then 30 minutes every other day for 12 weeks.
By the end of the study, dermatologists noted that the participants looked nearly three years younger, and the women themselves said they were satisfied and saw a noticeable difference in their face. The improvement was attributed to muscle growth that counteracted the effects of loosening skin and thinning of facial fat.
If 30 minutes sounds like too much, then you might want to consider some of the other many facial exercises that can be found on the internet. One great thing about facial exercises (also referred to as face yoga) is that they can be done just about anywhere-try doing them while driving, watching TV, working at the computer, doing housework, or gardening.
HIIT. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been popular because it is an effective way to burn calories, boost the metabolism, and build muscle in as little as 20 minutes per session. Now researchers at Mayo Clinic say HIIT can reverse signs of aging at the cellular level. Three groups of volunteers were evaluated for three months: those who did HIIT (high-intensity cycling), strength training with weights, or combined strength training and cycling.
After three months, those in the HIIT group showed the greatest benefit at the cellular level, with a 49 percent to 69 percent increase in the ability of organelles in cells to take in oxygen and produce energy. The biggest benefit was seen in older participants. These organelles deteriorate with age, so keeping them healthy can reverse some signs of age-related decline.
Strengthening exercises. Consider pumping iron to ward off aging. According to fitness guru Bob Greene, author of 20 Years Younger and Oprah’s trainer, doing the right kind of weight training can help you feel decades younger than you are. Well-planned weight training causes minute tears in your muscles, which then causes the body to produce stronger, thicker muscle fibers. This approach reduces the risk of injury while also increasing stamina.
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