Ageing is a gradual process and does not happen over a few days or months. Contrary to popular belief, living longer and healthier isn’t simply a matter of having the genes of a tortoise. In fact, heredity counts for about 30% of the difference in how well most people age. Your susceptibility to wrinkles, flab, muscle loss and health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis is strongly linked with what you eat, how much you exercise, your stress levels and exposure to toxins and harsh chemicals. In short, the lifestyle you’ve followed since you were young reflects on your skin, hair, joints, heart-every part of your body and mind. Here are some daily to-dos to help you stay beautiful and youthful always.
Eat clean, keep hydrated.
Drink a couple of glasses of water as soon as you wake up. This helps to cleanse your system. Follow it up with a glass of lemonade or green tea. Kick-start your day with a healthy, wholesome breakfast. Have small but frequent meals through the day. Keep the dinner light; try to finish it by 8 pm.
Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Go for wholegrains and complex carbs and reduce your intake of refined carbs. Get your protein from beans, lentils, lean meats and fish. Keep fat intake to a minimum-especially the artery-clogging trans fats. Ditch junk, high-calorie foods, as well as packaged foods that come with additives, artificial colour and preservatives. These speed up ageing. Consume organic foods as far as possible to reduce your exposure to toxins. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water through the day.
Exercise is perhaps the best anti-ageing tool. It has a positive effect right down to your DNA. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk, run, cycle or swim for cardio benefits. Add some strength training. A mind-body practice, yoga is hugely beneficial. It helps to de-stress and calm you. Moreover, regular practice improves balance, flexibility and posture-all of which can help tackle the physical effects of ageing.
Find time for yourself and engage in activities that make you happy and help you relax. Meet friends, watch movies, listen to music, find a hobby. Plan vacations at least twice a year. Practise meditation and pranayama to calm the mind. Get 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night.
Pamper yourself with body massage, foot spas and facials. These are not just relaxing, they also rejuvenate you. Whole body massages, especially when done with medicated oils, for example, can reduce pain, improve joint mobility as well as circulation and promote sleep.
Back to nature.
Avoid chemical exposure through harsh cosmetics and other products. Use natural products as far as possible. Apply overripe fruits and vegetable peels, yoghurt, milk cream, honey and besan as skin packs. Oil your hair and body 2-3 times a week before taking a shower.
Ditch bad habits.
Smoking is bad, bad, bad. Besides its known links to cancer, lung and heart disease, smoking is also associated with premature skin ageing, speeding the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, curb alcohol intake. If you must drink, leave it at a celebratory glass of wine occasionally.
Panchakarma treatments that aim to cleanse the system when started early and done on a regular basis is known to delay the onset of ageing. Make sure you visit a reputed Ayurveda clinic to get one based on your constitution and symptoms.