The start of a new year is the perfect time to improve your health through lifestyle changes. Choosing the right lifestyle changes can be tricky, though – you can only make a few sustainable changes at a time and some lifestyle changes are better than are others when it comes to making you feel more youthful and energized.
To help guide you, here are six lifestyle hacks you can easily integrate into your everyday life on New Year’s Day and throughout the entire year:
1. Treat yourself to monthly facials
Your face is your “window to the world” in that your face says a lot about your mood, your age and even your health. Older skin cells can cause premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dry, patchy areas. One main problem is that these older skin cells cannot regenerate, which means fresh, youthful skin cells can never take their place – and old skin cells make you look older.
A monthly facial can change all that. Your monthly facial should include both an exfoliant and a moisturizer so that you can remove old skin cells while simultaneously providing moisture to new skin cells. Routine facials help your skin regenerate cells more evenly to reduce patchy areas.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, I recommend Francesca Paige Skin, with locations in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
2. Do a 1-day liquid fast each week
Give your digestive tract a break with a 1-day liquid fast each week. Choose one day a week for your liquid fast. On that day, drink plenty of water and tea, along with vegetable and fruit juices. No solid food. Doing a liquid fast one day each week gently cleanses your intestines. It can also help you reset your metabolism and lose weight without drastically cutting calories throughout the week.
When I do my liquid fast, I like: Alkaline water with lemon, Fiber Plus power from Ortho Molecular Products mixed with apple juice, Carrot juice, an all-greens juice, apple + aloe + ginger juice, bone broth, and more water, water, water!
3. Make fruits and vegetables 75 percent of your diet
Fill your plate three-quarters full of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and spry. Along with grains, fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber, which acts somewhat like a toothbrush for your colon. The last quarter of your plate should be lean protein and healthy fats with a bit of grains.
Bonus lifestyle hack: Try to eat a rainbow of colors every day by consuming red, green, yellow, orange, and purple fruits and vegetables. “Eating the rainbow” helps you get the wide variety of vitamins and minerals you need for good health.
4. Get 8 or more hours of quality sleep every night
Most people sleep only 5 to 7 hours a night and that’s a simply not enough. Poor sleep can cause premature aging. Your body does so much crucial repair work while you sleep, such as healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. During the final stage of your sleep cycle, known as Stage 4 sleep, your body repairs DNA.
Depriving yourself of sleep can cause you to feel terrible and look older. When you are sleep-deprived, your body increases production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Excessive levels of cortisol can cause fat gain and inflammation and increase the risk of inflammatory disorders like arthritis and heart disease. Catching at least 8 hours of shuteye each night can help promote healing, reduce inflammation and keep cortisol levels in check.
The sleep you do get must be quality sleep, by the way. Tossing back and forth all night will not provide the health benefits you expect. Optimize this lifestyle hack with quality sleep in a cool, dark room, without electronics or other sources of light.
5. Stay balanced and limber
About one-quarter of all adults ages 65 and older fall each year, according to the National Council on Aging. The consequences of falling can be devastating, as falls are the number one cause of injuries for older adults. Falls are common – one older adult is treated in an emergency department every 11 seconds in the United States, and one older adult dies every 19 minutes from a fall.
Flexibility helps you recover from the slips, stumbles and slides that would normally end in a fall. As you get older, though, you lose flexibility. Older cartilage does not stretch as well as younger tissue, and older cartilage does not regenerate as quickly. This makes it harder to bend and squat, and it also increases your risk for fall-related injuries. Fortunately, you can incorporate a few life hacks that can keep you flexible and limber enough to reduce your chances of falling.
One simple lifestyle hack is to stand next to a wall and hold it with one hand; lift one foot and close your eyes. Hold this position for about a minute or as long as you can before switching to the other foot. Incorporate other stretching exercises into your daily routine – about 10 minutes or more of stretching exercises should do the trick.
6. Optimize key hormones
As we get older, the hormones we like to keep high get lower, and the hormones we like to keep low get higher. Lowered key hormones in men can reduce sex drive, weaken muscles and cause other unwanted effects of aging. Decreased hormone levels in women can cause wrinkles, fat gain, osteoporosis and more.
Optimizing key hormones in men and women is one of the best lifestyle hacks you can adopt in 2019. For more information and a longer list of lifestyle hacks to reduce the signs of aging, contact an Age Management physician.
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