How well are you ageing?
It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle and change the way your body is ageing! You can benefit from healthy habits at any age so there is no excuse; you can hit the brakes!
Research tells us that 85% of chronic diseases in our older years are due to poor diet, lack of exercise and our own lifestyle choices. In this article, we map out how you can slow down the process of ageing by setting some goals around nutrition; movement and lifestyle to kick start your journey to looking and feeling younger!
1. Conduct a food overhaul
Consuming high-fat, high-sugar processed food has a strong effect on accelerating ageing. So, ditch those unnecessary processed foods by conducting a food overhaul.
Check your fridge and kitchen cupboards to remove anything which contains unhealthy or processed ingredients you can’t understand immediately. Think carefully as you replace your items. You want to replace processed foods like crisps and sweets with nuts, fruit and seeds. Switch to fresh fruit instead of tinned and stop covering your salad in a shop-bought dressing, use fresh lemon or just a drizzle with olive oil.
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Here is a fantastic rule and one which we should all live by. Find an eating plan that offers a long term balance which you will be able to maintain, rather than an extreme diet.
By basing 90% of your eating habits on unprocessed whole foods and eating smaller balanced portions will allow you to enjoy treats occasionally and still achieve excellent health. If you are not sure where to start, take a look at our article A Beginners Guide to Healthy Eating.
You are looking to replace all foods that have been removed with whole foods as much you can. By choosing foods that are unprocessed and close to their natural state is arguably the most effective way to enhance the overall quality of your diet. Preparing meals from scratch, using fresh produce is a great way to start.
2. Nosh on high-quality protein
A key part of the ageing process is the depletion of lean muscle mass. As it reduces, it can leave your body weaker and less able to enjoy life to the full. Protein is massively important in helping your body maintain good lean muscle. We are not talking about eating a rib-eye twice a week. It is about eating healthy proteins in a balanced way.
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Protein is particularly important for women in the perimenopause and menopause state. As the Oestrogen levels plummet, the body finds it more difficult to maintain muscle and bone mass.
Switch out red meat and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and sausages. Instead, add into your diet: beans, legumes and pulses; lean meat like turkey, chicken and ostrich plus plenty of white fish. You can also give your breakfast an overhaul with our favourite superfood; the humble egg.
3. Ditch refined sugars
Keep your brain in tiptop condition and avoid the potential onset of diabetes by ditching refined sugars. Added sugars are just empty calories and refined sugars can be hidden in lots of our favourite foods. So, when you look in your cupboard after your food overhaul, if you are still stashing ketchup; stir in sauces; tinned fruit and regular pasta then you need to look again. It’s not just white bread, cakes and sugary drinks like cola that are high in refined sugars; many of the nation’s most popular foods are harbouring these baddies.
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Sometimes manufacturers hide the added sugar contents in their ingredients as something else so always check the label. Look out for and avoid: corn sweetener; high-fructose corn syrup; evaporated cane juice; agave nectar; cane crystals; invert sugar; or any kind of fructose; dextrose; lactose; maltose or syrup.
Try switching out white carbohydrates like bread, pasta and rice for wholewheat or brown options. For example: brown or wild rice replaces plain white rice; white bread becomes wholemeal; change your pasta to wholewheat, you could even go gluten free! If you are feeling adventurous then have a go at making your own healthy wholewheat pasta, it’s much easier than you think and a fun activity you can do with the whole family.
4. Stay hydrated
We already know that by keeping our water content high in our bodies we can relieve fatigue; stay focused and think more clearly; reduce headaches and flush out waste and nasty toxins. Did you know staying hydrated also helps to slow the ageing process in your body? This is because your cells and organs have to work much harder when you are dehydrated, causing them to age faster. You need your cells and organs to operate at a healthy level, which keeps your skin glowing and your organs working at their optimum level.
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As we age, our body tends to dry up. By the time we are in adulthood, our body water content has gone from 78%, down to around 60% and by the time we retire it is down to just 50%.
Drinking a large glass of water when you first wake up helps your body flush out toxins which can improve your complexion and skin radiance. It’s also advised to stay hydrated throughout the day by enjoying a glass of water between or with your meals. It’s really easy, just keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to form a habit!
5. Sip on green tea
Green tea has been shown to be the most effective agent against skin inflammation and cancerous changes in the skin, which means drinking green tea can help to prolong your skin’s health and youthful appearance.
Green tea contains both polyphenols and catechin; powerful natural antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralise ‘free radicals’ (a term scientists use to describe a damaged skin cell). When free radicals attach themselves to healthy skin cells it triggers an enzyme in the skin that breaks down collagen; which our body needs to keep our skin young and healthy.
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It’s good to understand the difference between caffeine; decaffeinated and caffeine-free when choosing which Green Tea you want to enjoy! When looking at the label, if your choice of tea is decaffeinated, it means the product has undergone a process to strip most, but not all, of the caffeine out of it. This process still leaves residual caffeine. Caffeine-free literally means that all ingredients in your tea choice occur in nature without caffeine which avoids any further processing. So if you want to switch to caffeine-free, always check the label.
Swap your morning coffee or English tea with a green tea. Go organic if you can. Remember, to check the label, if you want to drink your green tea in the evening, opt for caffeine-free.
6. Take a vitamin
When it comes to anti-ageing, vitamins E and C are best friends. They work together to protect your skin against UV damage.
The lesser known, vitamin K, is proven to make your skin look healthy, youthful and glowing and rid you of any dark eye circles.
Vitamins also play an important role on what is happening on the inside. Vitamin D is especially important for people over the age of 40 since studies have shown that, in some people, a lack of Vitamin D can contribute towards the onset of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
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It is recommended that you always ask your doctor before taking a supplement. Your doctor can recommend a blood test to find out which (if any) vitamins or minerals you may be deficient in.
Movement is medicine
7. Get walking
Sitting too much is known to raise health risks. If you work at your desk all day, you need to find other ways to boost your daily steps. By adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could add another 3000 steps to your daily average.
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Start monitoring the number of steps you take daily. Use your phone or a fitness monitor and check your step count at the end of every day on the device. Do this for a week to find your average. Your goal should be to start at around 5000 steps and work upwards on a weekly basis. If you want to include your daily exercise routine in your step count, you will need to invest in a fitness monitor.
8. Improve your body strength
If you want to reverse your age at the genetic level, resistance training is the way to go! This type of exercise improves the strength of your muscles and optimizes your endurance level. You may do it by integrating resistance bands, light weights, bars, dumbbells, and similar items into your standard work out. Battle Ropes are also a great versatile training tool that you can use to work your entire body and improve your cardiovascular conditioning.
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Ageing produces change in every single cell, tissue and organ producing a negative impact on our body. Research shows that by keeping our body strong through exercise, we can stem the ageing process.
Don’t let age stop you! Start caring for your body strength and muscles. Challenge your muscles at least twice a week. Start with one to three sets of muscle resistance training and build up gradually. Invest in the right equipment from resistance bands; dumbbells or battle ropes. Read our article on working out at home to help you get started.
Create a more positive lifestyle
9. Put your sleep first
It’s so easy to slip into a later night routine, especially now we have Netflix in our lives; I mean who doesn’t love a box-set? However, significant sleep studies carried out in America have found that people who go to bed late at night on a regular basis are often overwhelmed with negative thoughts and anxiety. It’s a proven fact: a tired body equals a tired mind!
When we are sleep deprived, it really is as if the brain is reverting to more primitive behaviour, regressing in terms of the control humans normally have over their emotions. This can lead to irrational thoughts or behaviour and heightened stress which ages both your skin and your vital organs.
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A good ‘balanced’ snack an hour before bed is a great way to feed and protect your bodies muscles while you sleep. You could enjoy a banana topped with a little Greek yogurt and seeds.
We want you to improve your sleeping pattern over a period of a month. If you have a fitness monitor then it would be a great idea to wear it at night for a week to establish your existing pattern and the quality of your sleep. Once you know the quality of sleep you are getting, you can introduce some new routines. Why not try 15 minutes of yoga and meditation before bed or bringing your lights-out time forward an hour. You could even use a dehumidifier to release some sleep-inducing oils. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep a record of how much quality sleep you are getting and also whether your mood has improved!
10. Reduce your alcohol intake
It’s no surprise that enjoying a few beers or a glass or two of wine a few times a week isn’t necessarily healthy. But you may not be aware how much it can potentially age you. As you age, your body cannot process alcohol quickly enough, meaning the booze stays in your system for longer. If you drink every day, this will build up in your bloodstream making your liver work much harder to detoxify your body.
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Research has shown a direct correlation to giving up alcohol for a month or more and an improved health span. Those alcohol-free days can lower your risk of chronic illness and boost your heart health!
Plan how you want to reduce your alcohol intake and write it down and don’t be afraid to get some help from a professional if it seems too daunting. Maybe you are planning to cut out alcohol during the week or go for a full 30 days or more without a glass of wine. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a substitute healthy drink ready to get you over the first hurdle.
11. Nurture friendships
Our friends are there to pick us up when we fall and celebrate our successes. They are endless sources of support, understanding and joy. These points are obvious. What you may not know is that by surrounding yourself with good friends actually has a beneficial impact on your health as you get older. Friends can help you feel like you have a purpose in life; reduce cognitive decline and improve overall well-being.
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Research indicates that while humans are capable of handling up to 150 relationships, we typically have just five very close connections and an additional 10 people we consider close. These are the family and friends who truly know us, warts and all; the people with whom we can discuss anything. Nearly all the emotional and physical benefits we derive from human relationships come from these 15 people.
The benefits of a true friendship must be earned. So, take time away from social media and give your 15 close friends a call. In fact, set up a regular time to see your friends. If they are further away, make sure you regularly FaceTime. Most importantly, share your feelings; be honest and listen. Being a great listener makes you a great friend!
12. Bring a positive outlook
Banish those negative thoughts as an optimistic outlook could really extend your life expectancy. According to a US Study, positive people were more likely to live to the age of 85 or more. The theory is that optimists may find it easier to control emotions so can protect themselves from any stressful situations. Evidence suggests that more optimistic people tend to set goals but also have the confidence to reach them.
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It is evident that pessimistic people often struggle with stress and depression. Stress impacts on the immune system, so there is a possibility that their bodies have less ability to deal with illness; infections and are more likely to suffer with premature cellular ageing, which can lead to diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
We know it can seem difficult to switch on positivity. That is why, by using regular meditation and yoga practice, we can help to realign our inner strength and core. We would also suggest reading positivity books like The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. By focusing on the the positives in any situation, it can have an amazing effect on your body and mind!
The bottom line
Ageing is about much more than your appearance. Society has become increasingly fixated on hiding or erasing the visual effects of ageing: wrinkles; age spots; saggy skin and grey hair. However, the human body ages from the inside. In fact, it affects every single cell in our bodies, which has a direct impact on our health.
You have a choice. If you want to extend your health span; feel fitter; be happy and healthy for longer, you need to improve your body from the inside out. Eat well; exercise often and have a positive outlook!
The Six Pack Revolution is a 75 day transformation programme, where we coach you on fitness, mind-set and nutrition.
Founded by Scott Harrison, the programme includes everything you need to get you into the best shape of your life. You’ll learn how to cook delicious recipes, and complete daily and weekly fitness challenges within a group of like-minded people, all looking to achieve the same outcome as YOU!
All our Six Pack Revolution coaches have been through the programme. They started where you are today and are proof that the programme works, and proof that anyone can do it too!
One of the best things about The Six Pack Revolution is the support network. You’ll get to know your new fitness family through a private Facebook Group. This is ‘The Hub’ where others in the group share their experiences, results and tips on overcoming obstacles.
We believe in you, and can’t wait to welcome you to the revolution!