Skip to main content

Everyday Habits That Lead to Aging

When it comes to everyday behaviors that lead to aging, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking are fairly well-known offenders at this point — you don't need to be told they're bad for your health and appearance. But did you know there are other, less obvious factors that might be causing us to age prematurely? You might be surprised at how the most seemingly innocent habits might actually be causing significant damage to your DNA and undermining your otherwise healthy lifestyle. 

Read on to find out which everyday habits could be making you older—and how to mitigate the potential damage—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Stress Causes Aging

stressed woman

Stress is the enemy of your telomeres, those important little caps at the end of each strand of DNA responsible for protecting our chromosomes. While telomeres naturally shorten as we grow older, that disintegration is accelerated by chronic stress. So yes — while being stressed out all the time could be aging you, it doesn't have to be a given. 

"One of my top recommendations for stress relief is a powerful technique that combines the principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or 'Tapping' that has been found to lower the stress hormone cortisol by up to 43%, significantly more than traditional talk therapy or resting," says Melanie Keller ND, naturopathic doctor.

Exercise and meditation are also highly effective methods of dealing with stress. 

RELATED: The #1 Cause of Visceral Fat, According to Science


A Bad Diet Is Bad News

If you are what you eat, then consuming a diet which is made up of industrial-made trans fats, sugar and overly-processed junk food is a recipe for fast-tracked aging. 

"Processed sugar, carbohydrates and excess alcohol are known to accelerate inflammation," says Keller. 

Chronic inflammation is not only a major cause of premature aging (or "inflammaging"), it can also lead to a host of damaging health conditions including but not limited to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, and heart disease. By changing your diet to one that is mainly focused on green leafy vegetables, oily fish, fruit, nuts, and olive oil, you can offset the occasional naughty indulgence and help prevent diet-related age issues.

RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia, Say Experts


Not Getting Enough Sleep Is Harming More Than Your Mood

hispanic woman at home bedroom lying in bed late at night trying to sleep suffering insomnia sleeping disorder or scared on nightmares looking sad worried and stressed

Consistent lack of sleep is another factor that leads to damaging inflammation and premature aging. Not only does poor sleep negatively impact your skin, making you look older than you actually are, it's one of the worst offenders for accelerated aging — especially where your brain is concerned.  

"Brain aging is described by the interplay of our sleep patterns and changes in the brain's garbage cleaning abilities," Keller explains. "Insufficient sleep leads to an increase of the brain's garbage concentration and may explain an underlying mechanism behind healthy or unhealthy brain aging."

The CDC recommends healthy adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep every day, while teenagers should get between 8-10 hours (no, they're not just lazy, it's science!). 

RELATED: I'm a Doctor and Warn You Don't Go Here Anymore


Limit Sun Exposure

Woman covering her face to block the sun light.

Too much exposure to UV rays is one of the absolute worst things you can do in terms of aging, be it by direct sunlight or using a sunbed. While some UVB rays are necessary for the production of vitamin D, excessive exposure is extremely harsh on your DNA and unfortunately the damage continues long after you are no longer in the sun. Protect yourself by following CDC guidelines about wearing protective clothing, wearing sunscreen, and avoiding direct sunlight during hours when UV rays are strongest.

"An over or under exposure to the sun are risk factors in aging," says Keller. "Over exposure has been associated with increased wrinkles and an advanced appearance in age, while an under exposure to the sun has been associated with lower vitamin D levels and an increased risk for chronic health problems."

RELATED: Most Common Health Problems After Age 60, Say Doctors


Lack of Exercise Will Age You — Fast!

Woman sitting on bed looking at phone bored and in a bad mood

Regular exercise is instrumental in keeping you young, healthy, and happy, whereas little to no exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases and contributes to the speedy demise of those crucial little telomeres we discussed earlier. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can make a huge impact on your rate of aging and appearance.

"Exercise reduces age-related oxidative damage and chronic inflammation, improves mitochondrial function, and insulin sensitivity," says Keller. "It's important to consider different types of exercise to improve different aspects of physical functioning such as adequate weight bearing exercise as it relates to osteoporosis awareness and prevention." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post Everyday Habits That Lead to Aging appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

Reentry Anxiety Is Real - Why You May Experience It as Stay-at-Home Measures Ease

When the coronavirus stay-at-home orders began in March, most people's lives changed in immeasurable ways. At the time, we were bombarded with (admittedly, very helpful) advice on how to cope with anxiety , should we experience it during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place. But with restrictions slowly starting to ease in many parts of the world, there are many people who have seen an increase in anxiety all over again, this time about leaving their homes and reentering society. Posts about people's growing anxiety have been popping up around social media for the past couple of weeks, and it's given rise to the term "reentry anxiety." We wanted to find out exactly what reentry anxiety is, whether it's normal to be experiencing trepidation about leaving your stay-at-home orders, and how to cope if you are feeling anxious. What Is Reentry Anxiety? The short answer is that "post-lockdown anxiety is real," said Dr. Balu Pitchiah ,