What's aging you?
Many men ignore simple ways to keep their bodies strong and youthful.
Here are the main culprits for aging:
Read on for 9 easy tips to keep your body healthy and make your RealAge younger!
1. Eat foods that prevent heart disease
It's a no-brainer: Include fish in your meals each week.
Choose cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, haddock, mackerel, or tuna), which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that eating fish two or three times a week may reduce your risk of heart disease. Eating at least one serving of fish per week can make your RealAge up to 1.8 years younger. Be sure to meet your daily requirement for magnesium, too. Research indicates that men who get adequate magnesium from their diets have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don't get enough. Aim to get at least 400 milligrams of magnesium each day. Good sources include spinach and almonds (1 ounce has 20% of your magnesium for the day).
2. Prevent heart disease with exercise
A physical activity program that builds stamina, strength, and flexibility can make your RealAge nearly 3 years younger.
That doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the gym. Studies show that people who often engage in leisure-time physical activities, such as taking a bike ride or a brisk walk, have a lower risk of heart disease compared with those who spend their free time less actively. Two hours per week of easy fitness activities may decrease your heart disease risk by as much as 61%. That's right: Playing like a kid can help you stay young.
3. Get enough Vitamin D to prevent cancer
Lack of the "sunshine" vitamin has been linked to colon cancer, and studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to other cancers, as well. Your body makes most of its own vitamin D from the sun's UVB rays (in a complicated process involving your skin, liver, and kidneys), but because you want to avoid too much sun exposure, and foods -- even D-fortified ones -- may not deliver all you need, a daily vitamin D supplement is good insurance against a shortfall. Take 1,000 international units (IU) of supplemental vitamin D3 (that's the kind your body manufactures from the sun) if you're 60 or younger; 1,200 IU if you're over 60. It can make your RealAge up to 2.5 years younger.
4. Eat more antioxidants to dodge cancer
Fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables to meet this nutritional advice. Not only will you eat fewer calories, which helps keep your weight in check, you'll also stock up on cancer-fighting nutrients. The brighter the color of vegetables and fruit, the more antioxidants are packed inside. While research has failed to show that individual antioxidant supplements prevent cancer, the combinations found in whole foods can be beneficial. Most studies show a link between eating a diet with more fruit and vegetables and a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancers. Eating at least 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables daily can make your RealAge up to 4.4 years younger.
5. Use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) to your face and exposed body areas 30 minutes before you go outdoors. Use enough to fill at least two shot glasses. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or when you are sweating heavily. Also, cover up with a hat, long sleeves, and sunglasses whenever you spend an extended period of time outdoors. Even in warm weather, you'll stay cooler and more comfortable if your skin is shaded with light-colored, breathable fabrics. Minimize your sun exposure by scheduling outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid spending too much time in the sun during peak hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
6. Do regular self-exams to spot skin cancer
Perform routine self-examinations for skin cancer. Look for changes in the color, size, thickness, shape, or feel of a mole, freckle, or other mark. A new mole, or one that has irregular borders, has variable colors, or is larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter, should be examined by a doctor. Monthly skin self-exams and an annual total body screening by your doctor are important for the early detection of skin cancer.
7. Reduce stress for healthy work-life balance
Leave job stress at the office. A study suggests that stress at work may be even more detrimental to your personal relationships than work exhaustion, and chronic stress may increase your risk of heart disease. Fostering supportive, close personal relationships can help reduce stress and slow aging (managing your stress level can make your RealAge up to 2.4 years younger). Before you head home at the end of the day, take a few minutes to practice a stress-management technique, such as meditation or deep breathing. Also, take the scenic route home. Research suggests that viewing natural scenery helps reduce stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.
8. Laugh to reduce stress and lower blood pressure
Whether you watch a funny movie, attend a comedy show, or just share good times with people you care about, be sure to set aside some time for age-reducing belly laughs. Research has credited laughter with not only the power to reduce stress but also the ability to relieve pain, improve immunity, and lower blood pressure.
9. See your doctor for routine checkups
Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor's office, but to prevent health problems or catch them at an early stage, it's important to see your physician for regular physical exams, and visit the doc whenever you notice a change in your health. Make the most of your checkup by preparing for the appointment. Don't rely on your memory; write down any symptoms you are experiencing, even if they seem minor. For instance, if you have pain, track when it occurs and how long it lasts. Also bring a list of the medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you regularly take. Be sure to mention any chronic conditions, and be ready to answer questions about your diet and exercise habits.