What makes us look older?
Looking younger is an age-old quest, but there are some obvious signs of aging that are familiar to us all.
These might include thinning hair, age spots, wrinkles or bags under the eyes.
But there are also a number of more subtle telltale signs that hint at aging. For example, the descent of cheek fat away from the eyelid fat compartments will lead to the exposure of the bony rim of the lower orbit that gives a sad or tired look.
And quite surprisingly, we lose height as we age, you can be as much as half an inch shorter in your later years. Which can make us look less statuesque.
We are not concerned here with the quest for eternal youth, but rather look at subtle ways you can look and feel more healthy and vibrant.
Looking younger and feeling great
One of the much-touted ways that celebrities endorse for looking younger is drinking tons of water. And whilst it makes sense that hydrated skin is going be healthier, the scientific community believes the case for large quantities of water is over-stated.
For example, Heinz Valtin from the Dartmouth Medical School contests the idea that you need to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day.
Hydration is important. But our bodily requirements vary enormously in relation to body size, time of year and levels of physical activity.
It is best to stay hydrated throughout the day. It is a good practice to carry around a water bottle with you as often as possible. And try to get in the habit of having water by your bed too.
The best way to know if you are properly hydrated is by checking your urine. It should be clear or straw coloured, as opposed to yellow or orange.
Physiological aspects of looking younger
As you age, your skin quality changes, the bone structure changes, the volume of subcutaneous tissue diminishes. All of these factors contribute the appearance of age regardless of actual wrinkles.
A great way to look and feel younger is to maintain good muscle tone and keep your bones strong. If you workout, be sure to include a resistance element to your routine. It is tempting sometimes to focus purely on cardio-vascular activities such as cycling or the treadmill, but toned muscles do help give a youthful appearance.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to weight training. Pilates is an excellent form of training that involves resistance. And it has the added bonus of not only strengthening the muscles and bones but also helping to correct posture. This can help to rectify the loss of height we referred to earlier.
Pilates is also great for increasing your flexibility and the range of movement of your joints. We associate lack of mobility and flexibility as a sign of aging. So intuitively, being more nimble on your feet helps give the impression of youthfulness.
So before you consider the surgeon’s knife! Consider staying hydrated, picking up some weights or even booking your first Pilates session. You’ll feel younger in no time – and will certainly have more energy.