I can remember the first time I heard the expression Youth is wasted on the young. It came from a 40-something character sitting on a beach during an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. At the time, I was too young to understand the meaning, but for some reason, the curious sentiment stuck with me. Now, I get it. The vitality, fitness level, and lightheartedness of youngsters can become enviable as we age. And although it’s impossible to return to those carefree days, there are natural ways to reclaim or retain youthful attributes, regardless of our current age.
We live in a beauty-obsessed society; Americans spent more than $9 billion on plastic surgery for purely aesthetic reasons in 2020. (And who knows how much we invested in beauty products!) With this kind of money being spent on little procedures, they can start to become the norm. This kind of normal can cause us to forget the fact that the human body is a revitalizing marvel. Countless rejuvenating processes are going on at all times in our bodies below the level of our awareness. We were designed to heal ourselves with proper support; our cells work unceasingly to help us feel and look better. No liposuction, tummy tucks, or facelifts required.
After many years of studying the workings of a healthy body, I want to share a few of the best ways I’ve found to support my body’s efforts to help me look and feel younger.
- Daily Stretching – Dr. Gil Hedley, Board President for the Institute for Anatomical Research, produced a YouTube series called The Integral Anatomy Series: Deep Fascia & Muscle. Working with a cadaver, he shares The Fuzz Speech, demonstrating how fascia creates a fuzzy connection to muscles as we sleep. When we stretch each morning, the fuzz dissolves, he says. But when we forget to stretch or refrain from stretching due to injury, the fuzz gets thicker and thicker, resulting in stiffness, limited movement, and chronic pain often associated with growing old. To continue enjoying the full expression of the physical body throughout life, stretching each day is a must.
- Proper Hydration – Gina Bria, Anthropologist & Founder of the Hydration Foundation, has done much to shed light on the critical importance of hydration. This is an example of the extraordinary information you can find on her website: Fascia has recently been discovered . . . to be not only our connective tissue, holding us up and together like a crocheted sack, but a hidden irrigation system, a hidden electrical system, conducted by water, that sends cell-to-cell communication instantly. To work well, it must be fully hydrated. Most of us go through our lives chronically dehydrated, which can present as low energy, various adverse conditions, disease, pain, and premature aging. (For more on this, check out my article Hydration – No, Really.) Additionally, Dr. Christiane Northrup, in an interview with Gina Bria, says that properly moisturizing the skin begins with internal hydration. Mineralizing water with a bit of fresh lemon juice or a pinch of Himalayan salt, eating fruits, getting outside, and taking Epsom salt baths can all contribute to better skin health and cellular communication.
- Fasting – Fasting has been a part of many spiritual traditions for eons, and for good reason. In his life-changing book, Conscious Eating, Dr. Gabriel Cousens writes, During a fast, digestive enzymes are relieved from their digestive role and mobilized for the cleansing and rejuvenation of the body . . . rapidly removing dead and dying cells and toxins. Aging occurs when we have more cells die than are being built. Autophagy is the process described by Dr. Cousens, and according to Nutrition Expert Naomi Whittel, the process starts in as few as 16 hours. Intermittent fasting for this period of time could be a good starting point for first-timers who have their physician’s consent.
- Protect your Telomeres – In an article on NutritionFacts.org, Dr. Michael Greger, author of the book How Not to Die, shares that a plant-based diet is foundational for longer telomeres, the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes that typically shorten with age. Other lifestyle factors, like normalizing weight and regular exercise are important, but without the right kinds of fuel, the telomeres continue to shorten, research shows. Dr. Greger writes, Swapping just 1% of saturated fat calories in our diet (for high-fiber plant foods) can add nearly a whole year of length onto our telomeres. By slowing the shortening of the telomeres, he says, we can slow the aging process.
- Up your DHEA – In his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra, MD, discusses how DHEA, a hormone that is depleted by stress over the course of a lifetime, is found in elevated levels among regular meditators of any age. Studies show DHEA improves physical and psychological well-being, muscle strength and bone density, and reduces body fat and age-related skin atrophy stimulating procollagen/sebum production. (It also) reduces total cholesterol and improves sexual satisfaction and insulin sensitivity. But, according to Dr. Chopra, oral DHEA supplementation is not very beneficial due to it being broken down in the digestive tract. From other sources, I’ve read that, in addition to meditation, DHEA levels may be naturally increased by sufficient rest, regular exercise, time in Nature, and a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think walnuts & chia seeds.)
Reading through these tips, I’m noticing parallels of a healthy diet and regular movement. The bottom line, I believe, is this: youthful aging results from a commitment to a lifestyle that supplies your body with what it actually needs. Making good choices each day brings about beneficial ingrained habits. Soon, you’ll realize, trying to be healthy doesn’t feel like extra effort – it’s just what you do. And your body will thank you.
Aging doesn’t have to be a dreaded or lamented process compensated for by plastic surgery. Healthier skin, a stronger body, increased energy, and a joyful disposition can be ours throughout our time on the planet by making daily choices contributing to optimal body function. Cheers to the phenomenal design of our bodies!
Blessings for Youthful Aging,
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.