35 healthy habits that keep you young

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Most people panic at the sight of wrinkles on their face and other signs of aging. While getting older is a fact of life, it doesn't have to cost you your looks or your health. What if we told you there is a way to fight the signs of aging? Yes, there are definitive ways to slow down the aging process while also improving your mental and physical health.

We all want to look younger and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles - without having to spend a fortune. Cosmetic products that are made with superfoods are a great option for anti-aging, but eating the actual superfoods has also proven to be just as effective.

The truth is, keeping yourself young is more than just enhancing your physical appearance. Don't you want to feel young too? After all, age is just a number. Think about your daily routine and your everyday habits - you might be aging yourself and not even know it.

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Get Up From Your Seat Often

"Most American spend the vast majority of their day sitting. This includes commuting to work, driving, sitting in front of a computer, watching television, eating, etc.," Alex Robles, MD, owner of whitecoattrainer.com explains. "This adds up to numerous hours of sedentary activity, which has been linked to obesity, metabolic abnormalities, and heart disease."

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Increase the Number of Steps You Take

"Similarly, we do a poor job of remaining active. If you work out one hour a day, four days a week, but are inactive the rest of the time, you are only 2 percent more active than a sedentary person," Robles says. "Increase the amount of walking that you do. This will keep your joints strong and mobile."

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Wake Up Early

"We have more willpower in the morning, so the wear and tear on your demeanor is lessened the more you get done," wellness expert and author of the upcoming book "Subconscious Power: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You've Always Wanted" Kimberly Friedmutter explains. "Youth and energy go hand-in-hand, so do your chores earlier rather than later."

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Drink Your Vegetables Every Day

"It is recommended that adults get 5-10 servings of vegetables every day," Robles suggests. "How many do you get? Simply make a smoothie of three vegetables and two fruits every morning to get your day started off right with numerous vitamins and minerals to keep your body youthful."

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Carry a Water Bottle

"More often than not, we live in a dehydrated state. Dehydration can cause weakness, lightheadedness and increased blood pressure," Robles says. "By carrying a quality water bottle with you at all times, you are giving yourself a constant reminder to fill up and drink. Water is necessary for every metabolic process in your body."

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Meditate

"Taking five minutes right before bed to sit in a peaceful, undisturbed position can do wonders for your mental health and your sleep quality," Robles suggests. "Focus on taking slow deep breaths and concentrating on being present in the moment rather the worries of tomorrow. Chronic stress will age you fast!"

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Stretch

"Different than working out, staying flexible and nubile keeps you active and with the movements of your youth," Friedmutter shares. "Practice meditation, sit under a tree or stretch while you're on the phone. Either way, being able to move freely keeps you young."

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Stop Slouching

The act of slouching includes lengthening and flexing your neck, a condition common to those stuck behind a desk all day. This can cause your skin to stretch, eventually leading to wrinkles. Fox News explains, "Practice good posture by checking it throughout the day: ear, shoulder, and hip should form a straight line when seated."

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Go to the Gym With a Purpose

Exercise is the key to youthfulness. "When you go to the gym, go with a purpose. Don't just show up and aimlessly work out. Have a plan and a reason for why you are performing those particular exercises," Robles suggests. "Write out a clearly defined goal, and do what you must to get closer to this goal. This will increase your chances of adhering to your routine and give you intrinsic motivation to continue it."

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Pursue Strength Training Twice a Week

"Engaging in strength training will help build and maintain muscle mass, which is a critical component to healthy aging," says Susan Bowerman, a registered dietitian for Herbalife Nutrition. "Muscle mass increases metabolism, which can help protect against age-related weight gain, and also helps to maintain bone mass, which also tends to decline with age."

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Perform Cardiovascular Exercise at Least 5 Times a Week for 30 Minutes

"Exercise that elevates your heart rate is not only good for your cardiovascular system, it's also helps to increase blood flow to the brain," Bowerman explains. "Regular exercise reduces your risk for cognitive decline as you age."

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Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

"If you were at a heathy weight when you are/were in your 20s, that's a good target weight for you to maintain throughout your life," Bowerman suggests. "Age-related weight gain can be slow and progressive, but can lead to obesity as we age, which then increases the risk for obesity-related chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes."

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Stop Avoiding Fat Like a Plague

"The media has given fat a bad rap. Fat doesn't make you fat. Chronic overeating and bad genetics do," Robles says. "Fat is essential to your body and provides the basis for hormone development and cell membrane function." Robles suggests swapping out those sweets for mixed nuts and avocados. "The omega-3s in these foods will keep your organs from getting old and weak," he says.

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Lower Your Cortisol

"Cortisol is the stress hormone. The more you have, the more you will age. In order to lower it, you need to sleep," Robles explains. "If you were to actually force yourself to get seven to eight hours every single night, you would be amazed at how great and youthful you will feel. You will be full of natural energy and not rely on caffeine all the time."

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Do Something New

"Interested in a hobby or new sport? Perhaps a new destination? Getting interested reinvigorates your curiosity, and nothing says youth like learning," suggests Friedmutter. "Maybe a new language can inspire you? Inspiration, curiosity and interest keep you looking and feeling fresh and youthful!"

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Self-Care

"When was the last time you focused on yourself? Mani-pedi, massage, tai chi, spray tan or meditative walk on the beach. Even a haircut for some is a stretch," Friedmutter says. "Keeping your grooming fresh and updated keeps you trendy and young."

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Quit Smoking

As if smoking isn't bad enough for you, add another reason to quit to your list - wrinkles. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking is associated with skin damage and increased wrinkling on not only your face, but other parts of your body, including your inner arms. They explain that the nicotine in cigarettes impairs the blood flow to your skin, ultimately resulting in accelerated aging.

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Remove Your Makeup

Unless you want a bacteria buildup, it's extremely important to remember to remove your makeup before you go to bed. Not doing so may cause a layer of dirt to form on your skin, resulting in the appearance of aging, acne and other skin related issues.

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Moisturize Your Neck and Chest

Next time you are going through your skincare routine, remember to include your chest and your neck. The skin on our neck and chest is just as delicate as the skin on our face. We are constantly moving our neck, stretching it in different directions and creating wrinkles without even knowing it. Make sure you are applying your daily moisturizer, sunscreen and anti-aging products.

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Apply Moisturizer With the Back of Your Hands

If you apply moisturizer with your fingers, you are irritating your skin and creating new signs of aging. Using the back of your hand to apply your moisturizer helps avoid any movements (stretching) that can age your face.

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Use Sunscreen Regularly

"Signs of premature aging show up on the face, but also on the hands, which are exposed to sunlight frequently," Bowerman says. "Wear sunscreen on your face, neck, arms and hands regularly to reduce the risk of sun damage, which adds years to appearance."

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Practice Facial Exercises

It may sound funny, but try puffing your cheeks and blowing the air out through your pouted lips. Facial exercises are a great way to help fight the signs of aging. Similar to yoga, facial exercises help move your muscles and tighten up their appearance. According to Byrdie, the "Forehead Smoother" is a great way to prevent wrinkles from occurring on your forehead. Just make a fist with both hands and place the middle and index finger knuckles in the center of your forehead. Now, apply pressure with your fists and slowly slide them out to each side. End this exercise by gently pressing your knuckles into your temples.

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Follow a Low-Information Diet

"Another source of stress (and thus aging) is the constant barrage of negative information we are fed from social media, the news, and magazines," Robles says. "Ninety-five percent of this information is useless to you and only serves to stress you out more. Only take in information that will benefit you and those around you."

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Reduce Your Intake of Sugary Foods and Highly Processed Carbohydrates

"These foods have a high glycemic index, which means they cause relatively large and rapid rises in your blood sugar after you eat them, as compared to whole grains like brown rice or quinoa," Bowerman explains. "A high-glycemic-load diet (one which contains a lot of high-glycemic foods) can cause damage to the collagen in your skin, which can lead to premature lines, wrinkling and aging of the skin."

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Avoid Liquid Calories

"Carrying excessive body fat is another quick way to ensure that you age faster than necessary. It is well known that excess calorie consumption is the biggest culprit. But many people struggle to decrease their caloric intake," Robles says. "One of the easiest ways to do it is to avoid liquid calories. Can you believe that the only liquid we need to survive is water? Eliminate or reduce your consumption of lattes, juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and iced coffees. These are all extra calories that your youthful body doesn't need."

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Eat Fish Twice a Week

"Regular consumption of seafood provides a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critically important to heart health," Bowerman recommends. "As the risk for heart disease increases with age, this is a healthy habit to start early on."

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Consume Enough Protein

"When combined with strength training exercise, protein helps to build and maintain muscle mass, which tends to decline with age," Bowerman says. "Adequate protein is also important to maintain the health of your hair, skin and nails."

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Use Herbs and Spices as Your Condiments Instead of Sauces and Spreads

Stay youthful by upgrading your condiments. "A lot of research is being done on the numerous health benefits of several herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, basil, and garlic," Robles says. "Potential benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, improved blood sugar control, blood pressure lowering and improved heart health. The best part is, you can buy all of these in large quantities for just a couple of dollars each."

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Eat a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal or Snack

"Fruits and veggies are nutrient-rich and relatively low in calories and provide an abundance of natural antioxidants which help the body fight the formation of oxygen free radicals," Bowerman explains. "These compounds can cause damage to cells, which can accumulate over time."

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Eat a Good Source of Calcium Every Day

"Whether it comes from foods or supplements (or a combination), it's critical to achieve maximal bone mass by the time you reach about 30 years of age," Bowerman says. "After that point, it is more difficult for the body to increase bone mass much further, but adequate calcium intake can help diminish losses."

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Drink Red Wine

A little vino can go a long way. Red wine has the anti-aging compound resveratrol. Believe it or not, red wine is better for you than grape juice. According to WebMD, "Antioxidants sop up damaging free radicals that play a role in aging and age-related diseases. There is a much higher concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols, including resveratrol, in wine compared to grape juice." Red wine also helps reduce the risk of pre-cancerous skin lesions, lower your chances of diabetes and benefits arterial functions in your body, according to StyleCraze.

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Forgive

"You wear your attitude on your face, and grudges show like old habits. Being more forgiving allows a youthful light to come over you like springtime," Friedmutter recommends. "Call someone you begrudge and forgive them so you can have a youthful look."

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Socialize With Friends

Life is too short, so get out there and socialize. Make sure you take at least one day a week to meet up with a friend and catch up. Do you have a friend you had a falling out with? Learn how to forgive and let go. Research has shown that forgiveness enhances your psychological and physical well-being - less stress and lower blood pressure.

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Find Love

"Puppy love, either new or with a rekindled attitude and mate you already have, brings a light of youth to those who see you," Friedmutter says. "Young love can be attained at any age, you just have to get re-interested in your mate or someone new."

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Watch Less TV

If you have binge-watched your favorite show on Netflix for the second time this week, you may want to consider cutting back. According to The Washington Post, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry concluded that "young adults who watch a lot of television and have a low physical activity level tended to have worse cognitive function as measured by standardized tests when they hit middle age." Need some inspiration to get off the couch and become more active? Shake up your routine by trying one of these trendy workouts.

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