By Kewal Kapoor
It’s a commonly known fact that your habits influence your ageing process. While genetics is a key driver, your lifestyle plays an equally important role in how fast you age or how agile your brain functions.
Let us take a look at some routine habits that can shorten your lifespan.
Lack of sleep
Sleep is crucial for hormone regulation, memory development, muscle recovery, and proper metabolism among other things.
- If you skip on sleep, it will eventually lead to anxiety, depression, weight gain, and insulin resistance, triggering diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
- Sleep deprivation is also related to paler skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. If you do not get at least eight hours of sleep daily, make it a point to do so.
Drinking in moderation has been proven to have measurable health benefits. Go overboard, and you damage everything from your skin to your internal organs.
- Alcohol depletes the body of vitamin A, which is essential for cell regeneration.
- Try not to drink regularly, avoid cocktails with added sugars and try not to have more than two drinks when you do.
This one bears repeating multiple times. Not only does smoking causes heart disease and makes you susceptible to lung cancer, it also has noticeable effects on your physical appearance.
- The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke show up as fine lines and wrinkles on the face. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, limiting the reach of nutrients to the epidermis, causing wrinkles. If you still have this habit, it is best to drop it altogether.
If you think manual labour is dangerous, then you might be concerned to know that a desk job is doubly so.
- Sitting idle for more than eight hours increases the risk of premature ageing and death by over 50 percent.
- Not only does it increase the risk of heart disease, it also slows down the blood circulation, interferes with the regulation of blood sugar, and pushes up the cholesterol levels.
- On the bright side, getting an hour of exercise reduces the mortality rate by 40 percent.
Excessive sugar consumption
From sugary drinks and cereals to nutrition bars to plain old ketchup, you consume unhealthy amounts of sugar on a daily basis. Not only is it unhealthy, it also makes you age faster.
- Excess sugar causes proteins like elastin and collagen to bind together, increasing the level of inflammation markers that accelerate the process of ageing.
- Luckily, it is reversible. Research has found that cutting out sugary foods and increasing the intake of foods rich in antioxidants led to a decrease in the level of inflammation markers.
Too much exposure to the sun
While sunshine not only boosts the mood and help your body get much needed vitamin D, excess exposure is bad for you. Chronic damage from the sun is the cause for common skin wrinkling.
- Sun damage depletes the elastin and collagen, causing the skin to wrinkle. It makes you age rapidly, and even cause skin cancer, including the lethal melanoma.
- To avoid this, ensure that you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 every day. If your job involves you getting into water, then make sure you reapply it every time you get out.
Eating fried food
French fries, onion rings, and fried chicken – they are all bad for the gut. However, did you know that they can also shorten your lifespan considerably? Deep frying food exposes the fat and oil to very high temperatures.
- When they are, it leads to the formation of harmful free radicals, which are the main culprit in ageing. To make things worse, most restaurants use soybean oil or corn oil, which are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation.
- They consume anything from wrinkles to heart disease. If you want to shed those extra pounds and regain the youthful look, avoiding fried food is absolutely essential.
If you are guilty of any of the above habits, now is the perfect time to turn your life around. If you follow these suggestions, you will begin to see an improvement in your appearance and state of mind in just a matter of months.
The author is Director & Creative Strategist, CHAI Kreative & Advisory. He served as the Executive Producer with UTV, wherein he researched, scripted, conceptualised and created the first ever series on Tax Laws in India. He also runs a division that
works in the field of elderly care and is known as ‘Return of the Million Smiles’.