A good nights sleep is, by far, the most important element to combat signs of ageing, including fine lines, weight gain and dull skin. The days of going to bed when the sun goes down as our ancestors did are long gone. Treat sleep debt like your credit card – pay the balance off in full as soon as possible because the compound interest is ageing.
Keep light to a minimum and switch off all electronic devices 30 minutes before bed as the blue light releases wavelengths that trick our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. This interferes with the regulation of our natural sleep hormone (melatonin) versus our awake hormone (cortisol). Aim for seven hours minimum and make sure you can completely blackout any windows in your bedroom.
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Our bodies are made up of 80 percent water to circulate and excrete toxins and by-products in our cells. To revitalise them, we have to provide them with new nutrients to keep our cells youthful and healthy.
We know the golden rule of drinking two litres of water a day, but caffeinated drinks (as they’re dehydrating) or liquid consumed during exercise (you’re simply replacing the water you’ve lost through sweat) don’t count.
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All tissues in our body require protein and fat (the healthy kind, so no cheeseburgers!). The former is essential for providing our bodies with the building blocks to repair and regenerate healthy muscle tissue. The latter is not only packed with omega 3s for plump skin, but it’s also vital for our hormones, brain and nerve tissue to work efficiently.
Double up your fat and protein content in one go with nuts and seeds sprinkled on top of natural yogurt.
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They may be top of the food trends, but this tasty superfood is loaded with bone minerals, amino acids, collagen and vitamins that are absorbed at a better rate than topical products. This can lead to firmer skin, youthful hair and strong nails as bone broths also keep the walls of your gut healthy.
Although shop-bought broths are adequate, making your own couldn’t be easier – simply boil meat bones in water with chopped up vegetables for eight to 12 hours. Make sure the bones come from humanely raised animals fed their natural diet in order to maintain the healthiest profile of nutrients.
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We may lose three to five percent of muscle mass on average every decade after the age of 30 but, our bodies are smart – they will only adapt and maintain adequate muscle when resistance or control forces are applied to them.
Weighted exercises are the only way to keep muscle tissue and its thin membrane (the fascia) firm. Although women tend to worry about bulking up, the ratio of oestrogen and testosterone compared to that of men will always prevent this from happening.
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After the age of 30, bone loss progresses at one to two percent per year. But it’s not all bad news, you can increase your bone density by increasing your weight bearing exercises.
As well as incorporating resistance into your workout, simply taking a long walk or jogging for 20 to 30 minutes a day will build stronger bones. Better yet, add some ankle weights to build muscle at the same time.
As vital as maintaining lean muscle is, it’s also important to keep it agile so it can support the full spectrum of human movement and function.
Not only does this keep your body supple, it also emphasises your breathing and does wonders for lowering your stress hormone, cortisol.
Reverse posture exercises
Performing movements that balance our joints can help prevent arthritis and reverse the effects of static positions we are in at our desks.
Here are some good examples:
Lie face down on a mat with your arms out to the sides. Lift one leg up by squeezing your glutes and cross it over the other, allowing the knee to bend and reach up to your opposite arm.
In a doorway, place your forearm and hand against the doorframe with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. Gently move your chest through the doorway until you feel a stretch across the chest.
Repeat five times on each arm.
You’re hitting your stride and can’t get enough of those endorphins, but it is possible to over-do it. As important as it is to exercise, it’s still a stress on your body and it can take its toll. However, when managed properly, it can spark a sequence of regeneration and revitalisation within your body.
To do this, you have to give your body a chance to repair by getting some decent shut eye and setting aside two to three rest days a week to relax (this can include gentle yoga), nourish your body with healthy food or take an Epsom salt bath.
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Chained to our desks day in day out may pay the bills, but it can also send our muscles into amnesia mode. Weak glutes are a common problem as we sit on them all day leading to tight hip flexors and poor posture.
To maintain a gravity-defying rear, fire them up with these activating exercises:
Using a resistance band, loop it around your knees and lie on your side. With your knees bent to 90 degrees, lift the top knee up away from the bottom knee but keep the feet together. Avoid rotating the body during the movement.
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With a resistance band around both ankles and stride sideways in a slow and controlled manner. Keep the upper body vertical and relatively still. Walk 20 steps in one direction and 20 steps in the other. Do three sets with no rest.
Single leg glute bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet up on a small step. Tuck one knee into your chest and hold it there, Push your hips towards the ceiling as fast as you can pushing the other foot down on the step. Slowly lower your hips back to the ground. Repeat 15 times and then repeat on the other side for one set. Do three sets without resting between sides.
Although pressed juices are full of vitamins and minerals, avoid ones that are too fruit heavy as the excessive sugar can inflame and damage cells rather than regenerate and keep them healthy.
Opt for ingredients such as beetroot (rich in vitamin A and C, folate, fibre, manganese and potassium that revive the skin by eliminating dead cells), cucumber (filled with silicon, which is a mineral essential for connective tissue in our body) and apples and blueberries (full of antioxidants, chlorogenic acids and pectin to anti-age your brain).
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