5 Habits That Can Speed Up Aging

Besides not getting enough exercise, there are a number of everyday habits that can seriously age us in noticeable and invisible ways. Here are five habits that could accelerate the aging process i.e. habits you should definitely avoid.

1. Holding on to grudges

Holding on to anger and resentment will take a toll on you, inside and out. A study published in 2011 linked it to an increase in stress hormones (known as cortisol). When the hormones are thrown out of balance over a long period, the chronic stress can accelerate cellular aging and potentially increase the risk of conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

2. Avoiding socialization

While it is known that physical activity can help you stay fit into your older years, experts add that intellectual activity is often overlooked. People who remain in isolation may become more susceptible to cognitive decline. Interacting with people is a form of exercise for your brain that can help keep it stimulated.

"What we’re beginning to realize is that it isn’t just food and exercise which is important," said Professor Sarah Harper from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing. "The social world we live in is really important. Social connectivity and healthy friendships both within one's own peers, within a family, between generations."

3. Cutting fat out of your diet

A certain amount of fat is required in your diet according to Franci Cohen, a certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist from Brooklyn, New York.

"Heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish and certain nuts keep skin supple and plump, thereby preventing wrinkles, and they boost both heart and brain health as well," she explained.

On the other hand, added sugars can contribute towards skin aging, nutritionists warn. Remember to reduce and avoid consuming processed foods whenever possible.

4. Staying up late at night

"During a good night's rest, your body works to remove dead blood cells and dead brain cells, and clears the pathways for new synapses to take place so that new blood and brain cells can replace old ones," said Dr. Rebecca S. Robbins, a sleep expert and researcher at Cornell University, New York.

Dermatologists recommend adequate sleep to avoid damaging effects such as dark circles, dehydrated skin, increased wrinkles, etc. A recent study even suggested that staying up at night regularly can increase the risk of metabolic dysfunction and dying sooner. 

5. Developing a smoking habit

Smoking can cause evident signs of aging from damaging several parts of your body from your lungs to your skin to your teeth. Robyn Gmyrek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York, noted the consequence of "dynamic wrinkles."

Since people have to pucker their mouth while smoking, the repetitive motion can cause wrinkles around the mouth over a period of time. Even if you are not a smoker, being exposed to tobacco smoke can age you too. 

"The smoke leads to increased reactive oxygen species — a.k.a. free radicals — in your skin," Gmyrek said, adding how they destroy the molecules around them.