Healthy Habits of People Who’ve Aged Gracefully

From your hair and skin to your muscles and heart, growing older affects almost every part of your body. But just because you’re aging, doesn’t mean you can’t age well. When it comes to aging gracefully, things like your diet, exercise, and even your attitude can be just as important as your genetics. If you’re looking to learn some healthy habits that can help you age gracefully, you’ve come to the right place. These are the habits that those who have only gotten better with age swear by.

They Have Good Dental Hygiene Habits

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Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images
Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

We all want a bright, white smile. Not only is this a sign of good oral hygiene, but a mouth full of pearly whites can make you look younger too. People who develop tooth discoloration often don’t have very good dental hygiene habits.

Taking care of your teeth can really make you look years younger. Invest in some whitening toothpaste, floss every day (dentists recommend twice a day) and visit your dentist every six months.

Find a Job You Love

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CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images
CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images

You spend a whole lot of your life working. You may even spend more time at work than you do at home. That’s why making sure you enjoy what you do for a living is so important. If you find yourself dreading going to work every single morning, it may be time to switch things up. No paycheck is worth that kind of unhappiness.

Working a job that you love helps reduce stress which in turn helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. More importantly, reducing your stress levels is important to your overall mental wellbeing.

Drink Plenty of Water

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Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Water is like a natural lubricant for your body. It keeps all of your internal organs in working order. If you take one tip away from this list, it should be this one. Drink more water. Even if you think you drink enough water, a little more H2O can only do your body good.

Staying hydrated works wonders for your skin. If you have trouble maintaining a youthful glow, try drinking an extra liter of water per day.

Love Openly and Honestly

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Illustration by Emily Brickel Edelson/Chic Sketch via Getty Images
Illustration by Emily Brickel Edelson/Chic Sketch via Getty Images

People who are guarded when it comes to love often hold a lot of tension in their bodies. If you can’t relax with your partner, who can you relax with? If you’re in a relationship that’s making you feel more stressed than happy, it may be time to rethink what that relationship means to you.

Be open in love, even if it means leaving yourself open for heartbreak. It will be worth it in the long run.

Wear Less Makeup

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Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage
Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage

I love makeup as much as the next girl. It’s fun to experiment with different colors and styles (and sometimes it’s nice to cover a blemish or two), but it really is important to let your skin breathe every now and then. Try wearing a minimal makeup look one day a week, or not wearing any makeup at all on the weekends.

If you can’t kick your foundation habit, at least make sure to wash your face thoroughly before you go to sleep.

Wear Sunscreen

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Photo by Zhe Ji/Getty Images
Photo by Zhe Ji/Getty Images

You know they saying, ‘Nothing ages you faster than stress’? Well, there may be one thing that can age you faster than stress. The sun. The sun is a great source of vitamin D and you should spend as much time as you can outside. But the sun also sends powerful UV rays down to earth that can damage our skin and cause us to age prematurely.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution. Just wear ample sunscreen whenever you’re outside. SPF is your best defense against aging.

Maintain Your Social Life

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Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It can be hard to keep in touch with friends in adulthood. Everyone gets so busy with work and kids and general life stuff. It can be even harder to make new friends as an adult. People who age gracefully claim that having friends and widening their network of support has really helped them de-stress and enjoy their adult years.

Who says you can’t be #SquadGoals when you’re 80?

Don’t Smoke (Or Quit If You’ve Already Started)

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Photo by Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

Not only can this habit wreak havoc on your skin and your overall appearance, but smoking does significant damage to your lungs and overall health. If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking really is the best thing you can do for your health.

It can be difficult to quit, and it might take multiple attempts, but if you keep trying you’ll eventually succeed. Today, there are more products than ever to help curb this habit. Not only will you look younger, but you’ll also feel better too.

Smile More

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Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

A lot of people think that smiling too much can give you smile lines down the road, but smiling is actually the easiest way to look and feel younger. Smile lines are the best lines to have because they mean that you’ve lived a full and happy life.

If smiling is good enough for Kate Middleton, it’s good enough for you too. Also, laughing at least once a day is a great way to de-stress and release tension.

Eat a Plant-Based Diet

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Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Your diet doesn’t have to be entirely plant-based, but a lot of people who have maintained a youthful appearance well into their 60s claim that eating less meat and dairy helps them stay healthier and younger looking.

Not only will your body feel better, but you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint. There are so many delicious meals you can make with fruit and vegetables, or you can just eat them raw.

Practice Mindfulness

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Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Meditation and being mindful of your body and your surroundings are great ways to reduce stress, release built-up tension, and reflect on the tasks you have ahead of you. You can meditate alone or with a group or a leader. You can download meditation apps on your phone or you can just sit quietly and try to empty your mind.

Just a few minutes of mindful meditation a day can really improve your life and make you feel younger.

Appreciate Your Surroundings

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Photo by Ioannis Alexopoulos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Ioannis Alexopoulos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Although it doesn’t always feel like it, we live on a beautiful planet. It’s full of plants and flowers and animals and works of art. If you move through life too quickly, you can take all of those beautiful things for granted.

Take a moment each day to appreciate the beauty that the world has to offer, even if it’s just a dandelion on the side of the road or a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter.

Drink Less Alcohol

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Photo by Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images

It can be nice to unwind at the end of the day with a nice cold beer, but alcohol really isn’t the greatest substance for you body, especially if you want to maintain a youthful appearance.

You don’t have to give up drinking completely, and some experts say that a glass of red wine with dinner is actually good for your heart health, but you really shouldn’t be drinking to excess.

Don’t Be Afraid to Express Yourself

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Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW
Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW

Being older doesn’t mean that you have to dress like an old lady or an old man (unless you’re into that kind of style). You don’t have to stop wearing bright colors and fun patterns just because you’re over the age of 30. If bright colors make you happy, wear what makes you happy.

Don’t be afraid to stand out. Remember, you’re only as old as you feel.

Get a Dog

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Photo by Say Cheese!/GC Images
Photo by Say Cheese!/GC Images

A lot of people who have stayed looking and feeling young well into their 60s and 70s say that owning a dog helped keep them on their toes.

Owning a dog means that you’re forced to go outside for regular walks and you have something to take care of other than yourself. Dogs can also be a source of comfort and can help you feel less stressed. Sure, they can be difficult to train, but all dog owners agree that having a furry companion is the best.

Get Enough Exercise

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Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

People who exercise throughout their adulthood have a much easier time looking and feeling younger as the years progress. Find a physical activity that excites you and fits into your schedule.

Whether it’s rock climbing, biking, hiking, or weight lifting, physical activity is great for your body and your mind. It can help you focus more on your work and it can lower your blood pressure and increase your metabolism.

Express Gratitude

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Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

It sounds simple, but just saying “thank you” is a great way to actually feel more appreciative of what you have and what other people do for you. Always express gratitude because the expression alone will change the way you feel about what you have and what you are lacking. You’ll find you actually notice what you have more when you are verbally grateful.

This mindset will keep you feeling and looking your best.

Reduce Your Screen Time

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Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

Spending too much time in front of a screen can damage your eyes, and spending too much time hunched over a laptop can really damage your back. Bad posture and poor vision can make you feel and look older, so it’s a good idea to limit your time in front of screens.

Of course, screens are everywhere in today’s society and it’s almost impossible to avoid them entirely, but do your best to reduce your screen time, especially right before bed.

Be Charitable

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Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Giving back to others and to your community helps you feel like you’re doing something meaningful with your time and money. It also helps you appreciate the time and money that you have that others might not.

Donate some canned food to a local shelter or spend some time helping a person in need. Doing meaningful work will go a long way to help you feel more centered in your life.

Go Outside

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MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP/Getty Images
MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP/Getty Images

Spend as much time as you can outdoors. If you live in a climate where it’s very cold during the winter months, make sure you take advantage of nice weather when it’s given to you. You can go on a short walk or just sit in the shade, but all of that fresh air can make you feel so much younger and happier.

Eating meals outside is a great way to start introducing more outdoor time into your daily routine.

Eat Less Sugar

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images

Yes, I know sugar is delicious, but when it comes to looking good and feeling good, sugar is one of the worst things for you. Not only can sugar cause weight gain, it can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

When it comes to your skin, sugar is linked to acne. If you want to look and feel better, reducing your sugar intake is a good place to start. Of course, do indulge in a delicious sugary treat every now and then! Just remember that moderation is key.

Exfoliate Your Skin

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Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images

As your skin regenerates, a layer of dead skin accumulates on your body. It’s important to get rid of that dead skin so that the healthy, new skin underneath can breathe and thrive. Exfoliating is the best way to get rid of that layer.

There are lots of ways you can exfoliate your skin to achieve a nice, healthy glow. You can use natural exfoliants like coffee grounds and sugar scrubs or you can use store-bought exfoliants. An exfoliating mitt is a great option for full-body exfoliation.

Up Your Oils

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Photo by Charlotte Ball/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo by Charlotte Ball/PA Images via Getty Images

Various oils are good for your body, inside and out. Omega-rich fish oil contains fatty acids that are essential in the prevention and management of heart disease. But oils are just good for your insides — they’re good for your outside too.

Applying omega-rich oils like rosehip oil or argan oil to your face can help you achieve a more youthful appearance. These ‘good fats’ are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, which, when healthy, helps your skin become more supple.

Get More Beauty Sleep

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Photo by Monika Skolimowska / dpa / AFP
Photo by Monika Skolimowska / dpa / AFP

People with bags under their eyes tend to look older than they actually are. The best way to combat dark under eye circles and eye bags is to get enough sleep. Make sure you go to bed at a reasonable hour so you can wake up feeling refreshed and well rested.

If you’re able to, take a cat nap (or a bear nap) in the middle of the day to help you feel more energized in the evening.

Say No To Tanning

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Photo by Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you want to damage your skin, lie directly under some UV lights and zap the heck out of your body for a good half hour. Seriously though, you don’t want to damage your skin. No short-term tan is worth the long-term damage. The glow may look good now, but sun-damaged skin is never a good look later.

If you really want to look like you’ve spent some time in the sun, get a spray tan or use an all natural self-tanner.

Keep It Cool

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Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A steamy shower may be relaxing, but it could be sapping your skin of essential moisture, making you look older in the process. It’s much better to take a cold shower (if you can stand it). The cold water is great for your hair and for your skin.

“Avoid hot showers and baths; they’ll dry out skin more than anything else,” says Caroline Nuytten, a licensed esthetician at Manhattan’s Metro Integrative Pharmacy

Don’t Be Picky

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Joel Forrest / Barcroft USA / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Joel Forrest / Barcroft USA / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

It’s tempting to pick at stubborn blemishes on your skin and it’s satisfying to pop a pimple, but if you want your skin to stay in good condition long term, you really leave the pimple popping to the professionals.

Popping pimples with your fingers can lead to broken blood vessels and permanent scarring. Hands tend to be full of bacteria, which can makes its way onto your skin and into your pores if you’re constantly touching your face.

Use a Humidifier

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Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The same treatment you use for the common cold can have serious benefits when it comes to keeping your skin looking youthful and hydrated.

“Using a humidifier will help you out a lot, both inside and outside,” says esthetician Caroline Nuytten, who recommends that clients make humidifiers part of their skincare and overall health routine each year before winter. Your skin can get really dry in the winter months, and a humidifier will help keep your face looking fresh.

Increase Your Vitamin C Intake

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SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP/Getty Images
SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP/Getty Images

We could all use a little more vitamin C in our diets. Luckily, adding some citrus to our daily food intake can help. Not only is citrus delicious, but all that vitamin C helps make your skin supple and radiant.

“Vitamin C is also an important part of collagen, the protein that connects your cells together to create your skin’s elasticity and gives it structure. Make sure you are eating lots of citrus fruits daily as well to get enough vitamin C so your body will make the collagen it needs to create new skin scaffolding. One serving of a citrus fruit daily should do it!” says Samantha Scruggs, a registered dietician.

Don’t Neglect Your Neck

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Photo by Veronique DURRUTY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Photo by Veronique DURRUTY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Do you pay special attention to your neck when your showering? Many people forget to wash this area of their body since they’re more focused on washing their face. But the neck is the first place you see signs of aging, so it’s definitely not an area of your body that you want to forget about.

Make sure you wash, exfoliate, and moisturize your neck while you’re doing your skincare routine. It’ll pay off in the long run!

Laugh It Out

Laugh It Out
Thomas Frey/picture alliance via Getty Images
Thomas Frey/picture alliance via Getty Images

While smiling is a great way to feel positive, there’s a reason that people say “laughter is the best medicine.” That’s because it truly is. If you’re ever feeling particularly down about something, try and find a way that you can laugh about it.

It will help make you feel more control over any situation. One study proves that laughter helps reduce heart disease, decreases stress, and even helps the immune system. Basically, laughing will help you live longer!

Write Regularly

Writing
Andia/UIG via Getty Images
Andia/UIG via Getty Images

Even if you don’t fancy yourself a good writer, writing is one of the best ways not only to figure things out internally, but it’s also fantastic for your brain. It keeps you stimulated and focused while simultaneously releasing emotion.

It doesn’t matter what you write whether it’s a book, journal, diary, or blog, the only thing that matters is that you’re getting your thoughts out on paper. No harm can come of it, and you’ll be surprised how beneficial it really is.

Spend Time With Other Generations

Different Generations
Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images
Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images

It doesn’t matter what your age is, it’s always important to spend time with other generations. Whether it’s younger or older than you doesn’t always matter. It’s just important to get a fresh perspective on life from those who have experienced the world in different ways.

It will help you become a more understanding person, reduce your stress about the past and the future, and show that you’re an open-minded person. No harms come from socializing outside of your age group.

Always Keep Traveling

Traveling
Clara Margais/picture alliance via Getty Images
Clara Margais/picture alliance via Getty Images

Traveling is great for the mind, body, and soul. It keeps you active, helps you form new relationships, and provides you with new experiences. However, it’s important to remember that traveling doesn’t always mean going to the other side of the world.

If you have the opportunity to go somewhere new, even if it’s where you live, take advantage of that and go. More often than not, you’ll be glad you went somewhere rather than sitting at home.

Get A Yearly Medical Exam

Medical Exam
ROZ GAIZKA/AFP/Getty Images
ROZ GAIZKA/AFP/Getty Images

While simply going to the doctor doesn’t make you a healthier person, it can help to notify you whether you’re on the right track or maybe you need to make some lifestyle adjustments. Going to the doctors once a year is also important to catch any kind of sickness or ailment you didn’t know about early.

If it’s something serious, it will greatly increase your chances of beating whatever it is. Plus, it’s always a good idea to be in close contact with your practitioner.

Get Organized

Organized
McClain For The Washington Post via Getty Images
McClain For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Being organized has countless emotional and mental benefits. Even if you just start by cleaning out your closet, getting rid of clutter and things you no longer need can be incredibly refreshing. Or, you can start using a planner if you aren’t already. This way, you wake up every day knowing exactly what you are planning to accomplish.

This will also help you be on time and make sure you never miss any crucial plans or appointments. Being organized is also a personality trait that many people will respect you for.

Be Safe When Intimate

Intimacy
STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images
STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you’re sexually active, it’s important to take protective measures to ensure that both parties are being safe. While this differs for each relationship or interaction, being safe can help prevent unwanted STDs or surprise pregnancies.

This doesn’t only apply to young people either, as studies have shown that more elderly people are being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases. Use protection and take precaution until you find a monogamous partner that you’re comfortable with and know their sexual history.

Maintain Good Posture

Posture
QAI Publishing/UIG via Getty Images
QAI Publishing/UIG via Getty Images

It’s something your mother has been telling you since you were a child sitting at the dinner table, and it’s for good reason. Having good posture can save you from many ailments in the future as well as makes it look like you look presentable in social settings.

To improve your posture, you can make an effort to stand more often, make sure your back is flush with the chair and put your hand on your stomach to make sure it’s flat.

Talk To A Therapist

Therapist
SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

Even if you think your mental health is okay, there’s nothing work with seeing a therapist every now and then. Plenty of people rely on a therapist just as a way of talking to someone outside of their family or friend group.

Everybody has something that they can say to someone in complete confidentiality. Therapists can help you sort out problems that maybe you didn’t even know you had. Also, depending on your insurance, some appointments are even free!

Keep An Eye On Your Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

It’s possible to have high blood pressure and feel perfectly line. However, high blood pressure is commonly referred to as “the silent killer,” because you usually don’t know until it leads to a serious ailment.

That’s why it’s imperative that you keep an eye on your blood pressure and if you do have high blood pressure, take the necessary steps to reduce it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is often the result of old age, so it’s even more important to be aware of it as you get older.