Aging is a normal process in life, which happens in a gradual and graceful manner. However, due to several factors, premature aging is now a common dilemma faced by a lot of people. Although there are several anti-aging products available in the market, it is still best to know the underlying cause of the problem. This will not only save you some money. It will also help you prevent premature aging from occurring. It all starts with your daily habits. Some of your daily activities play a crucial role in this atypical aging process. Thus, this article will give you an overview of some lifestyle habits that cause premature aging.
Smoking, Alcohol, and Drug AbuseCredit: Anna Langova
The most common lifestyle habits that cause premature aging are cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug addiction.
First is cigarette smoking. Whether it’s a habit or secondhand smoke, exposure to nicotine causes your skin’s blood vessels to constrict. With narrowed blood vessels, insufficient blood flow occurs. As a result, your skin doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients causing premature aging. Furthermore, tobacco has chemicals that destroy both collagen and elastin. These two protein fibers make your skin strong and elastic. Without these two, skin damage specifically wrinkles will develop.
The primary reason alcohol hastens the aging process is because it causes dehydration. Basically, alcohol suppresses vasopressin production, an anti-diuretic hormone. Because of this, your kidneys will double its workforce to remove water in your body. The problem is, if you’re internally dehydrated, wrinkles tend to rapidly develop. In addition to that, alcohol causes vitamin A deficiency. Remember, this vitamin is not only an excellent antioxidant. It also plays a vital role in cell rejuvenation.
Last is drug abuse. Keep in mind that synthetically prepared drugs are toxic. That is why side-effects are typically experienced when taking medications in high doses. With that, almost all medications can alter the normal body processes including aging especially with long-term use. That is why most drugs can only be used for a certain duration. For that reason, drug addiction will not only hasten the aging process. It will slowly destroy your body from the inside.
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Prolonged Sun Exposure
Before, tanning was a craze that almost everyone wants to try. Today, it is one of the lifestyle habits that cause premature aging.
As you know, due to the sun’s UV rays, tanning or prolonged sun exposure without using a sunscreen can lead to severe skin damage. Although the sun is still considered as the best source of vitamin D, too much of it can definitely hasten the aging process. So, now what?
Basically, the amount of time you need to spend under the sun will depend on your geographic location and the season of the year. You can also consume seafood, liver, eggs and other dairy products that are rich in vitamin D. Taking supplements is also another option you can take. This is actually recommended for people living in the Northern hemisphere where the sun shines less from autumn to winter.
What about indoor tanning? Basically, any types of UV exposure can cause “photo aging” characterized by leather-like skin and wrinkles. Hence, artificial tanning is definitely not good for your skin. It was actually noted that this method is more harmful than the sun’s rays. This is because, unlike the sun’s rays which are a mixture of both UV-A and UV-B, most bulbs in tanning beds emit UV-A rays. This type of UV can deeply penetrate into your skin and affect your immune system.
Lack of Exercise and Physical Activities
It is a fact that technology has given us a simpler life. But, because of these advancements, most of us have lessened our physical activities. Instead of walking and climbing the stairs; we tend to opt for elevators, escalators and several transportation utilities. In addition to that, most of us prefer to sit and watch TV or play video games during instead of enjoying outdoor activities.
But, did you know that having a sedentary routine is one of the lifestyle habits that cause premature aging?
This was substantially proven by a British study headed by Lynn F. Cherkas PhD. In their study they concluded that people who exercise or do intense physical activities for 199 minutes a week are “biologically” younger than inactive people.
These conclusions are not based on illnesses such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Although these diseases can be acquired due to lack of exercise and can evidently shorten one’s lifespan, the main variable here is your chromosome’s telomeres. This specific part of your chromosomes shorten as you age. As this shortens, aging accelerates and your lifespan shortens. However, exercise can defy the normal shortening process of your telomeres. If it can sustain its long lengths, the aging process slows. Hence, exercise does not only prolong one’s lifespan by strengthening your body. It also defies body aging. Plus, it can efficiently improve your blood circulation leading to a more radiant skin.
Diet and NutritionCredit: Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Agricultural Research Service (public domain image)
Junk foods and sugary products are not only unhealthy. Regular or over consumption of these products is actually included in the list of lifestyle habits that cause premature aging. This is not only because they lack essential nutrients. It is because these products contain substances that makes you age faster. Take sugar for example. A lot of today's researches have concluded that low sugar intake can make your skin look younger. This is primarily because sugar attacks both elastin and collagen during the glycation process. As mentioned earlier, these protein fibers are essential for your skin’s optimum health.
The same goes with fad diets. Malnutrition also contributes to premature aging. Hence, before trying any advertised diet plans, it is best to consult a dietician or a physician. You might also want to read this article entitled “Balanced Diet: The Best Skin Care Regime” to give you a better view why eating a balanced meal is imperative for your skin.
With that, hopefully this list of lifestyle habits that cause premature aging will help you redefine your current lifestyle and make you look younger without opting for expensive treatments and anti-aging products. If you're searching for natural anti-aging remedies, this article entitled "Natural Anti-aging Remedies for a Younger Looking Skin" may shed some useful insights.
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