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12 Habits of People Who Look and Act Younger Than Their Age

How we work, sleep, spend our leisure time, and even think about aging all play a role in how old we feel. Here, science-backed tips to help you look and feel younger.

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Get organized

People who live well-organized lives tend to live longer than less careful types, perhaps because they look after their health better and avoid risky behavior, concludes the U.S.-based Longevity Project, a landmark eight-decade study.

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Shop til you drop

Shop regularly and you may live longer, found a 10-year study of around 2,000 people over age 65 in Taiwan. The researchers found that men who shopped daily had a 28 percent lower risk of dying early than those who shopped less often; among women, the risk reduction was 23 percent. Social contact, better physical fitness, and greater mental agility are the key factors. You’ll also want to pick up these 8 foods that prevent wrinkles.

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Have some curry

Curry may boost your mental abilities, according to research out of Singapore. They looked at the diet of more than 1,000 Indian villagers aged 60 to 93 and found that those who ate curry even just twice a year scored better on cognitive performance tests than people who didn’t. Turmeric, the yellow spice used in most curries, contains the plant chemical curcumin, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

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Sing together

A U.S. study on 68 older adults revealed that those who joined a choir were in better health, used less medication, were less lonely, and had fewer falls after a year than a similar group of nonsingers. This could in part be due to the impact that singing has on breathing, but the emotional benefits of giving voice in a crowd may be just as important. So if you enjoy it, whatever the quality of your voice, try to find the chance to sing communally, whether in a formal choir, at a family singalong, in church or temple, or in a crowd of thousands at a football game. This is how music can make you feel younger right now.

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Log on

Search the Internet to keep your brain active. In one study people age 55 to 76 who carried out a series of web searches all showed increased activity in regions of the brain that control language, reading, memory, and visual ability. Those who already surfed regularly showed a significant boost in the areas that deal with decision-making and complex reasoning.

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Play with grandchildren

A study of families in East London revealed the myriad benefits to both older and younger generations of this kind of interaction, including giving you the chance to pass on family values and traditions and to teach practical skills. Learn the 50 habits to help you live longer, according to science.

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Don’t retire young

Researchers from the Longevity Project found that many long-lived, successful professionals worked (at least part-time) well after retirement age. We’re conditioned to think that working hard can inflict unhealthy levels of stress. But this research suggests that success, even in a demanding job, can enhance well-being. So if you’re in good health, you may not want to give up work entirely.

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Love your age

Think positively about your time of life and you’ll live longer. One U.S. study asked people 50 and over how they felt about a range of statements designed to assess their outlook on the future. Almost three decades later, follow-up research found that those who viewed aging in a hopeful way had lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with a more pessimistic outlook. You’re more likely to have better coping strategies and be more likely to seek support when you have problems if you try to see your cup as half full, rather than half empty. Here are 23 quotes about aging gracefully.

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Embrace thick skin

Those who can weather what Shakespeare called “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” are more likely to live to a ripe old age, suggest studies from Harvard University. Psychological hardiness (mental resilience in the face of stress, anxiety, and depression) is crucial for survival, especially as we get older.

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Don’t assume you need less sleep

It’s a common myth that we need fewer hours of sleep as we age, but evidence suggests this is not true. Sleep disorder experts have found that having fewer than six hours of sleep a night can adversely affect your mood. To nod off more easily, try to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time each day, and ban late-night googling, online shopping, or TV watching. Here are 24 more stay-young secrets from women who don’t age.

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Have faith

Research shows that positive emotions associated with attending religious services—such as hope, faith, forgiveness, joy, compassion, and gratitude—can help to reduce stress and regulate the body chemicals that protect us against it. U.S. researchers have found that regular church attendance can add two to three years to your life. This may be due to the power of faith or linked to the advantages of belonging to a community or having a sense of purpose. No one knows for sure. But whether as part of a faith or secular group, it could benefit your health to take time out every week to reflect on life alongside others of a like mind.

Go for walks with your dog

Dog ownership can provide a physical and emotional boost. Walking together will improve your fitness and protect against feelings of loneliness, according to a British study of dog walkers. They reported that the regular daily exercise improved their sense of well-being, and that while walking their dog they often met and chatted with others, which made them feel happier. If you’re not able to own a dog, try dog walking with a friend and her pooch. Next up, learn the 50 things that are making you look older.

 

Originally Published in Reader's Digest