You already know that if you eat, sleep, and exercise like crap, you're probably going to look and feel like it, too. But how you treat your body today can affect more than just the way you look right now; it can also impact how you'll look in, say, 10 years. Want to avoid drastic measures like needles and knives to look younger in the future? Start correcting the following four common bad habits.
1. Excessive Exercise
Exercise in general is great for keeping your body looking young, but too much intense cardio, in particular, can actually accelerate signs of aging. Stress from exercise breaks down your skin's collagen, leading to premature wrinkles. Strength training is key to keeping skin firm as you get older, so if you're a runner or a cyclist, be sure to add some weightlifting to your routine. And (duh) if you exercise outdoors, don't forget your sunscreen. We like a sweat-resistant one like Beyond Coastal Active SPF 34 Sunscreen.
2. Too Much Sugar
Overdo it on the sweet stuff and you'll not only end up a bloated mess, your skin will be dull and wrinkled, too. When you have too much sugar in your bloodstream, it attaches to proteins to form harmful advanced glycation end products (AGEs—an appropriate acronym). These AGEs damage collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkly, sagging skin. It'll make you think twice about grabbing that office doughnut this week.
3. Too Little Fat
While eating too much sugar takes a toll on your appearance, so does having too little fat in your diet. Despite what you've been told, fat helps your body absorb antioxidants and vitamins and strengthens your epidermis (the outermost layers of skin) for a brighter, smoother complexion. Of course, not all fats are created equal, so ditch the double cheeseburger and get 20 percent of your daily calories from healthy fat sources, like nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fresh low-mercury fish like salmon.
4. Skimping on Sleep
It's called "beauty sleep" for a reason, guys. Not getting enough for just one night means you'll wake up with puffy eyes and lackluster skin, but if you're chronically short on sleep, you could be causing long-term damage to your skin. Too little rest causes your body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down collagen (the stuff responsible for keeping skin smooth and elastic), resulting in wrinkles. So make a full night's sleep a priority. And when you do skimp on sleep, at least use an antioxidant-rich eye cream like Jack Black Protein Booster Eye Rescue to help offset the damage done.
• • •