4 daily habits that might be ageing you prematurely
1. Bingeing on your favourite shows
Calling all House of Cards fans – your love for TV marathons may chip away at your brain. According to a study published in a 2016 issue of Neurology, a lack of physical activity during middle age has been linked to a smaller mind later in life. “We found a direct correlation in our study between poor fitness and brain volume decades later, which indicates accelerated brain ageing,” said study author Nicole Spartano, PhD, with Boston University School of Medicine in Boston. Similar research recently published in JAMA Psychiatry discovered that large amounts of television viewing and low physical activity in early adulthood were associated with a decline in cognitive function during midlife.
2. Depriving yourself of sleep
Beauty sleep is a real thing, according to science. Physician-scientists at University Hospitals Case Medical Center gathered 60 women between the ages of 30 and 49; half of the volunteers fell into the “poor quality sleep” category. The ladies who snagged less slumber showed increased signs of skin ageing, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin, and reduced elasticity. “Our study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerated skin ageing,” said lead study investigator Elma Baron, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
3. Being too inactive day and night
In Australia’s largest ongoing study of healthy ageing, researchers analysed the lifestyle behaviours of more than 230,000 participants. They concluded that sleeping too much (more than nine hours per night), sitting too much (more than seven hours a day) and not working out enough (less than 150 minutes a week) can quadruple someone’s risk of dying prematurely. “Our study shows that we should really be taking these behaviours together as seriously as we do other risk factors such as levels of drinking and unhealthy eating patterns,” said lead author Dr. Melody Ding, senior research fellow at the School of Public Health from the University of Sydney.
4. Thinking ‘old’ thoughts
“The number one thing that can age someone – and the studies support this – is feeling old,” says Robi Ludwig, PsyD, author of Your Best Age is Now. “When we feel younger, we’re more hopeful, we have more productive workouts and we’re more in touch with the possibilities life has to offer, which makes us more optimistic.” In fact, a 2016 study in Health Psychology concluded that people who feel older than their actual age are more than likely to be hospitalised. “The younger we can feel, the better it is for us,” adds Ludwig.