Rewind time with study-proven ways to bolster your memory, slim your midsection, and sharpen your hearing!
Melt a menopot by standing up.
Thanks to hormonal fluxes and metabolism slowdowns as we age, we tend to carry excess weight around our abdomen. Luckily, you can reverse middle-age spread simply by standing tall. Research in the European Heart Journal found that women who stood up for at least one minute every hour had a waist that was 1.6-inch smaller than those who stayed seated. Turns out, short, regular muscle movements send signals to your body to stop holding on to fat, making it easier to trim inches.
And open the fridge! Before digging into another slice of cheesy pizza or cutting a big piece of cake, take a look at the produce drawer in your fridge. British researchers say “diet foods” like lettuce and celery raise your willpower by reminding you of your goal to slim down, helping you effortlessly eat 60 percent less of a treat.
Play your way to sharper thinking.
Struggling to stay on task these days? Allow yourself 30 minutes daily to goof off on your computer or smartphone, and Mayo Clinic researchers say you’ll cut your chances of experiencing foggy thinking and memory lapses by 42 percent. Investigators explain that fun screen time, whether playing Tetris or scrolling through Pinterest, encourages the body to release an energizing brain chemical called acetylcholine.
Halt muscle loss by lifting less.
Great news! You don’t have to exhaust yourself at the gym hoisting heavy weights to ward off the gradual muscle loss that comes with age. Investigators reporting in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research recently found that exercising with light weights — or even just your own body weight — increases your muscle mass by 33 percent and your muscle strength by as much as 97 percent!
You can also throw open the shades in the morning and let the sunlight stream in. Getting 20 minutes of sun daily raises your vitamin D levels, which kick-starts the production of healthy muscle tissue. It’s an effect so powerful that a study in Clinical Endocrinology found you’ll cut your risk of muscle loss in half.
Thicken hair with a rosemary massage.
Hair falling flat? More than 50 percent of women notice thinning hair over time. The fix: Twice daily, mix 5 drops of rosemary essential oil into 1 oz. of almond oil and spend three minutes massaging it into your scalp, then shampoo out. Nutrients nourish damaged follicles and boost blood flow to the scalp to support new growth. One study found it’s as effective as the FDA-approved hair-loss drug minoxidil.
What’s more, sipping three cups of green tea daily sparks hair growth in 90 days, scientists say. Compounds balance high testosterone levels (one cause of hair loss) so strands can grow.
Bolster your memory by chatting with a friend.
Here’s another happy reason to catch up with your girlfriends: British researchers found that socializing for just 10 minutes a day, whether you meet up with a pal for coffee or simply call your sister, cuts your risk of age-related memory loss in half and boosts your focus by 50 percent.
That’s because sharing conversations acts as a workout for your mind’s memory and language centers, and actually has the power to help spark the growth of healthy new brain cells.
And take a nap! Curling up for a quick snooze twice a week makes you 44 percent less likely to face memory lapses, Cornell University scientists report. These mini sleep sessions allow your brain more time to consolidate new information and repair worn-out cells.
Sharpen hearing with these veggies.
To protect your full range of hearing well into old age, fuel up with superfoods like spinach, sweet potatoes, or broccoli. Spanish researchers say high levels of vitamins A, C and E in these foods work in tandem with the nutrient magnesium to counteract harmful oxidative stress, reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss by 48 percent.
Need help now? Lean in to a conversation with your right ear. British scientists say the words that go into that ear are processed by the left side of your brain, which is superior at decoding conversations.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.