No matter your age, it's always nice to feel like you have a kick in your step. So we've rounded up five things easy things you can do to age in reverse. These study-proven techniques will firm your skin, sharpen your sight, clear away brain fog, and more.
Fade fine lines with "face yoga."
Sounds silly, but trying out goofy expressions can actually take years off your appearance. That’s the word from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers, who found that doing “face yoga” for 30 minutes every other day noticeably increases the fullness in your cheeks and visually plumps fine lines, making you look nearly three years younger. One move to try: Close your lips and smile, then place your index fingers at the corners of your mouth and push upward to lift your cheeks. Hold for 20 seconds, then release.
And sip java: Go ahead and enjoy another cup of joe; coffee contains polyphenols, chlorogenic acid, and caffeine that shield against wrinkle-inducing UV rays, Yale researchers say.
Better your balance by taking a dip in the pool.
With passing years, muscle weakness and joint stiffness make us prone to tripping. Indeed, 25 percent of us will fall and sustain an injury this year. Luckily, the trick to better balance is fun: Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that regular swimmers are 33 percent less likely to take a tumble. That’s because enjoying a few laps in the pool uses core muscles and requires coordination between your arms and legs, making you more sure-footed — even on land.
Or S-T-R-E-T-C-H: Slowly stretching for 20 minutes daily stimulates the part of the brain that helps you stay stable, significantly reducing your risk of falling and helping you regain the balance you had 12 years ago, according to a study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
Bolster bone strength by savoring a glass of wine.
For better bones, borrow a lifestyle tweak from the Mediterranean. Oregon State University scientists say that folks who sip 6 oz. of red or white wine daily can put the brakes on bone thinning in 24 hours, plus slash their risk of osteoarthritis by 45 percent. Credit wine’s antioxidants, which mimic bone- and cartilage-strengthening estrogen when they latch on to tissues.
And catch more zzz's: Taking 3 mg. of melatonin before bed helps prevent bone-weakening restless sleep. How? Canadian scientists suggest that regulating your body clock gives bones more time to rebuild overnight.
Protect your vision by taking a nature walk.
Grab a friend and stroll through the park, sign up for a dance class or pop in a Pilates DVD. Regular exercise — no matter what kind you prefer — is the ticket to sharper sight well into old age. Scientists reporting in the journal Ophthalmology found that adults who worked out at least three times a week were 58 percent less likely to experience vision loss compared to those who were sedentary. Credit goes to exercise’s ability to tamp down vision-hampering oxidative stress and inflammation in the eye.
And snack on citrus: Australian researchers say oranges’ antioxidants shield eyes against free-radical damage and reduce macular degeneration risk by 60 percent.
Sharpen your memory by listening to "oldies."
Think brain blips are par for the course as you age? Think again! In a Johns Hopkins University study, MRI images of subjects’ brains lit up when they listened to a favorite song, and researchers likened the effect to a full workout for the brain. In similar studies, researchers found that enjoying popular music from childhood quickly improves focus and concentration.
And take 10: Resting for 10 minutes after learning something new helps the brain consolidate information and strengthens memory by 31 percent, per research in the journal Nature.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.