Ten Tips for a Great Looking Body at Any Age
The endless parade of fitness advice in the media can make staying in shape seem more complicated than it should be. In reality, the basics are fairly simple. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, load up on nutritional supplements or splash out on anti-aging treatments. Taking care of just a few key issues can have dramatic benefits for your appearance. Even better, many of the things that keep you looking good also contribute to better health overall.
1) Nourish Your Skin From Within
To stay smooth and maintain a healthy glow, your skin needs plenty of good fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contain the essential fatty acids (omega-3s and omega-6s, which it should be noted can be found in greater quantities in grass fed products) needed to build skin cells and other cells. Get these skin-nourishing fats by eating more vegetable oils like olive and peanut oil, cold-water fish like salmon and herring, avocados, and poultry. Your heart will thank you, too. Following a diet rich in healthy fats cuts your risk of cardiovascular disease. To learn more read the art of skin care.
2) Reign in the Refined Carbs
Despite what the popularity of low-carb diets may lead you to believe, carbohydrates aren’t the devil. What leads us astray are too many refined carbs. Besides being nutritionally void, these highly processed foods also increase your risk of packing on belly fat. A dietary study published in the June 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people who ate the most refined carbs gained the most abdominal fat. That matters because fat around your midsection raises your risk of chronic disease more than fat elsewhere on your body. Study participants who ate the typical American “meat and potatoes” diet gained the most total weight, but the fat was more evenly distributed and therefore less of a health threat. So ditch the white bread, white rice, pastries, and soda and opt for whole, minimally processed foods instead. Whole-grain bread, fresh veggies, and hearty bean soups provide real nutrition and help keep your waist trim. Better yet take control, and make your own bread at home – it has never been easier with these top of the range bread makers.
Two Tips to reduce excessive saturated fats and sugar:
If you like sodas then take control of what goes into them by purchasing a soda stream – this way you are fully in charge of the creation process. Check out Groom+Style’s review of the best soda streams.
If you like the crunch of deep fried food, consider the benefits of an air fryer. A top quality air fryer will turn out crunchy fries and chicken with 90% less fat.
3) Muscle in
Just being a healthy weight doesn’t guarantee you’ll look fit. Lean muscle mass is what fills out your frame and gives you an attractive physique. Strong muscles also help you carry yourself better, so you’ll appear healthier and more confident. At minimum, shoot for two total-body workouts each week. That means picking at least one exercise for each major muscle group and performing 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise. If you don’t have access to weight lifting equipment, go with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats and abdominal exercises.
4) Picture-Perfect Eyes
Bright eyes are a classic sign of good health, but lack of sleep, long hours on the computer, and dry indoor air can leave you with puffy, red eyes that look anything but healthy – a humidifier can help to reduce dry indoor air. To protect your eyes from damage, diet is your first line of defense. Get plenty of eye-supportive vitamin A from dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter and from orange, yellow, and dark green vegetables and fruits. Vitamin E from vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds is another important nutrient for healthy eyes. Healthy fats come into play here, too. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids are proven to help with dry eye syndrome.
Wear sunglasses to defend your eyes from bright sun and harsh wind. Applying sunscreen under your eyes might seem like a good way to stave off wrinkles, but be cafeful which brand you choose. Most sunscreens contain skin-drying alcohol. To protect delicate under-eye skin and minimize drying, stick with sunscreens that are free from alcohol and list only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. Indoors, go easy on the heat and air conditioning. Too much of either dries out your eyes and your skin.
5) Put Your Heart into it
You don’t necessarily need to run a marathon, but even if you don’t have a weight problem, cardiovascular exercise should still be part of your daily routine. Regular workouts not only hold off excess weight gain, they’re also critical for keeping your heart and lungs in top form. When your cardiovascular and respiratory systems are in good shape, you’ll be more energetic and alert, which is always attractive.
Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day is the minimum you should aim for. If you can fit in an hour or so, you’ll get even greater health benefits. A moderate-intensity cardio workout should raise your heart rate noticeably and leave you a little out of breath. Brisk walking or biking, vigorous sports, fast ballroom dancing, and even raking leaves all qualify.
6) Save Your Skin
Harsh cleansers don’t clean you better than gentle ones, they just damage your skin more. Chemical-laden soaps strip your skin’s natural oils and cause irritation, leading to dry, rough skin that looks old before its time. For healthier skin, wash with mild natural soaps and warm (not hot) water, and look for natural skin care alternatives. Look for soaps free from artificial colorants and fragrances. Bar soap’s fine for your body, but for your face, choose a mild liquid variety like liquid Castile soap. Liquid soap is less drying and helps maintain your skin’s natural pH balance, leaving you with smoother skin and fewer breakouts.
7) Perfect Your Posture
Nobody looks good slouching, but poor posture is an easy habit to fall into. It affects more than your looks, too. Over time, bad posture weakens your back and abdominal muscles, making it increasingly difficult to stand tall. A few simple exercises like bridges, side leg lifts, and wall angels can pull you out of your slump. For a real improvement look into yoga or pilates – and if you want to fully commit to pilates then purchase a high quality pilates reformer.
To perform wall angels, stand four inches from a wall with your lower back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms and rest the backs of your forearms against the wall. Move your arms slowly up then down again in a small arc without lifting your elbows away from the wall. Repeat 10 times.
8) Get Your Rest
It’s easier said than done, but sleeping enough is vital for your health. Chronic lack of sleep can trigger a cascade of physical and psychological health problems ranging from impaired concentration, to heart disease and high blood pressure. Many people get by fine on 7 hours of sleep a night, but with any less than 6 hours you’re putting your health at risk. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you may need to make some lifestyle changes like avoiding heavy meals and exercise around bedtime. A natural sleep aid like valerian, passionflower or melatonin may also help. Noise keeping you awake at night? Try a white noise machine that generates soft sounds to mask disturbances like barking dogs, traffic, and up-all-night neighbors.
9) Take Care of Your Hands
After your face, your hands are one of the first things people notice about you. This goes for guys, too. Clean, evenly trimmed nails do a lot for your overall appearance. Moisturizing helps keep your hands looking good, but you can skip most hand creams. Commercial hand lotions are often little more than chemical soup. For healthy hands, apply a natural moisturizer like pure almond oil, coconut oil or Shea butter after washing your hands or showering. To ward off age spots on the backs of your hands, apply sunscreen before you go out.
10) Dress For The Body You Have Now
There’s no reason to deprive yourself of a great wardrobe because you’re not in the shape you want to be. Hiding under drab, baggy clothes makes it all too easy for you to ignore your body. Take pride in your appearance, though, and you’ll find inspiration to take better care of your body and health. Invest a little time in learning what styles and colors show your natural assets in their best light. Choose clothes that are comfortable and that you enjoy wearing. Smooth those legs and bikini line off with a clean shave. If you know you look well put together, you’ll feel better and have more confidence.
Optimal nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep are the foundation of great looks. Even if you don’t have the best habits right now, you don’t need to make major changes to see results. Get started by cutting back on the refined carbs you eat, going for a brisk walk after work or just switching to a more skin-friendly soap. Once you start to see improvements, you’ll have even more motivation to stay in shape.
“American Journal of Clinical Nutrition;” Dietary Patterns and Changes in Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference in Adults; PK Newby, et al; 2003.
United States Department of Agriculture: Watch Your Waistline: Your Health May Depend on It!
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/jun04/waist0604.htm — waist, diet