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According to Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, the fountain of youth isn’t a myth: You can slow the ageing process by adopting healthier lifestyle choices.


“Ageing is a natural part of life, and it brings with it wisdom and experience. But who wouldn’t want to slow the clock down a little bit? While ageing can’t be stopped, some anti-ageing practices can delay signs of ageing,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

1. Consider your diet choices

Did you know that a diet high in inflammatory foods accelerates ageing? Telomeres are structures found at the end of chromosomes that give protection throughout the process of cell division. Telomeres functions as an analogue clock; the shorter, the older the cell, and an inflammatory diet shortens telomeres prematurely, thus contributing to premature ageing.


What dietary choices decrease inflammation? Fresh fruits, like strawberries, blueberries, oranges, leafy green veggies, including spinach and kale, coconut oil, omega-3 fatty acid-containing fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna, and nuts, such almonds and walnuts can help increase the lifespan of telomere functions.

2. Physical exercise: Get moving!

Exercise is one of the most effective anti-ageing strategies. And with good reason: excessive sitting (sedentary behaviour) is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and premature mortality.


Tips to stay active


  • Take a break every 30 minutes from sitting, set an alarm to serve as a reminder to stand or move.
  • Stand while on the phone, occasionally place your laptop on a counter, and stand at your desk occasionally.
  • Park further away from the office or errand location.
  • Avoid elevators and escalators in favour of the stairs.
  • Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity.
  • Strength training with weights or bodyweight exercises promotes bone health and minimises the likelihood of fragile, brittle bones (osteoporosis).

3. Consume alcohol in moderation

A new study indicated that long-term, excessive drinking (alcoholism or alcohol use disorder) accelerates ageing and raises the likelihood of cognitive issues, such as dementia. In addition to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, liver disease, depression, anxiety, cancer, and a weaker immune system, excessive alcohol intake poses several health hazards.


Limit alcohol consumption to two or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer drinks per day for women to slow ageing. 

4. Get adequate sleep

Sleep assists in recharging and repairing the body. Not getting enough sleep can have significant health repercussions, not just make you feel sleepy the next day. Long-term sleep deprivation is related to an increased risk of depression, obesity, infections, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.


Tips for better sleep


  • Create a schedule. Even on the weekends, adhere to the same bedtime and waking time – this aids in maintaining a constant sleep-wake cycle and promotes restful sleep.
  • Calm down. Utilise the hour preceding bedtime for relaxing activities and sleep preparation. Avoid vigorous exercise and bright light from televisions, laptops, and other electronic devices.
  • Before bed, avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. These interfere with falling asleep and obtaining restful sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom calm, dark, and chilly for an excellent sleeping environment.

5. Protect your skin against UV rays and air pollutants

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes photoaging and increases the chance of developing skin cancer.


Although melanoma accounts for only 1% of skin malignancies, it is responsible for most skin cancer mortality. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 106 000 new instances of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2021.


Tips for maintaining sun safety


  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to slow the ageing process.
  • Every day, use broad-spectrum sunscreen. Select a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
  • Apply frequently. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours after sweating or swimming.
  • On foggy days, sun protection is still necessary. UV rays can travel through clouds, and UV exposure occurs throughout the year, even on cloudy days and in the winter.
  • Additionally, blue light from cell phones, televisions, and computer screens can harm skin cells and contribute to photoaging. Look for a sunscreen that combines iron oxides, zinc oxide, and titanium oxide to prevent blue light.


Tips for protecting your skin against air pollution


Indoor and outdoor air pollution also affect the rate of skin ageing. Tiny particles of soot, traffic pollution (particulate matter), and gaseous chemicals such as nitrous oxide float in the air and induce skin darkening.


The development of wrinkles on the face and palms of the hands is accelerated by using unclean fuels for cooking and heating.


Some antioxidants protect the skin from environmental pollutants and reduce its damage. Vitamins C and E, among other nutrients, can help:


  • Reduce hyperpigmented patches
  • Increase collagen
  • Decrease wrinkles
  • Protect your skin from future air pollution harm

6. Reduce stress for better health

Stress is a part of everyday existence. But chronic, long-term stress can lead to significant health problems and an early demise.


Chronic stress is associated with heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression, immunological diseases, headaches, heartburn, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.


Meditation is beneficial for stress management. Regular meditation expands the region of the brain responsible for emotion regulation. One-hour-per-week meditators report an increase in happiness and satisfaction.

7. Quit or don’t start smoking

If you smoke, you’re probably aware that quitting is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Worldwide, smoking is the most significant preventable cause of death, with smokers dying an average of ten years earlier than nonsmokers.9

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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