Special Report

Drinking Through a Straw and Other Mistakes That Are Aging You

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16. Sitting all day

The benefits of regular exercise don’t stop at weight control and higher levels of happiness. You may be able to slow down the skin’s natural aging process by working out a few times a week. Research has found that the muscles of older people who have exercised for years are very similar to those of healthy young adults. Exercising has made them biologically about 30 years younger.

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17. Applying sunscreen only when the sun is out

Sunscreen is not only for summertime at the beach. The sun’s harmful rays can penetrate the clouds and windows to get to your skin, causing wrinkles, spotting and loss of elasticity. A study compared more than 900 people who applied sunscreen every day with others who did so only once in a while. The former showed no visible signs of photoaging after 4.5 years, and 24% less skin aging.

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18. Avoiding fatty foods

Not all fat is created equal, and the body needs the healthy kind, as its name — essential fatty acids — suggests. You can only get these from foods such as fish, nuts, avocado, eggs, chia seeds, olive oil, and some fortified foods. Omega-3s and omega-6s are essential for building healthy cells. They help produce the skin’s natural oil, which keeps it hydrated and glowing.

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19. Crash dieting

Extreme limited-nutrition diets do more harm than good, While some weight loss may be a desired result, it comes at a steep price, including dehydration, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, and muscle loss. When basic nutritional requirements are not met, the first organ to suffer is the skin. Vitamins and minerals have antioxidant properties, helping the skin stay healthy and youthful.

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20. Multitasking

Although it seems to be a desirable characteristic when looking for a job, multitasking can hinder productivity and increase stress and fatigue. Research has shown that chronic stress shortens DNA telomeres, causing premature cellular aging. How exactly chronic stress damages the skin is not clear, but higher cortisol levels and cell changes are possible reasons.

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