Words Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen | Photo Los Muertos Crew

I love growing older. There is this innate sense of security, stability and pride that comes along with it. 

With every passing year, I feel that I evolve – mentally, physically, spiritually. With every passing birthday, I feel the better version of myself emerge. With every decade, amazing shifts happen – between and within me. While many I know dread the passing of each calendar year – equating growing numbers in age as a hindrance to the many exciting things out there, ladies like the very much celebrated 72 years old, wedding gown designer, Vera Wang embraces it with lots of fun injected.

In my course of work, I often meet individuals faced with the uncertainties of being and growing older. Clients often come around as early as at the turn of their 4th decade, wanting to stop the hands of time. Those who can afford it will go towards what is called the ‘syringe-and-knife’ route.  The decision is somewhat personal and varies from person to person. However, while fillers, injections and surgeries might offer an instant result and gratification, the sense of dissatisfaction can be overwhelming and the psychological need to have more done can be somewhat damaging.

There are no magic potions to reverse the growth in age, however, there are a couple of tweaks that can be implemented in day-to-day living to ensure that while the numbers do rise in their value, so does the rest of you.

First and foremost, it is necessary to maintain a very positive outlook on being older. The Journal of The American Medical Association in their findings, state that those who think of age as a means to overall satisfaction and wisdom are more likely to be happier and contented. Like what is always said, perspective and mindset is everything.

Have you ever woken up one fine morning looking and feeling better than you usually do?  So, you’ll look back on the previous night and try to figure out what you did differently. Then a little whisper goes in your head, “You slept early.” It has been researched time and again how a good night’s rest is imperative for skin health. Lack of it, for a prolonged period, will only result in dull, lacklustre, wrinkly skin. Head to bed early and see the difference it does to your skin.

If there is one single thing you take away from this article will be this – never lose that inner little girl or boy. The hearty laugh, cheeky disposition and amazing feeling of wonder – every day.   Contrary to belief, growing older does not equate to being continuously serious, deep in thoughts or dull.  Give some time for that little girl or boy to be part of your day and see everything else change within and around you.

After the age of 30, you begin to lose about 3% to 5% of muscle mass every decade. Less muscle equates to greater weakness and mobility, both of which may increase your risk of falls and fractures. Protein is known to help build and preserve muscles. Aim to get at least 0.8 to 1 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, every day.

Weight training builds muscles and maintains bone density, which in turn makes it easier to help regulate your weight. A leaner body with more muscle is metabolically active and burns more calories all day long. Weight train at least 2 to 4 times weekly.  No weights or not able to join a gym membership?  No problems.  Use your own bodyweight to train; the likes of push-ups, squats, planks and tricep dips, amongst others.

Evidence has shown time and again that using a sunscreen every day helps slow down the skin’s ageing process. People who use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, experience 24 per cent less skin ageing than those who only apply it intermittently. The difference in number is astounding and enough to make anyone run to the nearest drugstore to get a tube.

About 13 years ago, I decided to go easy on sugar and that is the best decision of my life.  As an Asian who loves her sweet tea and afternoon cakes laden with sugar, that decision was not the easiest. However, after reading and researching how sugar causes all the fine lines, saggy skin and wrinkles, it becomes very apparent what is the best decision to take. So, here is a little back story on how these sweet little granules work to age your skin. The damage is done through a natural process called glycation. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As AGEs accumulate, they damage the proteins around them. The most vulnerable proteins are those that serve as the building blocks for your skin, namely collagen and elastin. They help keep skin firm, elastic and are responsible for the plump and bouncy characteristics of a healthy and youthful complexion. AGEs make your collagen and elastin stiff, dry and brittle, zapping them of strength and spring. The effect is seen on your complexion in the form of fine lines, sagging and wrinkles.

It has been said that couples who have sex regularly look 7 years younger. Dr Amy Wechsler has this to say, “We’re constantly damaging and repairing our skin, and you want to tip the scale more towards the repair.” She explained, “When you have sex, you’re bathing the skin in anti-inflammatory molecules such as oxytocin and beta-endorphins. As we get older, we don’t heal as often as we repair. But having sex can turn the clock back on that.” So, what are you waiting for? 

There are natural remedies that can help reduce the appearance of premature ageing like wrinkles and sunspots. Natural oils have becomes the favourites of many of those who have experienced great benefits and results. My current pick – sweet almond oil and frankincense. My skin has never felt or looked better!

Retinol is Vitamin A and it sinks into the skin and speeds up cell turnover, causing the body to churn out fresher smoother skin. What it does is tricking the body into thinking it’s younger than it is. Results will appear at least three months with consistent night use. You will see a reduction in fine lines, dark spots and acne.  It also works at preventing and smoothing wrinkles.

What can be a greater catalyst to soothe our being from inside out than a good old meditation? Set aside some time to calm your nerves. This will help immensely in preventing premature ageing. Meditation is said to increase melatonin by 98 to 300 per cent. Apart from being a sleeping hormone, it is an anti-ageing agent, immune-regulator, anti-depressant and antioxidant. It helps to slow cell damage and keeps energy levels up. Meditation can also increase the production of DHEA by 44 to 90 per cent. DHEA is a hormone that reduces as we grow older.  It is a powerful anti-ageing hormone and is a key determinant of our physiological age. It guards the body against disease, increases sexual libido and maintains the youthfulness and virility of the body. Just about 15 minutes a day for all that benefits – why not?

Believe it or not, the more you smile, the happier you’ll feel (the opposite is also true – the more you frown, the grumpier you will be). Smiling reduces stress and makes you feel more positive. Researches found that those who smile are often perceived as being younger than their actual age, while those who frown seem to be older than they are. So, make smiling part of your day. Who says you need any reasons to smile? Smile for no absolute reason and the whole world will smile with you.

The world is moving in all directions trying to find that fountain of youth that we forget the antidote of ageing might just be within us. Keep happy thoughts, eat good food, laugh lots and dress-up – oh, and never forget that faux-tortoiseshell sunglasses!