There’s aging, then there’s aging well. The difference comes down to knowing what our bodies need — and then having a little fun with it!
All month, hormone hacker, aging expert and May Guest Editor, Dr. Sara Gottfried, has been showing us how to grow up gracefully, and equipping us with ways to do it regardless of how many decades we have under out belt. This week we’re diving into her picks for the coolest tools to age with ease, from a high-tech meditation headband to a sauna date night…
Rapid, unnecessary aging is the biggest problem I see unaddressed right now in modern medicine. It’s the reversible problem that no one knows they have. My newest book Younger, is about how you’re stuck with the genes you have but not how they’re expressed or communicated in your body. Up to 90% of the gene activity that occurs with aging and contribute to disease can be turned back by lifestyle choices and the environment created by your chosen lifestyle.
In this book, I reveal what I call the “Younger protocol”. It’s a system of living that helps you interpret the warning signs of age in your body – the worsening vision, the thinner skin, the weaker lungs, the faulty memory – and turn them around to help you feel healthier and stronger. During the seven-week protocol, I share food, sleep, exercise, stress-busting and brain-boosting ideas. Discover the top cures that will slow down your aging process. Here are a few of my favorite tips…
Meditate. on another level.
Treat yourself to a Muse Brain-Sensing Headband for game-ifying meditation (pictured!). Because meditation reduces how you perceive stress, it has the power to help you maintain optimal levels. Muse assesses your brain’s state and then provides concordant music or other sounds to easily enter a meditative state. This makes meditation fun, and there’s even a self-competitive feature to encourage you to grow your practice.
Sauna It Up.
If you want to live long and healthy, you need molecular chaperones to tend to your DNA, and that’s what sitting in a sauna provides. Of all these forms of heat, dry saunas have the most evidence that they help you age well. Infrared saunas are not far behind. Sauna bathing is also relaxing; it eases stress while adding to your healthspan.
Hot saunas increase circulation, lower blood pressure and boost longevity. It’s like a mini workout, and the heat allows you to sweat out toxins through your skin. In my home, I have a two-person sauna by Sunlighten. My husband and I love it. Date night in the sauna! Jump into the sauna for at least 20 minutes four times per week for all the great benefits.
stress less + monitor it.
If you ask your doctor what your pulse is, he or she will usually give you a single number, typically between 60 and 90 beats per minute. But the heart does not beat like an unchanging metronome; the intervals between one heartbeat and the next are variable. HRV is the beat-to-beat variation in consecutive heartbeats as shown in electrocardiogram (EKG) recordings. A healthy heart rate is always variable because a body is always in a state of physiological and emotional change. When you inhale, your heart rate speeds up, and when you exhale, it slows down.
There are many options available to monitor heart rate variability (HRV) at home, on the go and while working out. Most require an app on a device such as an iPhone and a heart rate monitor. There are wrist-based monitors, as well as Bluetooth-enabled chest-strap monitors. I recommend a chest-strap version, as it is more likely to give a clinical-grade measurement. Here are two apps that do the job well.
The SweetBeat HRV app (iOS, Android) focuses on stress reduction, training and heart rate recovery. It will alert you when your HRV is not at a healthy level, prompting you to engage in a stress-reduction effort. The training component assesses whether you can train full out. Whether you should have a low-intensity day or even a day off.
The HeartMath Inner Balance Transformation System is an application that comes with a sensor and an earpiece that takes a pulse reading from your earlobe. The system encourages you to moderate your breathing and focus on positive emotions in order to reduce negative stress, improve relaxation and build resilience. By synchronizing your breathing using a breathing pacer on the app, you can make your HRV healthier and achieve a state of coherence. Get HeartMath
Tea time, but really.
Guayusa is a ‘clean energy’ herb from the Amazon that has twice the antioxidants of green tea. One cup of this brewed white tea has 40-66 mg of caffeine, significantly less than coffee and black tea. Make a daily mug of hot tea to fill yourself up with polyphenols and antioxidants. Recruit the anti-inflammatory elements found in good tea.
use Cleaner Cosmetics.
Labels like “natural,” “chemical free,” “noncomedogenic” or “for sensitive skin” can fool us into thinking we’re buying something safe. That’s not always the case. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, about 89% of the ingredients in all cosmetics (soaps, lotions, makeup, etc.) haven’t been evaluated by any publicly accountable agency or institution. It’s seriously scary business! I cleaned out my makeup drawer years ago and replaced everything with safer products. Here’s what I use regularly:
Annmarie Skin Care sells effective, organic, and cruelty-free beauty products made from natural oils and herbs. Tarte Cosmetics are lovely, clean, and serious powerhouses in the makeup department. Tarte specializes in high-performance cosmetics, which are glamorous and environmentally friendly. Zoya, Acquarella, and Keeki Pure and Simple for nail polish, which rank 2 or less on the EWG’s Skin Deep guide. Learn More.
Know Your Genes.
Perhaps the best-known personal genetics company, 23andMe lets you begin your gene exploration online by ordering one of its spit kits for $199. Once you receive your Personal Genome Service, you register and spit into the included container. Processing results takes six to eight weeks (after mailing back your saliva). Once the test has been completed, you can take advantage of the appendix in my new book, Younger, to learn about your disease risk and how to alter your lifestyle accordingly.
Detox Your Hair.
Hairprint is my go-to for a healthier hair-coloring alternative based on eco-chemistry. Conventional hair dye has links to a greater risk of breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, acute leukemia, multiple myeloma, and bladder cancer. Hairprint offers a nontoxic method to restore gray hair to its natural color. It works for brunettes and darker-colored hair, not blondes, although I’ve had good success with my light brown hair. (If you look at my book covers over the past five years, my hair has gotten darker due to abandoning toxic chemicals and replacing with Hairprint.)
The Magic of Zzz
Sleep is magic, a vital health boost for both body and brain. You want to make sure you’re getting all you can from your sleep time. While you could go to a sleep lab, why do that when you could get a sleep tracker, like the Jawbone Up and Misfit Ray to report the health of your zzzs.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.