How to stay youthful at any age


Photo app filters are handy at helping us look younger than we actually are, but chances are, some days, you feel a lot older than you are. Your body is the more accurate judge of your age. Here are ways to keep your body youthful throughout the ages.

Sometimes wild inaccuracies can be cause for a good laugh, as is often the case with age-prediction apps. These apps detect and analyse your face from a photo, and then use algorithms to predict how old you are. Sometimes, the results are flattering... other times, you find that by wearing a hat that covers your hair, you magically become 15 years older.

A more accurate way to consider your age is to analyse your health and lifestyle factors. Risk factors like smoking and stress legitimately age you more than you might imagine, and things like physically activity have been shown to tangibly increase longevity.

Learn what age your body says you are

Curious about how healthy you really are? The Vitality Age assessment is a simple measure of how healthy you are relative to your actual age. It measures all aspects of your wellness like exercise, nutrition and stress. The feedback can help identify and prevent or manage any health risks early on.

The Vitality Age assessment is an important health check which assist you in understanding your health and any health risk factors you may have. This is the first step to educating yourself on the real state of your wellbeing. Knowing and understanding your health has become crucial in a country where nearly half (48.7%) of South Africans with hypertension have never been screened and remain at an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

Five ways to stay youthful at any age

These tips on how to stay youthful can sound simple, but surprisingly a few people are consistent with them all. When you start prioritising and practicing these healthy habits you will feel the difference in your overall wellness in just weeks:

  • Relax: Researchers have found that stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. Adrenaline and cortisol causes blood pressure to rise and your heart to beat faster, and chronic doses of these hormone surges take a heavy toll on your physical and psychological health. Meditating for at least 10 minutes a day and getting enough good quality sleep go a long way in helping your body recover from stress.
  • Lose the belly fat: There is overwhelming evidence, in animal research and increasingly in humans, that a kilojoule-restricted diet is associated with increased longevity. In addition, a 2009 study tracked 6 583 people for over 30 years and found that having considerable belly fat in midlife can nearly triple your risk of dementia.
  • Use your noodle: Staying mentally sharp as you age can protect your brain from Alzheimer's and prevent cognitive decline. Don't stop learning and challenging your brain as you grow older - take up a musical instrument or a new language, join a special interests club, or try a new travel route to keep those synapses firing.
  • Up your aerobic activity: Aerobic activity is a powerful stimulus for improving mental health, says a 2012 study on the effect of aerobics on your brain structure. The researchers predict that future studies will demonstrate "the potential of exercise as a tool to remediate a variety of debilitating diseases, as well as to maximise cognitive potential in development or to lessen the burden of cognitive decline associated with aging."
  • Pack in those plants: Longevity studies have found that people who live the longest tend to eat less meat, and more beans, soy, dark leafy greens and nuts. Super-fruit like pomegranates and goji berries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants like carotenoids that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost the immune system and stimulate the release of natural human growth hormones. Remember, by finding out your Vitality Age and doing a Vitality Health Check, you can also increase your HealthyFood cash back up to 25% at Pick n Pay or Woolworths.

Head of Vitality Wellness Dr Craig Nossel also stresses the value of keeping tabs on your body as you grow older by going for age-appropriate health screenings. "An annual Vitality Health Check is an opportunity for our members to understand their health and be empowered to make necessary changes if needed. We have made health screenings easily accessible to our members by offering the check at a wide network of healthcare providers and have removed the cost barrier by ensuring that the test comes at no cost to the member."

So this Youth Month, try out the anti-aging tips above, and take advantage of all Vitality's benefits and rewards to start enjoying your best health at every age.


Have you found out your Vitality Age?

Your Vitality Age is a measure of how healthy you are relative to your actual age.
It measures all aspects of your wellness like exercise, nutrition and stress. Plus, completing the assessment can earn you 2 500 Vitality points!

By finding out your Vitality Age and doing a Vitality Health Check you will increase your cash back on HealthyFood at Pick n Pay or Woolworths and HealthyCare at Clicks or Dis-Chem. Find out today.

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