The Secrets of Longevity

Stay busy, stay healthy. Plus: Cheap anti-aging strategies, ways to encourage your youthful spirit, and how to be proud of getting old.

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The 10 Best and Cheapest Anti-Aging Products on the Market

Keep yourself in top shape with these 10 proven (and cheap) anti-aging products

When you think about anti-aging products, if you're like most people, your mind automatically goes to expensive and invasive medical treatments. However, just as the best things in life can be free, so can the best ways to prolong your own life and health.  These 10 products will help you reduce the effects of aging on your physical and mental health and maximize your vitality as well as your life expectancy.

Read on to learn about these fantastic (and cheap) 10 products, starting with:

1. The sun. The cheapest anti-aging process is highly plentiful and involves only that you spend some time outside taking in the sun’s healthy rays. Of course, to take the most advantage of the sun’s healthy benefits, you’ll need to get some of anti-aging product number 2- sunscreen. The vitamin D in the sun’s rays help you maintain your bone health and reduce the chances of developing other vitamin-D deficient conditions that are more prevalent with age.  A recent report suggests that healthy women don’t need to take vitamin D supplements (and maybe shouldn’t) as long as they get some of the sun’s natural benefits,

2. Sunscreen. Before you head outside to enjoy the benefits of the sun’s vitamin D, be sure to cover yourself in enough SPF 15 sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB.  This anti-aging product doesn’t have to cost you much if you use one of many available generic or discount store label lotions, creams or sprays. You do need to keep reapplying, though, especially if you plan to spend prolonged time at the beach or even sitting out on a park bench. Without sunscreen, you not only raise your risk of skin cancer, but also fail to protect yourself from photoaging, which is the damage done to your skin from the sun’s radiation. People who use sunscreen are less likely to develop wrinkles, making the small investment in a decent sunscreen well worth the price.  You won’t need to buy expensive anti-aging face creams later in life if you prevent the damage to your skin in the first place.

3. Moisturizer.  While you’re picking up that sunscreen from your local discount store or drugstore, grab yourself a moisturizing product that will hydrate and protect your skin.  Some of the best anti-aging moisturizers contain sunscreen, an added boost.  Moisturizers with retinol can also benefit your skin’s appearance, though these are best used at night. Don’t be fooled by ads for expensive, “collagen-boosting” creams filled with exotic-sounding ingredients. They can't really change the collagen in your skin because they can't reach the molecules they are suppost to target. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to spend the better part of your earnings on effective moisturizers. For example, Neutrogena’s skin care lines are relatively inexpensive and include many of the same active chemicals you would pay 10 times as much for in a high-end department store brand.  These products are no longer just for women; men can also benefit from the exact same skin care products as those that are marketed to women. 

4. Antioxidants. If you’ve looked into anti-aging products before, you’ve no doubt heard about antioxidants. The best forms of antioxidants don’t come in fancy supplements nutrition store supplements, but in the fresh foods you can easily incorporate into your diet. Antioxidants work by slowing down the process of free radical formation. Though they sound like leftovers from a 1960s hippie demonstration, free radicals are simply molecules looking to oxidize compounds in your body and can eventually lead to harmful changes in your body’s cells. Antioxidants reduce the damage potentially caused by free radicals. Here again, you could spend thousands of dollars on antioxidant supplements, creams, and whatever else a marketer decides to promote. All you need to do, though, is incorporate foods into your meals that contain flavonoids. Luckily, flavonoids actually are “flavorful.” You can find them in everything from red wine to chocolate including certain fruits, nuts, vegetables, and teas. Add these to your diet and you won’t need to spend a penny more than you ordinarily would to feed yourself and your family.

5. Good shoes. In one of my studies on aging, a vibrant centenarian we intereviewed explained that one of the 3 secrets to long life is wearing comfortable shoes. Despite the fashion industry’s attempt to force women into arthritis-causing “youthful” stilettos, there are literally thousands of styles that you can choose from that will not have you looking prematurely like a centenarian. Plan to make a larger investment in your shoes than in your wrinkle creams. You need to be sure that your shoes have sufficient support to protect your knees and hips from damage due to everyday use. It’s especially important you invest in decent sneakers for when you plan to work out (see the 2 next products). If you’re a heavy duty runner or exercise buff, you need to replace your sneakers every 3 months (yes, 3 months—not 3 years!). To keep the price down, shop the online and mall outlet stores. The best anti-aging sneaker doesn’t have to be high fashion, but it does need to be high support.

6. Hand weights.  Lifting weights is the key to retaining your bone and muscle strength, and to work, you have to corporate weight-lifting into your regular exercise regime. Luckily, though, you don’t need to join a gym or buy an elaborate piece of gym equipment in order to benefit from resistance training. While you’re doing your discount store shopping for sunscreen and moisturizer, stop by the exercise section. You’ll be surprised to find all sizes and shapes of hand weights at very reasonable prices. Pick up a couple of different sizes (3 pound or 5 pound if you’re a beginner) that you can use right in your own home. Once you’ve got them, check out some web resources, such as this one from the CDC. It’s free and provides links to additional resources, including guidelines for many types of simple but effective exercise.

7. Physical activity. It doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk, yet it is one of the most effective anti-aging treatments around. If your mobility is limited and you can’t walk, you can get similar advantages by doing chair exercises. If mental set, and not mobility, is the problem, then it’s time to switch your way of thinking about exercise. You don't have to commit every waking moment to exercise in order to get its benefits. Just by walking even for a short time each day, you’ll start to enjoy results that will eventually lead you to become even more active. Again, you don’t have to join a fancy gym. Take advantage of natural opportunities such as using the stairs instead of the elevator, perhaps by increasing your endurance one flight at a time. If you hate walking, combine it with an activity you enjoy such as listening to music (but not too loud).  It’s far more expensive not to exercise in terms of poor health and lost productivity than it is to make regular activity a part of your daily routine.  Physical activity is also a key factor in healthy sleeping which, in turn, becomes its own cheap anti-aging side benefit.

8. The arts.  Keeping your brain mentally agile is a key to maintaining your body’s health and- by extension- slow down the aging process.  You might enjoy fine art and classical music, but even if you don’t, there are many ways to define “art,” and even more ways to use enjoyment of the arts to keep you young.  You may or may not be blessed with natural abilities to draw, paint, sing, or dance, by enjoying the products of someone else’s talents, you’ll certainly enjoy the vicarious benefits.  If you do decide to take up a new hobby such as dancing, painting, or singing, these are all inexpensive ways to give you new ways to exercise both above and below the neckline. 

9. Facebook. This was not a typo! Facebook is a completely free anti-aging product that keeps you young by providing you with cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.  Used properly, Facebook keeps you connected to far-flung friends and family, and so boosts your social support. Thousands of studies on emotional health and aging validate the role of social ties to mental and physical well-being. Facebook allows you to maintain virtual ties in a world that makes physical connection sometimes expensive and difficult. What better way to stay involved with your friends and distant family members than by checking out their photos and status updates? Facebook’s free games also can stimulate your cognitive abilities. Though you can pay to play certain video games, there’s no need to do so because there are plenty available through Facebook that can give your brain cells a workout. Staying mentally and socially active is perhaps the best anti-aging product in the world.

10. Smiling. As Coco Chanel famously said, "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty."  By smiling, your face will earn plenty of laugh lines. In terms of maintaining a youthful image, I’ll take laugh lines over frown lines any day of the week. Laughter is also one of the cheapest and best medicines around as humor can boost your immune system's ability to fight off disease. If we need proof of its anti-aging properties, we only have to think of Betty White, Groucho Marx, and George Burns and even Albert Einstein as a few examples of funny people who live to ripe old ages, always with a twinkle in their eye.  By looking at the bright, if not humorous, side of life, your immune system will win the battle with your body’s aging process.

If you’ve kept a tally of the total price of this anti-aging package, the cost is certainly minimal compared to the cost of not taking advantage of these easy and cheap strategies for staying young. More important than what these products do for you on the outside, though, are the way they benefit you on the inside. After all, living to an old age is important but even more so is living your life to its healthiest and most fulfilling max.

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, "Fulfillment at Any Age," to discuss today's blog, to ask further questions about this posting, or to share your own tricks.

Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2012

The Secrets of Longevity