Ever wondered if you’re doing well for your age? You know, more of a Benjamin Button type than the 30-year-old who’s already complaining of a sore back and creaky knees on the stairs?
Well, thanks to a new free-to-use health and wellbeing age calculator, launched by AIA Vitality, you can gain powerful insight into how you’re really faring.
So far, the calculator has revealed a concerning insight into the real health age of Aussies, finding that some health ages are up to nine years older than their chronological ages.
It has also shown that Millennials (18-39) have the healthiest Body Mass Index (BMI), while Baby Boomers (55-74) have the least healthy BMI.
Gen X (40-54) reportedly drinks the most alcohol; and while Millennials are doing the most exercise, they also show the highest distress score when it comes to mental health.
All of these lifestyle factors contribute to your health age – so, if you’re after some simple ways to reduce your AIA Vitality Age, read on.
1. Start resistance training
Not into weights? According to Elliott Upton, NASM-certified personal trainer at Ultimate Performance, you should be.
“A plethora of studies have demonstrated that resistance training is crucial if you want to stay feeling younger, vibrant and healthy for longer,” says Upton.
He explains that if you’re not flexing your muscles enough, this can potentially cause loss of muscle mass and strength, mobility issues, frailty, poor posture, weak bones, reduced daily physical function and lifespan.
The World Health Organization recommends adults aged 18-64 aim for at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week – adding some weights and resistance training into your cardio is a great tip.
2. Boost your collagen
As we get older, our bodies begin to produce less collagen – and over time, this results in skin changes, including fine lines, wrinkles and declining elasticity.
One way to boost our collagen levels by upping our fruit intake. For instance, you could try eating more oranges – research in Indian Dermatology Online Journal suggests that Vitamin C-containing foods can boost collagen production.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research found that levels of collagen in the bloodstream also rise when ginseng is consumed.
Although ginseng probably isn’t something you’d find on most shopping lists, thanks to its collagen-producing properties, cooking up a soup with the root of this plant may actually be an underrated (and potent) way to beat ageing.
3. Add mushrooms to your meals
You already know you should be ditching the fries for fruit and veg – but did you know the humble mushie can play a part in keeping you young and spritely?
According to Faye James, accredited nutritionist and author of longevity and anti-ageing bestseller The Long Life Plan, “good nutrition is absolutely necessary in slowing the ageing process.”
James says mushrooms, in particular, are a key food you can eat to preserve longevity.
“A recent study by Pennsylvania State University found that mushrooms contain high amounts of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, compounds known to help prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” she explains.
4. Drink green tea
Feel like your skin isn’t exactly getting any younger? It may be time to add a daily cup of green tea to your life.
As well as containing a little hit of caffeine (but typically less than coffee) for your morning or arvo boost, green tea leaves are packed with plant polyphenols, which help protect the skin from ageing.
Studies have shown that green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (aka very good news for your skin health) and can even protect the skin from sun damage.
5. Stress (way) less
Hands up who has gained an extra frown line or two in 2020?
Dr Karen Phillip, counselling psychotherapist and naturopathic nutritionist, says that in addition to things like good skincare, taking care of our minds is oh-so powerful when it comes to beating the ageing process.
“Less stress, a happy life and healthy relationships are all needed. It has been proven that when we feel, think and act young, we look younger and have far more energy,” she says.
Now, there’s just the excuse we were looking for to round up the crew for a girls’ night out.
AIA, with AIA Vitality, is on a mission to get Australians making the small changes they need to live healthier, longer, better lives. To find out your health and wellbeing age visit aiavitalityage.com.au.