15 Habits That Make You Feel and Look Older Than You Really Are

Getting older doesn’t seem very fun. Most people over 65 are sick or living with diseases like dementia. It becomes apparent your body and your mind don’t operate the way they did even 10 years ago. For the first time, you’re truly starting to feel old — even if you aren’t really as old as your body seems to think it is.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though — and there’s a lot you can do to feel young again. Here are the everyday habits that are making you look and feel old, and how to get rid of them.

1. Losing touch with your friends

elderly group of women having a meal

Friends are more important than you may think. | monkeybusinessimages/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Research has shown that older adults who maintain an active social life show signs of better mental and physical health than those who remain more isolated. Make sure you’re spending time with family, friends, and members of your nearby community as regularly as you can.

Next: Your thoughts can actually influence how old you feel.

2. Having a bad attitude about getting older

Gardener taking care of her plants

Staying positive is key. | iStock.com/Ivanko_Brnjakovic

Is your attitude really as influential over your health as they say? Researchers believe thinking positively about getting older actually contributes to healthier brain aging. The last thing you want to do is mope around, always grumpy and complaining about things.

Next: Love keeping your house warm? You might be hurting your health.

3. Turning up the thermostat

Fireplace with fire burning

A cooler temperature and lots of humidity are the way to go. | DigitalVision/Getty Images

Do you prefer keeping the temperature inside your house well above 70 degrees? Constant exposure to dry heat, especially in the winter, can dry out your skin, promote the formation of wrinkles, and more. If you still want to stay warm, consider keeping a humidifier running to put moisture back into the air.

Next: Certain “beauty” products might really help you look and feel younger.

4. Letting your skin dry out

Applying lotion on hands

Time to slather on some lotion! | OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

While some people prefer not to use lotions or other products on their skin, shopping for the right products might help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy all year. Here are some of the best inexpensive moisturizers you can buy at your local drugstore.

Next: Too much exposure to this can also cause your skin to wrinkle.

5. Not protecting yourself from the sun

Woman hands putting sunscreen

This is an obvious one, but still gets missed from time to time. | travnikovstudio/iStock/Getty Images

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, not protecting yourself from the sun can really hurt — and age — your skin. You can wear a hat and protective clothing, but don’t forget about sunscreen. Here are the sunscreens that are (and aren’t) worth buying.

Next: You probably do this every week, but it’s secretly aging you.

6. Drinking through a straw


Who knew? | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Did you know drinking through a straw might be a health hazard? At the very least, puckering your lips so frequently — which you have to do to use a straw — can cause noticeable lines and wrinkles to form around your mouth.

Next: Even standing a certain way can make you look, and feel, old.

7. Slouching

Confused older man at a desk

Sitting upright is key to a youthful look. | iStock.com/Tay Jnr

When you were younger, you may have been scolded once or twice about your posture. It turns out slouching can actually make you look and feel older, especially when you don’t realize you’re doing it. Sit and stand up straight. It won’t just make you feel taller or more confident — it might make you feel young.

Next: How much time you do, or don’t, spend in bed makes a difference.

8. Not getting enough sleep

Alarm clock on laptop

You may need more sleep than you think. | iStock.com/BrianAJackson

Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Can’t seem to get to bed on time? Do you wake up before your alarm with no hope of snoozing again? Your health could be in jeopardy. Sleep deprivation isn’t just slowly killing you — it’s aging you, too.

Next: Think this habit is a waste of time? You’re probably wrong.

9. Avoiding meditation

Woman meditating

This daily habit has the power to beat stress. | Poike/iStock/Getty Images

Did you know stress can make you look and feel old? Too much stress hormone isn’t good for anyone, especially if you’re trying to maintain your youth for as long as you can. Even just a few minutes of meditation every day can change everything.

Next: Not a fan of exercise? You’re missing out on this one benefit.

10. Not working out enough

Senior couple performing yoga exercise

Even slow stretching goes a long way. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

Workouts are good for your heart, your bones, and even your mind — so don’t skip them too many days in a row! Getting enough exercise even decreases your dementia risk, giving you a little extra protection as your brain gets older.

Next: Even if you do exercise, this habit basically cancels it out.

11. Sitting most of the day

professor, teacher

You should make a point to get up from your desk (or couch) regularly. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Let’s say, hypothetically, you got up early this morning, worked out for 30 minutes, and had an unusually healthy breakfast. You’re doing great! Don’t ruin it by spending the rest of your day sitting. It’s bad for you — so much so that it could even cancel out all those super healthy things you did earlier.

Next: Your diet might be the reason you feel super old right now.

12. Following a low-fat diet

assorted nuts

Rather than trying out a fad, stick to whole foods. | Margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

It’s time for your personal war with fatty foods to come to an end. A diet that includes healthy fats — including foods like nuts, fish, and avocados — is actually good for your skin. Of course, these foods are also good for your heart and brain, keeping you thinking, looking, and feeling younger.

Next: Your sweet tooth isn’t doing you any favors when it comes to your skin.

13. Eating too many desserts

homemade chocolate cake

You may have to cut back on some of your favorites. | iStock.com/repinanatoly

Cookies, cake, pie, and doughnuts are the sweet treats we all wish we could eat for every meal. Unfortunately, too much sugar doesn’t just promote weight gain or increase your risk of heart disease. It also affects your skin, hair, and more.

Next: One glass of wine is probably fine. Here’s how more than that might be aging you.

14. Drinking too much alcohol

Two wine glasses

Alcohol should be a treat, not a habit. | ValentynVolkov/iStock/Getty Images

You don’t have to be an alcoholic to drink too much. Indulging in more than the recommended two to three drinks per day can age you physically and mentally, in addition to slowly destroying you from the inside out. You don’t have to quit drinking. Just try not to overdo it.

Next: Quitting this bad habit might be easier than you think.

15. Smoking

Man smoking a cigarette

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body. | iStock.com/Minerva Studio

You’ve heard that smoking slowly destroys your body over time. But it does more than coat the insides of your lungs and weaken your heart. It also makes you look and feel old, narrowing the blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin and causing wrinkles all over your body.

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