Eat 30g of cholesterol-lowering, happy-colon fiber every day.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog – and I hope you are – you’ll know that I don’t spend much time talking about the outward signs of aging. I am interested in how and why we age from the inside out and, most importantly, the ways we can take control of that process. But I know that millions of women and men (and I honestly have to include myself in their midst) care about the externals. And I know that a significant percentage of the more than $88 billion global anti-aging business is devoted to turn-back-the-clock products and treatments that focus solely on looks.
In Counterclockwise, my book, I take readers on a somewhat harrowing plastic surgeon’s eye view of how the body shows its age. The “cures” involve surgeries of any and all parts of the body, fillers, paralytics, lasers, fat transfers, peels, thousands and thousands of dollars and living with the fact that you let vanity triumph over good sense. But there are ways we appear older than we might want to look (or older than our chronological age) that we might not be aware of and do not involve such drastic solutions.
Yesterday I took my work to my favorite local coffee hang-out and, in between typing up interview notes for a story and shopping for flannel sheets (it is getting to be fall, you know) and, okay, checking out the boot sales at zappos, I people-watched. I cold-heartedly, judgmentally, people-watched. Oh you know you do it too. And here’s what I saw. Here are the visual “I’m old” cues I noticed.
Movement. I wasn’t wearing my contacts so my far vision was blurry. That means I could see how a person walked before I was able to make out that person’s face. I could judge age by movement not other visual cues. And movement communicated a lot. Those with loose-limbed, easy walks looked youthful. This group included an 82-year-old acquaintance of mine who, without my contacts, I did not immediately recognize. She walked with the grace and lilt of a woman I at first guessed to be in her 40s. Those with tight-hipped, stiff-kneed, hesitant walks looked old (and most were not).
Posture. Hunched shoulders, curved backs, jutting necks. I was astonished at how much posture communicated either health and youthfulness or weariness and age (or how much time we spend at our computers).
Hair. Lots of ways to go wrong here: limp and lifeless; old-lady helmet-head hair; dark, stark, one-color dye jobs. No, no and no.
Teeth. Wow do teeth make a difference. (Confession: Just before hitting the coffee joint I had spent a lovely hour with my dental hygienist, so I was particularly attuned to teeth.) Yellowish, stained teeth say old. And, a related observation: People who smile a lot look younger – regardless of the hue of their teeth – than people who don’t.
Clothes. Given that my observations took place in Eugene, Oregon and not on Park Avenue, I’m not talking high fashion here. But some women dress old (Mommy jeans or, worse yet, pull-ons, with small-print collared shirts), and some women dress way too young (as in clothes borrowed from their teenage daughter’s closet) – and both extremes make these women appear older than they probably are.
“Cures” for these outward signs of aging involve low-cost, noninvasive actions: daily walking, yoga, a good shampoo and a thoughtful hairdresser, whitening toothpaste, a pair of decent black slacks. Presto. The clock ticks backward.test Filed under Posts | Comment (1)