To hear some experts tell it, once you turn 40, it’s normal to start feeling tired, achy and just plain blah. But that’s simply not true, asserts Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Making Life Easy. “Your body was designed for health, vitality and well-being for your entire life. Our bodies don’t betray us, and they needn’t deteriorate with each passing year.” Even if you’ve been under stress or eaten a less than healthy diet (hello, barbeque season!), it’s easy to repair the damage, she promises. All it takes is a few simple tweaks to your routine, which will have a dramatic impact on how you feel now and for years to come. Read on for Dr. Northrup’s top anti-aging strategies—you’ll be more energized, healthier and stress-free in no time!
Try the tennis ball trick. Healthy feet are a must if you want to stay active and pain-free, says Dr. Northrup. And maintaining the fascia, a continuous weblike network of tissue that starts in the feet and connects every muscle, bone, organ and nerve in your body, is key. “Physiological stressors can thicken this tissue, causing stiffness and pain,” she explains. But simulating the soles of your feet can regenerate fascia throughout the body. To do: Firmly roll each foot over a tennis ball for two minutes three times a day.
Do this when you walk. Combining easy exercise with meditation boosts mood and energy while slashing the risk of high blood pressure, depression and dozens of other health issues. To do: Breathe deeply and focus on the sensation of your body in motion (arms swinging, feet pushing off the ground) as you walk. Says Dr. Northrup, “The key is to move your muscles while staying present in the moment.”
Detox in the tub. “Regular gentle detoxes sharpen focus, rev energy and improve long-term health,” says Dr. Northrup. That’s because toxin buildup leads to fatigue, fog and other health woes. The skin is the largest detox organ, so she suggests soaking in a steamy Epsom salts bath, which opens pores to speed toxin removal by up to 30 percent. To do: Mix two cups of Epsom salts ($9 for 2lbs, Amazon.com) in hot water and soak for 20 minutes three times a week.
Supplement with D. Vitamin D activates hundreds of anti-aging genes, cutting the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis in half, plus bringing instant benefits like more energy. But at least 80 percent of us are deficient now since skin only makes D in sunlight. That’s why Dr. Northrup suggests taking 5,000 IU of D3 daily (but see your doctor for your ideal dose.) One we like: Life Extension Vitamin D3 5,000 IU ($8 for 60 softgels, Amazon.com).
Nourish your gut. “A healthy microbiome is the very best protection against disease,” asserts Dr. Northrup. The reason? Gut bacteria produce 80 percent of the body’s immune cells and brain-nourishing neurotransmitters. She advises eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and miso daily and supplementing with a probiotic like Nature’s Way Fortify Women’s ($21 for 30 capsules, Amazon.com).
Travel back in time. “Picturing yourself in your prime can reverse aging,” says Dr. Northrup. In a Harvard University study, older people who did things that evoked their youth (reading magazines and watching TV shows from the 1950s), looked 10 years younger and had dramatic improvements in hearing and vision in 2 weeks. To get the perks, Dr. Northrup advises looking at old photos, listening to favorite tunes and returning to old hobbies.