If there’s one thing that Americans fear, it’s spiders. Spiders and getting old. While we can often evade spiders, aging is unavoidable. It happens to us every day. Many try to escape it, either by clinging to youthful trends or cosmetic surgery. However, others chose to move to the next phase of their lives with poise. There’s a large number of seniors who are taking the lead of the George Clooneys and Meryl Streeps of the world and aging naturally.

That may sound bizarre – aging naturally, like it’s something that you have to work to do – but it flies in the face of the cult of eternal youth. It’s important to know that there are things you can do to age gracefully and look great while doing it. That’s exactly what we’re exploring today.

Not Fighting Aging

One of the most important steps to aging gracefully is to stop running from your age. Accept that you’re getting older and tweak your style to reflect that. This doesn’t mean you have to dress like Mister Rogers. You should base how you dress on how you actually look, not how you want to look.

We’ve previously talked about dealing with aging hair that’s thinning or turning grey. It’s best to either accept your changing style or take action to slow the progression slightly. You should take the same approach when dealing with your aging skin, especially your face.

The trick with using makeup to disguise aging is to use a light touch. In other words, don’t try to cover every wrinkle and look like you’re in your 20s. Your goal is to lessen the signs of aging. Moisturizing your skin regularly can greatly reduce wrinkles. (Don’t worry, guys. There’s nothing wrong with using a little moisturizer.) This action alone may not be enough to fully hide signs of aging, but it reflects the mindset you should have. Less is more. Not overdoing it is especially important since some makeups and creams can make your wrinkles worse!

Remember, desperately trying to hide aging often has the opposite effect. Caking on makeup or trying to force “youthful” styles only draws attention to your aging. At first, it might work (it rarely does), but ultimately, the façade will fade and people won’t be able to help but notice. Keep it up, and eventually, you could end up looking like this guy:

The Dos

Besides artificial ways, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can lessen aging. Chief among these is adding exercise into your schedule.

There are many studies that show seniors who exercise are healthier. One, outlined in “Jogging Turns Back Your Clock,” revealed that seniors who ran three times a week saw significantly less physical decline. Another found that exercising seniors live longer too. Other studies show that physically-active seniors may enjoy a higher quality of life.

Another important factor in “youth” is brain age, or mental sharpness. While running is one way to stay sharp, there are many others. We address a few of them in “Simple Tips to Stay Mentally Sharp.” Adopting a healthy lifestyle, specifically a healthy diet, is also effective.

In fact, a healthy diet is almost a panacea for feeling younger. In our “Brain Foods” series, we analyzed different foods that can prevent mental decline and even make you sharper! Your diet may also help make you look younger, according to some studies. Keep in mind that a poor diet could have the opposite effect.

The Don’ts

As one would expect, there are also habits that are good to break if you want to age gracefully. Paramount among these is giving up smoking. Smoking is not only extremely bad for your health, it also ages you prematurely. One novel study of smokers and their non-smoking twins showed more signs of aging in the smoker. Over time, smoking can cause wrinkles, ruin your natural skin tone, and do damage to your teeth and hair.

While it’d be impossible to avoid entirely, you’ll also want to limit your time in the sun. When you’re outside, use sunscreen to help block the UV rays of the sun. This can decrease skin aging by 24 percent. UV rays can cause up to 80 percent of your wrinkles, so also avoid tanning beds and overexposure to the sun.

Additionally, if you’re worried about aging, it’s important to not stress yourself out over it. Seriously, don’t stress. It can make the issue worse. In fact, stress has been found to speed up the cellular aging process and age our chromosomes by as much as 10 years. It can also cause inflammation, which further speeds the aging process.

If you’re feeling some age-related stress, take a deep breath, try some meditation, or go for a walk. It may just keep you younger.

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As you age, your style will change along with you. Whether this is due to your shifting sensibilities or evolving styles, the most important thing to is to own how you look. Confidence can carry most looks, though not all. So, while you can’t completely avoid aging, you can make sure that you are looking great, no matter what age you are!