Premature aging: what is it, symptoms, and how to prevent it


Some habits are more destructive than others to the body and mind, causing premature aging. Whether it’s dropping skin from smoking or gaining weight and losing energy due to poor eating habits, there’s nothing good about feeling older than you actually are. None of us wants to feel 80 when we’re still 35, but you might be doing things in a daily basis that only adds to the problem.

These four habits are common and can cause both the mind and body to feel older. Eating poorly, smoking, and lack of sleep can make you look older than you are, too! It’s time to take back control of your life and ditch these habits for good. After all, you want to be around for your golden years without feeling like you’re 100.

The Following Four Habits Can Contribute to Premature Aging

1. Smoking

Does it even need to be said that smoking is terrible for your health? Everyone knows it has been linked to cancer, heart disease, compromised immune function, and so much more (1). Smoking damages critical bodily systems in a way that will make you feel older, but it also causes drooping skin, dental problems, and premature wrinkles.

When you inhale cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling about 7,000 chemicals (2). That’s right, seven thousand. Tobacco farming involves a lot of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, many of which are made with poisonous chemicals like arsenic. Pesticides are designed to kill pests, after all; and cyanide and arsenic are very effective poisons.

The problem is that those poisons wind up in the final tobacco product. You can’t always wash away every bit of the fertilizer or pesticide. How effective do you think arsenic and cyanide are at keeping you looking young and healthy?

Giving up smoking for good is one of the absolute best decisions you can make for your personal health. If you’re afraid of nicotine withdrawal holding you back, you can try things like tobaccoless products (Black Buffalo) or nicotine gum to give you an edge against withdrawal symptoms.

2. Poor Sleep Cycles

If you’re someone that stays up much too late and wakes up early, you’re prematurely aging yourself. Sleep is one of the most important factors in a healthy lifestyle, and the sad fact is that Americans aren’t getting enough of it. According to the CDC, one in three adults isn’t getting enough sleep (3).

Whether it’s stress, overwhelm, insomnia, or just an old rickety mattress, it’s time to get rid of whatever is coming between you and a better night’s sleep. Sleep is the body’s way of recharging, healing, and preparing for the next day. Without it, your body has to work extra hard to fight off pathogens and keep its systems running efficiently.

If you’re looking for ways to get better sleep, here are some helpful tips:

  • Create a bedtime routine and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
  • Get around 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Put your phone and electronics down 30 minutes before bedtime. Read instead. Blue light keeps the brain awake.
  • Replace your mattress!
  • Protect your bedtime at all costs; don’t let distractions pull you away.
  • Work with your partner (if you have one) to make bedtime relaxing.

3. Poor Diet

You probably guessed that diet would be on this list, and rightly so. What we eat can translate poor health if we’re not conscious about what goes into our bodies. Sadly, a large percentage of the population is overweight from a diet of fatty, sugary, carb-rich foods without much nutritional value.

Our diets are assaulted on a daily basis by ads for new fast food products, tasty sodas and sugary drinks like coffee, and more. It’s an endless assault on our willpower, and some of us simply can’t resist. After all, ice cream is just so darn tasty! Who can say no?

Unfortunately, while that pint of ice cream you just ate is delicious, your insides are screaming. High-sugar foods wreak havoc on your heart and internal systems, causing such ailments as diabetes, hypertension, and more.

A diet rich in fresh fruits, veggies, and lean meats is the key to preventing premature aging. You are what you eat!

4. Lethargy

A sedentary lifestyle can ultimately put you in an early grave. It’s estimated that adults should get around 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week; how much have you had this week? When you’re sedentary, the heart and blood vessels aren’t getting the workout they need to keep things flowing properly, and this can cause heart attack, stroke, blockages, and make you overweight.

In a society that’s essentially glued to a screen, it’s important to make time to get out and enjoy nature or the outdoors. Even if you hate the outdoors, you can be exercising in your house or at the gym. Anything you can do to keep your body moving is better than sitting and doing nothing at all.


(1) Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking

(2) Key Facts about Smoking

(3) 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep

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Cara Lucas

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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