People Who Age Gracefully Do These 3 Things Every Day

We tend to think of aging gracefully as striking gold in the genetic lottery (a blessing that's only bestowed upon a select few). But as Real Simple points out, there are many aspects of aging that are completely under our control. For example, what we eat, how we think, and who we interact with all contribute to the aging process; we do have a choice in the matter. If you hope to enter the next phase of your life with your vitality, health, and upbeat spirit intact, science suggests doing the following three things every day:

Wear Sunblock

Sunscreen isn't just for spring and summer; you should apply a lightweight sunscreen every day to stave off signs of aging, including wrinkles, dark spots, and even skin cancer. "Here are the facts," said Jeffrey Benabio, MD, physician director of healthcare transformation at Kaiser Permanente Primary Care. "After a few minutes of sun, your skin stops making vitamin D … and starts making skin cancer." Try Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen, and fill up on foods like salmon and eggs if you're worried about your vitamin D levels.

Get Plenty of Sleep

As it turns out, not getting enough sleep is linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and premature aging. "'Beauty sleep' isn't a myth," adds Benabio. "During sleep, your body releases a growth hormone that helps restore collagen and elastin, the essential building blocks of young, healthy skin." Recent studies have even found a link between chronic sleep deprivation and aging of the brain. "Too many of us treat sleep as a luxury instead of a need," he adds.

Exercise on the Regular

We've written about the anti-aging effects of certain types of workouts, but leading a healthy lifestyle well into your 80s and 90s is the secret to aging gracefully. "The average woman can lose 23% of her muscle mass between ages 30 and 70," explains Fabio Comana, a faculty instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. "But exercise—resistance workouts in particular—can increase mass and strength, even well into your 90s."

Head over to Real Simple for more daily tips, and share your two cents in the comments below!