Huffpost Fifty

Want To Age Gracefully? Avoid These 7 Things

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Like the haves and the have nots, when it comes to post 50s, it's those who are aging and those who are aging gracefully. You know, the lucky ones who seem to be getting better and better with each passing year like a fine wine while some are just learning by trial and error.

Well, take heart you students of the School of Hard Knocks. The graceful agers aren't aging better, they're just aging smarter -- and the secret isn't necessarily in what they're doing. It's in what they aren't doing. And as life expectancy continues to increase across the globe, there's no time like now to look and feel better.

Lucky for you we've rounded up some of the things the graceful agers are avoiding. Scroll through the list below and feel free to share your graceful aging tips with us in comments!
  • Wearing Too Much Makeup
    As you age, you might be tempted to overdo the makeup to emulate a more youthful appearance. But there's nothing attractive about cakey foundation or spidery lashes. Makeup should only enhance your natural beauty not mask it. Mireille Guiliano, the author of "French Women Don't Get Facelifts" stresses the importance of keeping your makeup clean and natural. "Stop trying to dress like your daughter or younger self... go lighter on the makeup. Too much makeup as we age generally makes us look worse, not better. Think thrice about drawing attention to your sags and wrinkles," Guiliano wrote for Parade Magazine.
  • Eating Too Much Salt
    High blood pressure is one of many conditions whose likelihood increases with age. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans over 60 have high blood pressure according to the NIH. A high sodium diet is a trigger. And since aging gracefully isn't just about your outside, we want to keep our insides healthy as well. Hypertension can lead to serious health complications like heart attack, stroke, and a decline in cognitive functioning. So don't go dashing any extra salt on your meals and try to steer clear of anything with more than 20 percent your daily recommended value of sodium.
  • Negativity
    "I stay away from negative people, places and things. I always look positive, and am thankful for what I have," centenarian Daisy McFadden told Forbes. But don't just take Daisy's word for it. Numerous studies have shown that positive people are less prone to mental decline and lead happier lives. As the Huffington Post reported, a 2011 survey found that older people who are happy have a 35 percent lower risk of dying than their unhappy peers. Positive people were also less likely to develop coronary heart disease, according to research at Harvard University. So cheer up, buttercup--that means no frowning (and fewer wrinkles).
  • Watching Too Much TV
    Getting a little too comfortable on the couch is unhealthy at any age, but particularly as you get older. Not only will valuable time slip right through your fingers and before your eyes, but you may be shortening your life. An Australian study found that for every hour of TV watched after age 25, people lose 22 minutes from their life expectancy. If that wasn't bad enough, watching TV makes you vulnerable to several other aging pitfalls like a sedentary lifestyle and social isolation.
  • Excessive Sun Exposure
    To some extent there's no avoiding the lines and wrinkles that accompany aging. But if you're getting too many rays without protection, you may be severely damaging your skin. Studies have shown applying sunscreen can protect your skin from wrinkles, sun spots, and loss of firmness or elasticity. And as we know, there's no cure like prevention, so you're better off trying to prevent aging with a little SPF than trying to reverse it with anti-aging potions.
  • Stress
    Life will always have its stresses, from family to work to finances. It's unavoidable and can cause a barrage of health problems like sleeplessness, depression, and heart disease. Some studies suggest stress can make you appear up to 10 years older. But people aging gracefully have learned to manage their stress. Whether it's meditation, exercise, or just taking a couple minutes for yourself everyday to unplug from technology and walk away from your desk, it's highly beneficial for your insides and outsides to learn to tame your stress.
  • Overindulging
    Sure you should live a little and enjoy the occasional indulgence. But moderation is key in aging gracefully. Whatever your vice may be, whether it's alcohol, fatty foods, sweets, or even soda, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Increased insulin and leptin, which control blood sugar and fat storage, are responsible for some major health conditions including diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. Eating a high fat diet, consuming excess sugar, and not getting enough exercise are all culprits. A poor diet can also increase free radicals in your body, which can damage your DNA and age you.

Earlier on HuffPost50:

25 Celebrities Who Are Aging Gracefully
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