Is your health kick ageing you?

Some of your so-called healthy habits can leave you looking older than your are. Here's how to gloss over them

You don't smoke, you don't drink and you don't live a sedentary lifestyle. Yet you look older than your friends. The reason could be that you do something seemingly insignificant, which hampers your face and body and puts you on the road towards advancing years earlier than expected.

Here's what you need to know and how to avoid it:

Always on a crash diet
Need an excuse to ditch the diet? A study has found that women who yo-yo diet past the age of 35 risk adding an eight-year age spurt on to the shape of their face. Soft, plump and high cheeks like Kareena Kapoor's are a symbol of youth and health.

However, these desirable fat pockets are one of the first areas to disappear after a crash diet, causing hollow, sunken features, usually only noticeable after the menopause.

How to sort it:
If you need to lose weight, do so slowly - ideally shedding no more than two pounds a week. Take a vitamin D supplement to maintain skin immunity.

Not much bra support
A lot of women work out in any old crop top rather than a well-fitting speciality sports bra. Whether its high-impact aerobics or a quiet yoga pose, all levels of sport can strain the fragile ligaments which keep your profile pert.

To prevent irreversible damage and premature sagging, it's vital to protect your assets with a sports bra that is designed to support the specific way breasts move during exercise.

How to sort it:
Get a shock absorber support bra.

Jogging on concrete

Your thighs may thank you for running every day but anti-ageing experts are now reporting a rise in women seeking treatment for 'runner's face'.

The up-down motion of pavement-pounding pulls at the skin tissue, reducing its elasticity and firmness, which strains the ligaments supporting facial features. Unprotected exposure to UV and harsh conditions can also contribute to premature wrinkles and pigmentation.

How to sort it:
Switch to a softer terrain, such as a mud ground. Avoid jogging on concrete tracks for long duration. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Lowimpact alternatives such as cycling are athletic calorie blasters and less strainful on the skin.

Working out in makeup
Keeping up appearances while you're sweating it out is a serious beauty no-no. Because your pores open up further during exercise, oil-based foundations can sink deeper into skin and clog the complexion with a cocktail of bacteria and toxins. The result - breakouts, blackheads and supersize pores.

How to sort it:
Stop using the pore-clogging base and use a sweat-proof concealer sparingly instead. Add exfoliator to your cleanser to deep clean pores.

A low fat diet
Cutting back on saturated and processed fat is a sensible move to whittle down your waistline. But a blanket ban on fat could short-change your skin.

Not all fats are evil. Essential fatty acids are vital as they strengthen the skin's ability to retain water, powerplumping your complexion from within. Without these fats in your diet, skin cells aren't flexible enough to let nutrients in and toxins out, causing a dull complexion.

How to sort it:
Eating a moderate amount of good fats from walnuts, seeds, olives, avocados and oily fish can boost weight loss and beat wrinkles.

Using hand weights
After menopause, skin gets thinner and hands lose their fatty layer of padding, making veins and bones more prominent. But even in your prime, regular heavy workouts can give you granny hands.

Doing strenuous exercise increases blood flow which can temporarily pump up the appearance of veins in the arms and hands. Although this is healthy, including foods and supplements in your diet which strengthen the elasticity of vein walls will help them snap back into shape.

How to sort it:
Healthy diet and plenty of water, B vitamin and zincrich foods can help fortify vein health. Top sources include wholegrains, pumpkin seeds, lentils and muesli.

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