12 Ways to Grow Younger in 2012

Want to grow younger in 2012? Pump iron a few times a week.
Want to grow younger in 2012? Pump iron a few times a week.

Wouldn't it be nice to feel younger as you get older? You can, and it isn't the stuff of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." From taking vitamin D to watching your blood pressure and managing stress, these 12 anti-aging strategies will help you live younger in 2012.

1. Take vitamin D. YOU Docs Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., and Michael F. Roizen, M.D., call vitamin D "the ultimate anti-ager." That's because it nourishes your memory, skin, heart, bones, and arteries, and it helps fight off cancer. Getting enough vitamin D daily (1,000 mg; 1,200 mg after age 60) can make your body think it's 9.4 years younger.

Here's the best time of day to take your vitamin D.

2. Care for your teeth and gums. A healthy smile looks lovely -- and helps keep your arteries and immune system in top shape. Flossing and brushing daily can prevent periodontal disease and tooth loss, which can make you feel 6.1 years younger.

3. Watch your numbers. Keeping your waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol in the healthy zone dramatically reduces your risk of many problems, including cardiovascular disease. The combined effect can make your body think it's as much as 19.8 years younger.

4. Keep stress in check.Stress comes in many shapes, sizes, and strengths. Some stress is good, but the bad kind ages you inside and out. Reducing bad stress with meditation or other meditation techniques can help you feel 1.7 years younger.

Use these 12 steps to conquer stress.

5. Stay in touch. Reach out to family and friends through e-mails, phone calls, and, whenever you can, face-to-face visits. Staying connected can make you feel 8.5 years younger.

6. Pump some iron. Working out with weights does your muscles and bones good. Strength-training for just 10 minutes three times per week can make your body think it's 2.6 years younger.

7. Be happy. Go ahead, watch that romantic comedy and spend time with a pals who make you chuckle. Laughing often can make your body feel up to 8 years younger.

8. Be fruity and nutty. Fruits and nuts are a tasty, satisfying way to keep your heart, mind, and waistline healthy. Eating 4 to 5 servings of fruit and a handful of nuts daily can help you feel 6.4 years younger.

9. Go for whole grains. Unprocessed grains are rich in fiber and nutrients, which help fend off disease and keep your weight down. Eat at least 5 servings of whole grains a day to feel up to 2.6 years younger.

9 speedy whole grains for fast weeknight meals.

10. Think happy thoughts. Positive moods and a good attitude help your body's vital systems stay in balance - and make you feel 5.2 years younger.

11. Exercise consistently. You don't have to be a marathoner, but regular exercise can make your body think it's up to 9 years younger. Aim for 30 minutes of activity every day.

12. Sleep on it. Adequate sleep helps keep your energy up and weight down. Getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night -- but not more than 9 hours -- can make you feel 3.4 years younger.

Get more health tips from RealAge:

What should you do to live younger? Take the new RealAge Test for your grow-younger plan.

Take care of your ticker: The best diet for your heart.

6 smart moves to keep your knees young.

Boost your memory with this game.

7 easy ways to add more activity to your day.