Is your hometown on the list? (Photo: Getty Images)
You know how some people just seem to defy the hands of time? If you live in one of America’s youngest-looking cities, there’s a chance you’re one of those people.
The survey considered lifestyle factors that affect skin aging, like sun exposure, stress, pollution, average sleep logged, fitness levels, and the prevalence of smoking and alcohol consumption — looking at American cities with populations over 300,000. “We analyzed a handful of data points that doctors say matter most if you want to keep people guessing your age for decades to come,” says Tom Seery, founder and CEO of RealSelf.com, which conducted the survey.
(Graphic: Courtesy of Real Self)
Topping the list of young-looking cities is Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the locals are not only fitter than average, but also get plenty of sleep. Seattle came in second, thanks mostly to the overcast skies that keep sun exposure very low, while San Francisco, clocked in at third place thanks to its active residents who also catch an ample amount of shut-eye.
Salt Lake City has the lowest smoking rate in the U.S., along with low amounts of stress and drinking, bringing it to fourth. Sunny cities like Honolulu and San Diego still cracked the top 10 in spite of all those ultraviolet rays; both boast healthy, slower-paced lifestyles that are antidotes to aging.
Meanwhile, sun-drenched locales accompanied by heavy aging factors sunk some cities. At the bottom of the list is Riverside, CA, which has skyrocketing stress levels (perhaps due to one of the highest unemployment rates in the country), while the smoky and boozy late night culture of Las Vegas has it sitting second-to-last.
Higher rates of obesity, smoking, drinking, and poor sleep habits all plummeted cities like New Orleans, Detroit, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City to the bottom of the list.
Experts say that while skincare products can certainly help skin look younger, it’s our daily lifestyles that influence the way we look the most. “Age management has to do with managing your stress levels and learning to say ‘no’ when you’re overwhelmed, taking care of yourself and making sure you exercise regularly,” says Montclair, New Jersey dermatologist, Jeanine B. Downie, MD. “As we get older, we need to sleep more to help our bodies recover,” she adds.
If you live in a city with high aging factors, Dr. Downie says staying active is one of the best ways to negate the effects. “As you get older, regularly exercising more intensely for shorter bursts of time is one of the best ways to stay fit and young as we age in our stressful society,” advises Downie.
Known as interval training, research has shown that these shorter 15 to 20 minute bursts of higher intensity exercise (in comparison to longer light or moderate workouts) not only oxygenate the body to help relieve stress, but also offer a variety of anti-aging benefits, including burning more fat and moving sugar out of the bloodstream for healthier blood sugar levels.