Greg is back again with another episode for Beardbrand, and this time he’s going to talk about growing old…. gracefully.
Most people spend their teens and early twenties thinking about what’s just around the corner - college, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or your first career job. We don’t think into our thirties, forties, fifties, and retirement when we’re just getting out of young adulthood and learning who we really are.
Greg shares an intimate moment: When his father was in ill health, he advised Greg to “never grow old." While it was said in jest, he was serious. He told Greg to take better care of himself as he got older. In hindsight, Greg wishes someone gave him that advice when he was much younger, which is why he’s put together this guide today. There are a few simple things that you can start at any age that’ll help you take better care of your body and psyche as you get older.
These simple practices are also going to help your beard. A healthy way of life is the most reliable way to grow a healthy beard - how do you think Greg pulled it off? Diet, exercise, rest, and confidence are all key in getting the most out of your genetics to get your version of the perfect beard.
Get Plenty of Rest
This one seems obvious, but we’re serious here. If you’re burning the candle at both ends you’re doing your body a disservice. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the cycle of partying hard and working out when we’re younger, but the toll it takes on our bodies as we grow older becomes exponential.
What About My Beard?
Furthermore, multiple studies (including a journal review conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association) have demonstrated that lower amounts of sleep are directly correlated with dips in testosterone levels. You want *more* of the specific hormone that helps grow your beard, right? Then get some sleep!
You need to feed and fuel your body with high quality food. Having a diet that is high in protein and fiber and low in fat and carbohydrates will naturally help you develop lean muscle mass. A higher protein and fiber diet also promotes cardiovascular health and weight loss. Keeping a trimmer physique and more controlled intake is essential to aging gracefully. Being overweight becomes exponentially more difficult as you get older - you tire more easily, inflammation and joint problems start to pop up more frequently, and you don’t sleep as well when you have extra weight on your body.
What about my beard?
Unsurprisingly, a healthy diet is directly related to a healthier beard. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will give your body the vitamins it needs to produce healthier skin and hair. Vitamins A and D help promote healthy follicles which are directly related to the appearance of your beard.
If you’re controlling your diet, adding exercise to the mix will get you immediate results. You should be exercising whether or not you restrict your diet, however. Many doctors recommend exercising a minimum of three days a week to maintain your circulatory and cardiovascular health. Being physical is a lot easier when you’re younger, so it’s best to develop this habit early on so you don’t have to adapt to it as an older adult (it takes longer to build up your stamina and you're at higher risk of injury).
As you get older, it’s harder to maintain your testosterone levels and even harder to gain more muscle mass. Getting in this routine when you have more energy and more testosterone will make it part of your lifestyle while you age, rather than something you have to jump into at an age where it can be dangerous to incorporate lots of exercise into your weekly schedule.
Exercise helps you sleep better which results in more energy overall, and it keeps various age-correlated diseases at bay like heart disease or muscle atrophy. The endorphins correlated with exercise help combat depression and lethargy, and expending more energy by working out makes up for your slowing metabolism as you age.
What about my beard?
As far as beardsmen are concerned, exercise increases testosterone levels, and as we all know higher testosterone levels are correlated with stronger beard growth. Exercise also keeps all of your general faculties in better working order, which leads to a better appearance across the board. The process of physical exertion also triggers the recovery aspects of your physiology, which includes repairing and replenishing hair and skin cells.
Take Care of Your Skin
Skin care becomes more and more important as you age. The older you are, the more prone you become to skin damage and skin cancer. To help avoid that, you’ll want to stay out of the sun when you can to minimize the impact of harmful UV rays. When you’re in the sun or if you’re in the sun frequently, use a strong sunscreen to minimize skin damage. If you’re concerned with looking too old, staying out of the sun is also going to help your skin keep its elasticity and avoid wrinkling with age.
What about my beard?
A health beard always starts with healthy skin. Unhealthy skin will not give your hair follicles the conditions they need to grow a stellar beard. Using a boar’s hair brush or a be bop will help exfoliate the dead skin under your beard while stimulating circulation to promote healthier hair.
Pro Tip: Our utility balm is awesome for protecting your beard and skin from the environment (like UV rays and free radicals).
Maintain Your Beard and Hair
This one’s obvious - you’ll want to stay on top of your grooming if you want to age gracefully. Keep your barber visits regular - your hair changes as you get older and you’ll want to make sure you have an expert cutting your hair as it does. Check out any of the barbershop series on our YouTube Channel for ideas and inspiration for haircuts and beard styles.
If appearance is a huge part of growing gracefully for you, don’t be afraid to experiment with more modern cuts as your hair color and texture change. Beardbrand wants to make sure you keep on growing, and sometimes that means getting a little uncomfortable with something new (even if it’s late in the game).
Pro Tip: Check out this article to decide which kind of beard conditioner is best for you.
Stay in Style
As you get older, the key to appearing timeless is keeping up with current trends. Everyone can benefit from having a few timeless classic in their wardrobes (example - a blazer, solid shirt, and fitted jeans), but it’s important to make sure they still fit the way they’re intended to (read this article for more tips on honing your style).
If you’re attached to specific articles of clothing, don’t hesitate to get them tailored to make sure still fit you the right way. There isn’t anything you can do about some of the changes in your body as you age, but you can get ahead of their curve by developing a trusting relationship with a local tailor.
Reduce Stress In Your Life
It’s normal in most western societies to have a stressful lifestyle. Whether it’s a career choice or a long term family situation, stress can be pervasive and constant depending on where you’re at in life. If this sounds like something you relate to, you’ll want to put changes in place to control the amounts of stress you experience or channel them healthily.
Reducing the amount of stress in your life feeds naturally into other areas that help with aging. You’ll sleep better, exercise more effectively, and be more likely to stay on track with your diet choices (stress eating is real). Taking care of your stress levels will also naturally develop stronger confidence and self care practices (meaning you’ll rock your beard with swagger). It also keeps your heart healthier with lower blood pressure and a more regular heartbeat.
Surround Yourself With Kind and Loving People
Removing the negative people from your life will help reduce stress, which is key to aging gracefully and maintaining your personal health. Studies have also shown that positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement, so having positive people to encourage you in your pursuits will yield dramatic results in your goals.
Loving people also set a great example of who we want to become. Negativity in yourself is an endless source of bad energy and stress - focusing on being a compassionate and caring individual will reduce the amount of energy you spend in distress, and convert it into affection, empathy, and compassion. If you think about it, the cantankerous, unlikeable shopkeep with a big chip on his shoulder is probably a tired, stressed out guy. The wise old sage with all the answers is the kind of figure people are attracted to (rather than avoid).
We hope this guide was helpful. As always, reach out if you need some guidance or more tips. Keep on growing!