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(CNN) -- Joan Collins says that having lots of sex has kept her looking young. But there's plenty of other things you can do to keep old age at bay.
Be realistic: What does young mean, anyway? To the average seven-year-old a slightly older brother or sister can seem to possess sage-like wisdom. While from the perspective of the typical centenarian, turning 60 is just getting started. But there are limits to what you can realistically achieve. If you're in your early 30s you might get away with saying you're in your late 20s. But trying to pass yourself off for 18 when you just turned 40 is only going to embarrass everyone, especially your teenage kids. And don't fight the aging process too hard. You might get away with plucking out the odd gray hair but smearing a sachet of "Just for Men" over your head isn't going to fool anyone. Wigs, as if it needed saying, are for quiz show hosts, creepy children's entertainers and Donald Trump.
Stay healthy: The easiest way to ensure youthful looks is to exercise, according to many health experts. The good news is you don't even have to do very much to enjoy the full benefits. One study found that those going from doing less than an hour's exercise a week to between one and two hours benefited the most. Beyond that you're just risking crippling back problems and dodgy knees. The arthritic hunchback may be a look, but it's not one that conveys youthful vigor. As anyone who has ever picked up a packet of cigarettes knows, smoking causes aging of the skin -- though you'll be lucky if that's the worst of your problems. Alcohol too has unique properties that will ensure you look haggard, unshaven and confused rather than a living, breathing advert for anti-aging cream.
Nip and tuck: Nowadays it's not just glamour models, the Hollywood aristocracy and criminal masterminds and super-spies in need of new identities going under the knife. A recent survey of London financial workers revealed a growing market in cosmetic surgery, with eye bag removal and wrinkle filling being the most popular quick fixes. On the other hand, the sort of face lift that stretches your skin so taut that you have to suck your dinner throw a straw only makes it look as if the undertaker got to you early to save time later on.
Get the right career: Pity the washed-up child actor or singer for whom reaching adulthood can only be a dismal and undignified anti-climax. Best to choose a career that peaks later in life. Politicians are routinely described as young well into their 50s. On the other hand some sportsmen and women may be past their best by their mid-20s.
It's all relative: If you're a younger sibling you're probably already used to still being treated like a child even though you're 36. Similarly, if all your friends are older than you, then you'll likely always feel young. On the other hand, if you're the most senior member of your social group then you'd better get used to the annual round of jokes about still having all your own teeth on birthday cards. Of course, the irony is that by hanging out with older people you will actually age quicker -- attending dinner parties when you should be staying out till six a.m. and going on cruises and coach tours when you should be living it large in Ibiza. Best to aim for a happy medium, avoiding children, whose unselfconscious youth is enough to make anyone feel ancient and the very old who, as they stare over the precipice, will have no compunction about reminding you that you could be next.
Life fast, die young: The classic trajectory of countless musicians who blazed a trail to immortality captured in timeless youth portraits seems to have become a lot less fashionable now that rock 'n' roll is a respectable and lucrative career for a pensioner. Even The Who -- who shaped the original nihilistic youth manifesto with the line "Hope I die before I get old" (by which they probably meant 25) -- have a new album out. Still, there's still some money in it if you're unfazed by the inconvenience of death -- last week former Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain surpassed Elvis in the dead earnings stakes.
Joan Collins -- a youthful 73.
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