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Scientists Find That Age Is Just A Number, And Here Are 7 Ways You Can Slower Aging Process

Scientists Find That Age Is Just A Number, And Here Are 7 Ways You Can Slower Aging Process

Is age really only a number?

That’s the old cliche, but it turns out it really is the truth. Recent research has shown that there is a vast difference between chronological age, how old you are in calendar years, and biological age, how old your body appears to be at the cellular level. In short, biological age is a measure of how quickly your body systems are declining.

This study found that while most people age at approximately one biological year for every chronological year, that isn’t always the case. Some of the subjects were aging as quickly as 3 biological years to every calendar year, clocking in at a biological 60 years old at 38 years old chronologically. Others appeared not to be aging biologically at all, with a few who were 8 years younger (38 chronologically but only 30 years old biologically).

Don’t mistake this as some fad science of the minute. Biological age matters. As you’re aging, you’re declining, and that decline will affect every aspect of your health, wellness, and appearance starting as early as your mid-twenties to early thirties.

“Already, before midlife, individuals who were aging more rapidly were less physically able, showed cognitive decline and brain aging, self-reported worse health, and looked older.”- Belsky, Caspi, Houts et al.

Think it’s all dumb luck and chance? There is nothing you can do about aging? Some people are just destined to decline quickly and grown old at a young age?

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Not at all. Only about 20% of your rate of biological aging can be blamed on your genetic code.The remaining 80% is based on environmental and lifestyle factors, many of which you have control over. With just a few simple actions you too can slow the aging process.

1. Drop and Give Me 20

Resistance training has been shown time and again to be among the most potent anti-aging strategies available. Muscle mass peaks around the mid 20’s and slowly begins declining from there. This age related loss of muscle mass has been termed sarcopenia which has been associated with declining strength, endurance, power, vigor, resilience, bone strength with increased body fat, lethargy and even cognitive decline.

Like compound interest, the loss of muscle each year is small at only 1-3% however, after a decade or two your body composition could look very different. Noticeably fatter and weaker. The great thing is that recent research has started to question if sarcopenia really is a natural fact of life or is merely the result of a lowered activity level. Several studies have shown that strength training programs can not only halt age related muscle loss, but even result in muscle gain in someone as old as 70.

“This study contradicts the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging.” – Wroblewski et al.

The most effective strength training programs tend to be those that focus on large, multi-joint, compound lifts that stress many muscle groups. Exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, pushups, pull ups, and bench presses. So you’re never too old and it’s never too late to start weight training and experiencing the fountain of youth that it is.

2. Order the Fish and Drizzle Your Vegetables with Olive Oil

The Mediterranean diet has consistently been linked to living longer and better. One of the most consistent findings associated with a Mediterranean diet is that it is protective of the brain and helps slow or even stop the cognitive decline that comes with aging.

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“In an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts is associated with improved cognitive function.” – Vallis-Pedret, Sala-Vaila et. al

Foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet are fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, seeds, nuts, legumes and even alcohol in moderation.

3. Drink a Glass of Red with Dinner

While any alcohol, in moderation, has been shown to help slow aging, red wine is especially powerful due to the presence of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant-like compound. Resveratrol has shown great promise as an anti-aging agent. It’s found in grapes, peanuts and mulberries but is especially concentrated in red wine. Remember, you only get the anti-aging benefits of alcohol with light to moderate consumption, no matter what type of alcohol. So limit your intake to no more than a glass or so a day.

4. Train for a 5K

Aerobic exercise helps maintain your heart, vascular system and even brain. One of the foremost theories in the field of anti-aging is the mitochondrial decay theory. This theory essentially says that we age partly because the mitochondria in our cells don’t produce energy efficiently as we age. Aerobic exercise stimulates the production and repair of the mitochondria and may help to offset this cause of aging. As one study put it:

“…endurance training increases mitochondrial function, stimulates spontaneous physical activity, and is a viable approach to interrupt the vicious cycle of aging.” – Eluamai, Brooks

Lace up the shoes and start training right now, you can find a race when you get back.

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5. Buy a Nice Mattress

Sleep is your greatest recovery tool. Research has consistently shown that poor or restricted sleep increases as we age and is linked to many diseases. Cognitive ability, testosterone levels, even your skin is ravaged by a lack of sleep.

“Poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night.” – Dr. Daniel Yarosh

You must do whatever you can to get a solid 6 to 8 hours every night. We’re not talking about 6 to 8 hours in bed with 2 of them spent watching Seinfeld reruns, checking emails, and liking Grumpy Cat memes. We’re talking 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep. The deep, restful, uninterrupted, sleep that allows you to wake up, preferably without the help of an alarm, feeling rested and rejuvenated.

6. Put that Mattress to the Test

Go have sex.

Dr. David Weeks has done research on what keeps some young and found that it boiled down to two primary factors.

“The key ingredients for looking younger are staying active … and maintaining a good sex life.” – Dr. Weeks

His research found that regular sex, with a committed partner, up to three times a week, lead to someone looking between four and seven years younger than their chronological age. Researchers are not quite sure how or why regular sex has such a powerful effect. It could be that sex increases intimacy with your partner and your sense of connection. It could be that sex releases certain hormones that are known to decrease as we age. It might even be that sex can be somewhat vigorous and the anti-aging boost is from the physical activity.

But really, does it matter?

7. Take the Stairs

While consistent, structured, exercise is important, simply living a physical life and taking walks, doing yard work, swimming, playing sports or anything else that gets you up and moving, on a daily basis is as important as anything else on this list. Simply keeping your body moving is the greatest protector against aging that we know of.

“Regular physical activity is perhaps the lifestyle-behavioral strategy for which there is the strongest overall evidence of function-preserving effects with aging.” – Sears, Justice, Larocca

Staying biologically young isn’t easy, but it’s totally worth it. Why grow old and become frail when you probably don’t have too? The benefits of remaining biologically young are just too many to ignore. By taking these steps you’ll be smart, strong, vigorous, and literally remain biologically young at heart.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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