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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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