People have always been interested in being “forever young” and today’s society is no different. We want to resist the ageing process.
The speed at which we are ageing can be measured – it’s called biological age, or how old your body really is.
The area of study which is now called longevity, and was once called anti aging, is hugely popular in the states.
It’s something I’m very interested in, and see it as a big part of the future for myself and my clients.
Your chronological age is how old you actually are.
Biological age is the age of your body at the cellular level.
Today we will look into how you can establish what your biological age is and how you can improve it.
There are a few longevity factors in the list which surprised me!
(Deep question alert!)
What is the purpose of life? I don’t mean any deep seated stuff, like procreation.
I just mean, like, what is most people’s AIM in life. What do they want to get out of their time on earth?
Firstly and most importantly, people want to be happy. Easier said than done.
Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a feeling.
Ask someone with a big goal (like building a successful business or losing more than three stone).
“What will reaching your goal do for you?”
Often they will say something like “When I get there I will feel happy”, or “satisfied with myself”, or they say “I will feel proud”.
“I will have more energy”.
“I won’t be afraid of trying new clothes on or going out with friends”.
“I don’t want to feel like a slave to food”
“I don’t want to be scared to look in the mirror or get on the scales”.
Life is all about feelings.
People spend their entire lives in search of feelings! (Mostly happiness, contentment, satisfaction, love)
How people actually reach this state of “happiness” is different for us all.
Most people I know AIM for a decent job (or business) with decent money.
All with the I hear people say “When I finish work, I’m going to do this or I’m going to……(insert goal)”. ultimate goal of having a good retirement.
The point here being, if being happy and having a nice retirement is people’s main goal in life, then keeping your body fit and healthy surely must be part of your plan.
I know of a very wealthy man who got cancer and passed away just before his retirement, I’m sure that was not part of the master plan, he had built his business up so he could sell it and have a nice retirement (as most business people do).
He didn’t make it and didn’t get to “cash out”.
Many people don’t make it to retirement because their “plan” is messed up from the start.
Without sounding depressing we only get one shot remember.
This is NOT a rehearsal.
A lot of people get to retirement age and their body is wrecked!
This stops them from being able to enjoy their time off as much. Living life with lots of restrictions. “I can’t go there because of the steep hill”, or “I can’t do that because of my back or my knees”.
After working hard for 40-50 years – to give yourself a good pension and retirement, this is the last thing that anyone wants.
People’s bodies are like cars.
On one hand you have new cars with high mileage that are not well serviced.
On the other hand you have old cars with low mileage that have been well looked after.
I want YOU to be like a well looked after old car, with low mileage (if you catch my drift?!) when you get to your retirement.
I know some people, that slog away and get to the age of 40, and feel and look like they’re 50 or 60!
I also know many people who hit retirement age and feel like a 40 year old, and can keep on working and exercising for another 20 years!
This is true for many of my clients, as I mostly work with over 40’s and 50’s, who want to make sure their 60’s and 70’s are enjoyable and full.
This is all dependent on how we live our lives, obviously there are things such as injuries, diseases and other bad things which can impact our lives negatively through no fault of our own but on the whole we are in control of our own health.
What affects our longevity?
Scientists agree that these factors all affect your longevity in some way, big or small. (This is not a definitive list)
- Muscle size and strength
- Level of education
- How pro active you are with going to see the doctor if needed (men are usually shit at this)
- The amount of friends you can rely on, and love in your life
- Your diet
- Blood pressure
- Your upper body strength
- If you enjoy your work or not
- Weather you smoke/drink alcohol or not, and the amount
- If you exercise or not
Most of us shorten our lives and ultimately kill ourselves, through our bad habits and lifestyle choices, whatever they may be.
As you would have guessed, it is possible to slow down the onset of ageing and even reverse it to some extent.
I must say, that there is nothing wrong with ageing, it is inevitable. It is something we should be proud of, a chance to show our wisdom to the younger generation.
This article is just to show you how you can SLOW the ageing process with ease and actually enjoy it.
The Ageing Process
As we get older our bodies start to slow down and stop being able to function as well, sadly there is no getting away from this.
BUT through healthy living and making the right choices day in day out we can delay our body slowing down by years!
Just think how much more you will be able to enjoy your retirement if you feel like a 40 year old and can spend it with the people you love?
Compare this to how much you will enjoy it if you can barely walk up a flight of stairs without having tired legs and being short of breath.
Your chronological age doesn’t have to be the same, or worse, than your physiological age.
How to slow the effects of ageing
The list above obviously helps you but here are a few more ideas for you to beat the clock.
When some people think anti aging, I’m sure some of you may think of things like anti wrinkle creams and lotions, hair dying products, botox and maybe even plastic surgery.
That does kind of sum up some of the western world that these are the steps that the majority of people (plastic surgery being an extreme example) will take to make them look younger, rather than eating healthily and exercising.
Aging leads to loss of muscle mass, loss of mental function, low mobility and a lack of energy, and as you know the cosmetic type anti aging steps I mentioned won’t help any of these.
Top tips to delay ageing naturally:
Enjoy the Outdoors – Don’t spend all of your time cooped up indoors behind the computer or watching TV. There are plenty of things to do and see outside, especially on a nice day I can’t think of anything better than going for a walk with the family down the park or beach. Sunlight also is a natural source of Vitamin D.
Yoga & Meditation – I would say that this is one of the most important strategies in staying young. I started to do this myself and it honestly makes me feel great. Yoga and meditation can help you relax and lower your stress levels (linked with aging) dramatically. It can also help you to see things a lot clearer.
Yoga is also great for your flexibility, the more flexible and supple you are the less chance you have in the future of suffering falls and lack of mobility.
Socialise – Loneliness can be a real killer. Socialise as much as possible with your friends and family (I don’t mean getting pissed all the time either ;-)). Get out there and do things, go to the cinema, concerts, attend an evening class (the more mentally stimulating the better).
Stay Strong & Active – You have to keep moving or your body will come to a standstill. Taking part in regular exercise is absolutely vital. Regular strength training is extremely important.
Losing muscle mass is something you want to avoid or at least delay for as long as possible so strength training will help this as well as keeping your bones strong, this will lower your chances of osteoporosis.
(Lots of this you should be familiar with by now if you are a regular reader)
As you know I believe food is medicine, many of the effects you get from modern day medicine you can get from eating the right foods.
Nutrition influences biochemistry. Biochemistry influences everything at a cellular level.
If you eat well there should be no need for some medications.
If you spend your whole life eating fresh, natural whole foods and stay active then it will also show. You will most likely be lean, mobile, disease free and full of energy, a rarity these days.
You should aim to eat a diet containing lots of quality fats and proteins (the bodies building materials) which will help you to maintain your muscle stores. Also protein boosts the production of HGH in your body, HGH (Human growth Hormone) is your body’s natural ‘fountain of youth’.
As you age the production of this hormone slows down greatly, regular strength exercise (lifting, pushing and pulling heavy stuff) and quality protein keeps the production of this hormone going!
Eat plenty of antioxidant rich foods – Antioxidants which are found in colourful fruit and vegetables help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in your system.
Free radicals can speed up the onset of ageing; they are unstable electrons (O1 molecules) which are produced during metabolism. They damage the cell nucleus and the mitochondria.
Free radicals bounce around inside your cells like a pin ball, causing damage every time they hit something. They cause absolute havoc.
Antioxidants provide the free radical with the extra O1 molecule they need to become stable O2 molecules.
Good quality natural foods are the best way to combat these harmful free radicals. Natural organic foods are packed with antioxidants which neutralise the free radicals before they cause too much damage.
Eat Omega 3s – See last week’s article (see it here) for the benefits of fish oils. They fight inflammation, improve the appearance of your skin and aid brain function. Three vital things that we need as we age. So make sure you get as many omega 3s into your system as you can, the best source is fresh fish, if not a fish oil supplement will do.
Lower Sugar Intake – Aim to cut out any excess sugar that you eat, excess sugars can modify essential proteins in our body which can lead to wrinkles and energy loss.
Look after your skin through good food and lots of water – Eating foods containing vitamin A (sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, asparagus and carrots), Vitmain C (red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, oranges, kiwi and pineapple) and Vitamin E (nuts, seeds and spinach) are a great way of helping your skin look healthy.
Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake – There are few things that age you faster than smoking and drinking alcohol every day so cut out smoking and do as much as you can to drink less.
Lower Stress Levels – This is another big one, I just mentioned that there are few things that age you faster than smoking and alcohol; well I think stress is one of them.
Being constantly stressed will ruin your mood, energy levels, social interaction as well as causing so many health problems.
As I mentioned above, I have found deep breathing techniques, yoga and meditation really important and a great way of combating stress.
Let’s be realistic the big medical and health companies aren’t going to promote anti aging through the things I just said, they are going to promote it through new miracle pills, lotions and creams, there is a lot of money to be made from it so they will keep on doing it.
The people who buy these products don’t have to alter their lifestyle one little bit so it suits them which is why it is so popular.
We ultimately reap our rewards in our retirement, if you have invested some time and effort into your “health & fitness account”, you will reap the rewards.
If you aren’t you won’t!
I want to live to 100 (don’t laugh), and I’m totally serious about that.
I try to do as much to help myself and the people around me as possible.
I now study the area of anti-ageing and longevity lots. (I know I’m weird, let’s see how I get on eh!)
You can measure you biological age here – biological age calculator (It’s just for fun and takes 2 minutes).
If all of the things I have mentioned above didn’t require effort or commitment then everyone would be running around into their 90s and later!!
But unfortunately we don’t, we die much younger than that.
Depending on what stats you use, in 2010, UK men were reported to live on average until about 77 or 78, and women on average live until 82 or 83 years old. In Wales these figures can be lower depending on where you live and how much money you have. I wish it wasn’t true but the less fortunate economically, die a bit younger than the more fortunate.
I have spoken to a lot of people over the years and have had some very bizarre conversations. This next one being one of them…
Anyway, this one time (at band camp) I was in Llanelli and I was speaking to a cardiac rehab nurse, after taking exercise class for a dozen or so over 60’s, who had all had heart attacks. She said, the thing was to ask yourself this, “do you want to look after yourself in the last ten years of your life (and wipe your own arse) or do you want other people having to do it all for you (yes including wiping your arse)?”.
That’s what she said. I couldn’t believe it either, she said, it all comes down to whether you want someone else wiping your arse or not ;-)! x
Do it naturally and do it right.
Let me know your thoughts on this topic, comment below, I really want to know what you think.
Thanks for reading, take care,
PS – I need a favour, if you enjoyed the article, please share it with your friends, family and your social network, I would very much appreciate it if you could push a few of those social buttons for twitter and facebook. Thanks 🙂