Evidence-based ways to hold back the hands of time

You can’t stop the clock, so the saying goes, but humanity has spent a long time trying to slow down or even reverse the effects of aging.

Even today it can be hard to distinguish those measures that work from those that may not work and avoid those that may be downright dangerous! Fortunately, science- based public health research has some of the answers, so for some medically backed ways to stay healthy as you age- read on.

But first let’s look at mankind’s long history of trying to stop the clock, or at least slow it down a little. Anti-aging practices included the Egyptian queen Cleopatra bathing in donkey’s milk, 16th century French courtesans drinking suspended particles of gold, and the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s infamous quest for the legendary fountain of youth. Unfortunately, many of these measures weren’t successful and may have actually shortened rather than lengthened the live spans of those trying them.

Today the quest continues…

The quest for the fountain of youth has not ceased – it’s just taken other forms in today’s society. The anti-ageing market is ever expanding and expected to be more than $119.6 billion globally.i

American tech centimillionaire Bryan Johnson is a significant contributor to that figure, reportedly spending $2 million a year on a complex regime designed to reduce his biological age from 45 to 18, which includes injecting himself with his 17-year-old son’s plasma.

The truth is, aging is natural. Our bodies aren’t meant to stop aging entirely. But the good news is that there are some tried and true, medically proven ways to stave off many of the problems associated with aging and, in some cases, slow down the aging process. While none of these are groundbreaking discoveries, it’s worth keeping in mind that you don’t have to spend all your money or waking hours to stay healthy as you age.

Tips for living well and living long:

Move it!

That treadmill at the gym may not be a time machine but it can play a part in slowing down the clock. In fact, research showed that those who ran a minimum of 30-40 minutes, five days a week, had an almost nine-year “biological aging advantage” over those who lived a more sedentary lifestyle.”ii Doctors call physical exercise a “polypill” because it can prevent and treat many of the chronic diseases associated with aging and it’s never too late to start getting the benefits from regular exercise. Even a daily walk can do wonders!

Stress less

It’s no secret that being in a constant state of stress is wearying and can make you feel older than your biological age, but recently scientists confirmed that exposure to stress can cause inflammation and damage to DNA in cells, which in turn can accelerate aging.iii The good news is this can be reversed using stress busting techniques such as mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation which can lead to improvements in various biological markers associated with aging.

Nourish yourself

While there is plenty of hype around the plethora of “superfoods” that are touted to possess anti-aging qualities there is no one food that will significantly impact the aging process and turn back the clock. However, the food and drink we put in our bodies day after day does make a difference to our health as we age. Research from the worlds “Blue Zones” – areas where people tend to reach the age of 100 – demonstrate the benefits of a relatively plant-focused diet consisting largely of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes.iv

Maintain a positive mindset and embrace aging

Finally, it’s also worth considering that as we can’t beat the clock, we might as well accept, if not embrace, the gifts that come with age (wisdom and a longer-term perspective come to mind!).

And moving through life with a positive mindset about the aging process might also give you more days to enjoy. A study recently confirmed that those with a positive view of growing older lived seven years longer than those who complained about it.v

All in all, life is to be lived to the fullest and it’s precious because it’s finite. Do what makes you feel healthy and gives you joy now and that will also help you to enjoy life in the future.

i https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/03/29/2412093/0/en/Anti-aging-Market-Size-to-Worth-Around-US-119-6-Bn-by-2030.html
ii https://news.byu.edu/news/high-levels-exercise-linked-nine-years-less-aging-cellular-level
iii https://www.healthline.com/health-news/stress-can-increase-your-biological-age#How-stress-ages-the-body
iv https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/the-blue-zone-diet-a-complete-scientific-guide/
v https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12150226/

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