|Quit obsessing about how old you are and focus instead on effective steps to
reverse or at least hold back the aging process. You can trick your body
into thinking it’s a whole lot younger than the calendar indicates.
|Applying magical potions to your sagging jaw line is one way—there are other better ways to subvert the aging process. You can start by stopping—counting birthdays that is.
Chronology is a function of the calendar; you can’t change the number, but you can effectively slow or even reverse some of the physiological effects of aging according to RealAge, a consumer health group that applies principles of established science as part of a strategy for educating people about the ways in which you can manipulate biology.
Your real age is not necessarily your RealAge, which is calculated on the
|basis of lifestyle, genetics and medical history and takes into account multiple factors shown to promote age reduction, according to the San Diego-based company.
So while you may be 60 years old in fact, by taking the RealAge test, you might discover that you are physiologically younger or older than the sum of your years—in other words, you are more than a statistic.
“As we age, less and less of our health and wellbeing is reliant on genetics. By age 50, 80 per cent of both are due to the lifestyle choices we’ve made and 20 per cent is up to genetics. Healthy choices can aid in overcoming a problematic family health history,” says a RealAge spokesperson.
“The three most important factors affecting aging are arterial aging, aging of the immune system, as well as biological, psychological, and social reactions to social and environmental factors. The number one way to grow younger is reduce stress. If you want to focus on blood pressure, I’d start off with that and say that activity is an important factor in keeping it under control—trying to get it to the optimal of 115/76 and walk or exercise 30 minutes a day,” she explains.
RealAge attaches a year value to positive health habits—flossing your teeth, for example, can subtract six years from your chronological age as can taking vitamin supplements.
“Taking care of your emotional health can make your RealAge up to 16 years younger,” the spokesperson advises. “The human body is extremely forgiving. Many things are reversible. If you’ve been eating hot dogs every day of your adult life and think that you’ve already done irreversible damage, it’s not true. If you change a habit, three years after doing the new habit—not eating hot dogs—it’s as though your body thinks you never ate a hot dog.”
The one exception to this, says RealAge, is smoking. “After five years of not smoking, level of arterial aging will return almost to that of people who have never smoked and after five years of smoke-free living, a former smoker can regain seven of the eight years lost to smoking.”
To Barbara Morris, remarkably youthful at 76, a California-based speaker, working pharmacist and author of Put Old on Hold, (available at www.PutOldonHold.com), “Attitude is everything. You have to believe it’s possible to stave off the negative effects of aging and you have to recognize the benefits of doing so. If you can internalize those two things, and desire the end result badly enough, you can make it happen. To me, the end result is getting to 65, 75 and beyond and feeling and functioning as you did 25 years earlier. That happens as a result of education and determination. When you know what it takes to achieve a goal, and you apply yourself to reaching the goal, you can't fail.”
Morris believes that it’s important to take a stand against all the pressures—social and physical—that are determined to make you old.
“Make no conscious concessions! In particular, do not make concessions to cultural mores. (‘You shouldn't be doing that at your age.’) In other words, fight or ignore conformity, conventional wisdom and consensus thinking about aging. Basically, if you learn how to fight ‘human nature’ you will be a winner. When I say ‘fight human nature,’ it means recognizing that we are born to die, and after midlife, the process that leads to death accelerates. That's when it’s more important than ever to fight to keep the youthful attributes you have.”
Beat the Clock:
RealAge has devised its own strategies for reclaiming youth including the following:
Rage Against the Dying of the Light:
- Take vitamins every day including 1,200 mg of vitamin C; 400 IU of vitamin E; 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium; 400-600 IU of vitamin D; 400 mg of folate; and six mg of vitamin B6.
- Quit smoking and avoid passive smoke exposure.
- Know your blood pressure.
- Reduce stress.
- Floss your teeth.
- Be active, exercise regularly.
- Wear your seatbelt and drive the speed limit.
- Fill up on fiber—at least 25 grams per day; more for men.
- Monitor your health. Be proactive about medical care particularly in the management of chronic conditions.
- Laugh a lot—it helps to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system.
- Become a lifelong learner—remain intellectually involved.
- Take the RealAge test—it’s free—and formulate your own personal strategy based on the results. Go to: www.RealAge.com
Outrunning the grim reaper—suggestions from Barbara Morris:
“The very worse course of action is to do nothing. Most people do nothing – they just let life happen, and as a result, life does happen with the usual signs and symptoms of decline. If you assume there is nothing one can do to control the aging process, that's when the aging game is lost,” says Morris. “As long as you live and breathe, positive change and improvement is always possible.”
- Start as early in life as possible to keep youthful attributes that are
important to you. If you wait until you are 65 to begin an anti-aging lifestyle it’s more
difficult (but not impossible!) to make desired improvements. It's easier to keep what
you have than to try to get back what's been lost.
- Educate yourself about what constitutes an anti-aging diet and lifestyle.
Keep an open mind. Don’t fall in love with your traditionally trained doctor’s
wisdom. He or she may not know as much as you think about how to stay healthy!
- Beware of a doctor who tells you that you don’t need to take nutritional supplements. Work with a traditionally trained physician who has expertise in alternative or anti-aging medicine and nutrition. (And still keep an open mind!)
- Control your thinking and speech. Negative self-talk about your age, mental
or physical condition is not cute or funny but damaging. Avoid saying, "I must be
getting old," when you forget something. Don’t ever admit to having a "senior
moment." (Young people forget things all the time and they don't blame memory
lapses on having a "junior moment.") If you are getting the right nutrition and
exercising your brain with productive, challenging work or projects, you shouldn't
experience "senior moments."
- Engage in some kind of physical exercise regularly. If you watch TV for an hour a day, and you’re mobile, you should be watching from a treadmill. No ifs, ands or buts! You’ll trim your hips and rev up your mind and circulatory system.