Everyone wants to age gracefully. But whether or not you do is largely based on your own choices. Planet Green has assembled some tips on how to stay healthy as you age. Here are a few of them:
- Cultivate Happiness: Happiness boosts your immune system and reduces stress.
- Seek Out Novelty: Your brain loves new experiences and sensations, which help it continue to build neural connections throughout your life.
- Exercise: Exercising regularly makes you less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, dementia, osteoarthritis, depression and obesity.
Most people do not revel in the thought of getting older because or many “aging” is synonymous with aches and pains, forgetfulness, and loneliness. It certainly is inevitable that you’re going to get older, but I can tell you from personal experience that this does not have to be a bad thing.
Now, in my mid 50s, I am the fittest I have ever been in my life, and I also live out every day to its fullest potential. I may have been able to run faster when I was younger but I would never trade that for the muscle strength, flexibility and knowledge that I have today.
You too can achieve wellness on both physical and mental fronts, and you can do so at any age. In fact, in many respects life only continues to get better as the years go by.
Your Choices Impact Your Real Age
When thinking about aging, it’s important to remember that your age in years is only a number. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s very true, especially if you begin to apply foundational health principles in your life that allow your body to function at its peak.
It’s very possible for a 60-year-old to be just as fit, biologically speaking, as a 30-year-old, or even more fit, depending largely on lifestyle. So your age in years is just a numerical measurement, but your real age is your biological age as dictated by your choices and habits. As Planet Green noted in the article above, genetics is only part of the equation, and a small part at that.
Your lifestyle has far more influence on your health at any age, and this includes not only the obvious like healthy eating and effective exercise, but also tending to your emotional needs by deciding to be happy, thinking positively, socializing and seeking out new and exciting experiences.
The 3 Primary Keys to Graceful Aging
Aging is a complex matter, but if I had to pinpoint just three factors that absolutely have to be addressed to keep your body and mind “well-oiled” into your golden years, they would have to be:
1. Proper Food Choices
For a comprehensive guide on which foods to eat and which to avoid, see my nutrition plan. Generally speaking, you should be looking to focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods (vegetables, meats, raw dairy, nuts, and so forth) that come from healthy, sustainable, local sources, such as a small organic farm not far from your home.
For the best nutrition and health benefits, you will want to eat a good portion of your food raw. Personally, I aim to eat about 80-85 percent of my food raw, including raw eggs and humanely raised organic animal products that have not been raised on a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation).
Nearly as important as knowing which foods to eat more of is knowing which foods to avoid, and topping the list is fructose. Sugar, and fructose in particular, acts as a toxin in and of itself, and as such drive multiple disease processes in your body, not the least of which is insulin resistance, a major cause of accelerated aging.
Further, according to Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, carbohydrates (glucose) directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity. So, you may actually be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple dietary change that switches on your “youth” gene.
Kenyon’s research with C. elegans roundworms showed that decreased carb intake can lead to significant life extension and improved long-term health. One of the most interesting details of her findings is that not only did the roundworms live up to SIX TIMES longer than normal, but they kept their health and youthful vigor until the end—and isn’t that what “healthy aging” is really all about?
2. High Intensity “Anti-Aging” Exercise like Sprint 8
Even if you’re eating the healthiest diet in the world, you still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health, and you need to be exercising effectively, which means including high-intensity activities into your rotation. A recent study published in the journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development confirmed the “anti-aging” effect of high-intensity training, such as Sprint 8. In fact, the results suggest there’s a direct association between reduced telomere shortening in your later years and high-intensity-type exercises.
This is very exciting, as the prospect of being able to reduce telomere shortening—essentially stopping the cellular aging process that may eventually end your life—is one of the most promising anti-aging strategies we know of to date.
High-intensity interval-type training also boosts human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is also essential for optimal health, strength and vigor. I’ve discussed the importance of HGH for your health on numerous occasions, so for more information, please review this previous article.
So along with core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and stretching, I highly recommend that twice a week you do Sprint 8 exercises,’ which raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.
3. Stress Reduction and Positive Thinking
You cannot be optimally healthy if you avoid addressing the emotional component of your health and longevity, as your emotional state plays a role in nearly every physical disease — from heart disease and depression, to arthritis and cancer.
It’s simply no coincidence that many centenarians mention positive thought and emotional wellness in their advice on how to stay healthy. As 114-year-old Walter Breuning said last year before his death:
“Tell yourself that every day is a good day, and make it that way.”
Effective coping mechanisms are a major longevity-promoting factor in part because stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day.
Meditation, prayer, social support and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium. I also strongly believe in using simple tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to address deeper, oftentimes hidden, emotional problems.
Anti-Aging Secrets You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
As I mentioned earlier, one of the most exciting anti-aging strategies being explored and recommended by some of the leading anti-aging biologists and experts in the world is extending your telomeres. Telomeres are essentially the ends of chromosomes, and telomere shortening occurs as you age, at a rate influenced by your lifestyle and exposure to toxins. Research suggests that slowing this shortening may actually extend your lifespan and potentially even help REVERSE the aging process.
So how do you do this?
Greta Blackburn’s new book The Immortality Edge, which is based on Nobel Prize-winning genetic research, is, in my opinion, the best current book on how to increase telomere length using a simple, easy-to-follow and practical plan. It’s highly recommended. You can also try:
- Sprint 8 Exercise and Glutathione: High-intensity exercises like Sprint 8 are one of the best ways to slow telomere shortening, and you can also follow your exercise with whey protein for added benefit. Whey protein is rich in the sulfur amino acids your cells need to synthesize glutathione, and there are studies in progress showing that increasing glutathione levels may actually help slow telomere shortening.
- Intermittent Fasting: Combining intermittent fasting with short intense exercise like Sprint 8 may be a revolutionary way to keep your body biologically young. This includes either fasting completely or minimizing your food intake during the day to small servings of light, low glycemic mostly raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, whey protein or lightly poached eggs every 4-6 hours.
You then do your workout while fasting (30 minutes after your latest snack) followed by a very important recovery meal (whey protein) and then have your main meal at night.
The combined effect of intermittent fasting and short intense exercise may help you to:
|Turn back the biological clock in your muscle and brain||Boost growth hormone||Improve body composition|
|Boost cognitive function||Boost testosterone||Prevent depression|
What Else Can You do to Age Gracefully AND Maximize Your Lifespan?
There is no quick fix when it comes to healthy aging – no pill and no magic fountain – which is why, ideally, you should strive to make positive wellness choices for your entire life. By starting young you can help ensure that your body will be minimally affected by the hands of time. But even if you haven’t been leading the healthiest of lifestyles, starting to make positive changes at any age will offer benefits.
I also recommend you find a knowledgeable, down-to-earth physician who is well-versed in the facets that make up a healthy lifestyle. Many physicians simply are not able to truly help their patients get well because they’ve been more or less handcuffed by the pharmaceutical industry, which rules the current medical paradigm with an iron fist.
However, the number of doctors beginning to side step the drug paradigm to focus on optimizing health as opposed to simply treating symptoms of disease, is growing. When it comes to finding a suitable doctor for your needs, your local community is a great place to start. Health food stores, for example, can be excellent sources of word of mouth recommendations, and beyond that the Internet and social networking sites can help you identify reputable wellness health professionals.
If you’re interested in learning more about slowing down the aging process and aging gracefully, you can watch my presentation at the 2010 anti-aging conference, as well as browse through the rest of my top “anti-aging” recommendations below:
- Take high quality animal-based omega-3 fats — Animal-based omega-3 fat is a strong factor in helping people live longer, and many experts believe that it is likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the longest lived race on the planet.
- Avoid as many chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as possible — This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
- Avoid pharmaceutical drugs — Pharmaceutical drugs kill thousands of people prematurely every year. And, if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any of them in the first place. Seek to identify what the cause is of the problem you are taking them for. You can use our search engine LINK to help you in your investigation. Once you understand the cause you can seek to apply simple inexpensive approaches that will address your symptoms at the correct level.
- Consume antioxidant-rich foods — Antioxidants help fight against oxygen-derived free radicals, which are responsible for cellular and tissue damage that eventually leads to aging and death.1 Antioxidants are best obtained from foods, such as green leafy vegetables, blueberries, blackberries, walnuts, hazelnuts, sprouts and microgreens. Certain beverages, including green tea, chrysanthemum tea and organic dark-roasted coffee, also contain compounds with antioxidant properties.