How do you feel when your birthday approaches? Do you meet the day with excitement for another year, or do you dread the day and fear the future? What if you knew that, although you are aging chronologically each year, your body at a biological level was getting younger?
Aging chronologically simply means we add another number to our age, but it doesn't define how we feel or the quality of our lives. It is also possible to slow down the natural aging process and live healthier, longer lives if we make key lifestyle choices every day.
Here's how you can support optimal long-term health.
Two Things That Can Make You Age Faster
Aging is a natural part of life. It is the process where our cells stop regenerating as well as they did in our youth and deteriorate over time. It is important to realize that certain factors can accelerate the biological aging process, making aging chronologically happen faster than what is necessary.
Being at an unhealthy weight and oxidation are two important reasons why the body may be aging faster physically than it should be chronologically.
Excess weight — Being overweight has widespread adverse health effects including being a major risk factor for the leading causes of mortality/death. It also adds extra stress to bones and joints and can decrease the overall quality of day-to-day life.
Oxidation — A natural process that takes place in the body in response to free radicals generated from exposure to external factors like pollution and other environmental toxins, to the internal production from metabolic processes, the food we eat, alcohol, stress and exercise. If the body doesn't have enough antioxidants to keep up with the number of free radicals, the oxidative stress can damage the cells, affect their ability to regenerate and contribute to accelerated aging.
7 Ways To Support and Slow Aging
To slow down the aging process and ensure that even as you age yearly, you are living your healthiest and longest life there are key lifestyle choices you can focus on:
Prioritize whole food nutrition – What, how much and when you eat all contribute to your health and well-being. Start by adding more organic fruits and vegetables, particularly lots of colorful ones, to your diet. Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants that counteract the corrosive effects of free radicals. Try to eat three balanced meals each day allowing digestion to fully complete between meals and an overnight fast of 12+ hours works well for most people as an intermittent fasting strategy that supports overnight detoxification, repair and balanced blood sugar levels.
Exercise – Move your body every day for at least 30 minutes. Starting with walking, a good target is to aim for 10,000 steps each day and when you are doing this consistently incorporate a more formal exercise program at least 2x per week. Follow a graduated program and work up to an appropriate level for you. Exercise is shown to increase energy levels and longevity.
DE-Stress – Explore different ways to cultivate emotional balance and peace of mind. Stress triggers the production of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenals. When we are overly stressed for extended periods of time, the continued release of cortisol can damage cells. Incorporate stress-reducing habits, such as yoga, meditation or journaling. Spending time with loved ones can also reduce stress and release oxytocin, our bonding hormones.
Detox – Every 12 weeks try a functional medicine detox to help rebalance the body at a deeper level by restoring nutrient reserves and optimizing the liver's capacity to detoxify excess toxins that have accumulated in the body
Rest – Make sure you are consistently getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Allowing your body a restful night's sleep aids in overnight rejuvenation and repair and supports better cellular health
Take supportive supplements – Even if you are eating a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet daily you may still be missing some essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Choose high-quality nutritional supplements that can ensure you keep reserves topped up and fill in any nutrient gaps
Embrace a success mindset – In striving to live a happy and healthy life, positive thinking is important. Facing the day with hope and optimism has a direct impact on our health. Aim to keep your thoughts upbeat and focused on success, start the day with gratitude and outline your daily plan to keep you on track towards your goals in all major areas of life
When it comes to getting older, age really can just be a number. Our overall health and longevity largely depend on the accumulation of our diet and lifestyle choices over time. If you start making healthier choices today, aging chronologically can simply mean one more candle on your birthday cake.
While aging is a natural part of life, new research on metabolism explains how you can take 25 years off your biological age! To find out more, listen to this podcast.