Age is not just a number
How can you live to 100, as far as it depends on you? Often when we think of the elderly, we think of the frail and infirm, the grouchy or senile. We see aging as a losing battle. It need not be so.
Aging is a complex process. And while many of the body’s genes begin to break down once you hit 40, mounting research suggests there are things you can do to slow it down. Here are some tips on how live to 100 and enjoy the ride.
Think young and don’t act your age
Thinking young is one of the key ways of looking young and possibly living to 100.
In Okinawa, Japan, a region with the longest-living people in the world, residents are considered children until they hit 55, and a ritual called kajimaya heralds a return to youth on their 97th birthdays.
In Sardinia, Italy, the traditional greeting, a kent’annos (“May you live to be 100”) is appropriate in a place where age is celebrated and people work into their 90s.
Shut down stress
Consciously keeping stress at bay is also proven to be key in reducing your risk of chronic inflammation and keeping cortisol levels low (research shows prolonged cortisol spikes may accelerate aging, damaging areas of the brain associated with memory).
Eat quality and eat fewer calories
Calorie restriction (CR) — eating 30 per cent fewer calories per day without eliminating essential proteins, vitamins and minerals — has the potential to extend life and slow aging.
In recent studies of rhesus monkeys, with whom we share 95 percent of our genes, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found out that Calorie restriction (CR), delayed the onset of many age-related diseases.
Even more compelling: Those who consumed fewer calories were stronger and looked younger than their counterparts on regular diets.
Sleep and sex
“Most North Americans live in a sleep deficit,” says Wassef. “If you look at long-lived cultures, you’ll see they get routine, adequate sleep. They prioritize it and they don’t feel guilty about it.”
Lack of sleep can offset important hormonal balances and it contributes to weight gain, depression and heart disease.
For married couples, regular sex is helpful for the relationship and also for their health and feeling of well-being.
Move every day
Exercising today offers benefits beyond tomorrow. Research also shows the fountain of youth may flow between the treadmill and dumbbells.
Muscles weaken with age; physical activity helps rejuvenate their stem cells and promote circulation,” says Dafna Benayahu, a medical researcher at Tel Aviv University. “Regular workouts may undo signs of aging elsewhere in the body.
Prolonged loneliness can weaken the immune system. Staying connected with family and friends. Investing in relationships yields a great return on investment, when it comes to aging.
A survey of centenarians found almost a quarter attributed longevity to their faith.
According to Leslie Beck’s Longevity Diet, when researchers look at the power of religion, they note the important benefits of believing in something outside of yourself.
Even if you’re not religious, you can tap into the power of belief, whether it’s getting involved in your community, volunteering for a cause you find important or finding peace outdoors in nature.