Ways to Slow Down the Aging Process
Scientist studying the aging process have made great advances in understanding how and why our bodies age. Everyone does not age at the same rate—some experience aging more rapidly than others. For this reason, specialists differentiate between chronological age and biological age. Our chronological age is, of course, the number of years since we were born. Our biological age is how quickly or slowly our physical and mental functions are declining. Anti-aging researchers have discovered that the speed of the aging process depends on our live styles.
One especially important discovery for aging is the principle of hormesis. This is the idea that if our bodies experience mild physical and mental stress from time to time, the stress stimulates our bodies’ repair and maintenance system, and this regular use of these mechanism keeps the system “on its toes”, as it were. Think of it as a “fire drill” for the body. Just as fire drills give people a chance to keep in practice for the real thing, mild physical stress on a regular basis gives the body’s repair system a chance to “practice”. If our body’s repair system is not working efficiently, it will have increasing difficulty keeping up with the demands of repairing the damage that occurs in and to our bodies over time.
In a book published last year, titled, True Age: Cutting-Edge Research to Help Turn Back the Clock, Dr. Morgan Levine, a scientist, and anti-aging specialist at Yale University, presents four ways to slow down—and even reverse the effects of—the aging process, based on the most recent research findings.
1. Drastically reduce animal protein in your diet, and, if possible, eliminate it altogether. Dietary protein, especially animal protein, is a major contributor to aging. In a recent study involving 3,000 Americans, Dr. Levine and his colleagues found that those on a high protein diet had 74 percent higher mortality rate in than those on a low protein diet who had a less than 10 percent risk. Thus, the way to live a longer healthier life is to adopt a plant-based diet.
2. Practice fasting on a regular basis. Dr. Levine recommends three times a year. He and his colleagues found that those who practiced fasting three time a year had a biological age 2.5 years younger than their chronological age, and more “youthful” immune systems. Fasting works on the principle of hormesis: it provides temporary, short-term mild physical stress for the body, and this gives the immune system a chance to go into action under safe conditions.
3. Do high intensity interval training. This is a form of exercise in which you do some form of exercise for five to seven minutes, pushing yourself to your limit, then rest for one or two minutes. and repeat the cycle several times alternating between exercise and rest. These short bursts of intense physical stress stimulate the body’s muscle fibers to grow thicker and prompt the body in general to become more efficient at generating usable energy. This type of exercise also helps to improve cognitive functioning.
4. Get plenty of good quality, restful sleep—about seven hours each night. During sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid produced by the brain washes out dead brain cells, which interfere with proper brain functioning. Fasting and exercise help the brain to produce a chemical that promotes restful sleep.
Even if you are elderly, you can use these four methods to prevent further aging and promote health.