Everyone ages, but it doesn’t mean we’re all inclined to be physically and mentally unwell as we do. There are things we can do today that can help us feel at our best even when the period of aging hits us. And yes, proper diet and workouts can help us protect our bodies and minds from the ravages of time, but these aren’t enough. Here are 5 other things you can do in order to age gracefully that go beyond dieting and exercising solely:
Any diet won’t just do if your goal is to remain youthful. Science suggests that a Mediterranean diet, more particularly, can help enhance neurological, cardiovascular, and bone health, significantly contributing to one’s longevity. This specific diet consists of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and its protein comes from fish and poultry rather than red meat. It was found in a study involving 1,300 participants from five European countries that eating a Mediterranean diet for a year resulted to reduced levels of C reactive protein (CRP). CRP is defined as an inflammatory marker that’s connected to aging. Moreover, the members of this study had also decreased levels of osteoporosis and bone deterioration. In another study involving more than 500 participants in their 70s who practiced Mediterranean diet, it was determined that the individuals who were in the research had half the brain atrophy or shrinkage. This is common for people in this age. Reduced shrinkage constitutes to lower risk of dementia, improved memory, and enhanced capacity to further think with lucidity and efficiency.
Exercising is great, but plainly sticking to a workout regimen is not sufficient. It is how you exercise that determines the results. Interval training makes a great deal of difference. Basically, this is a moderate workout succeeded by intervals of more intense exercises. This form of exercise regimen has been found to undo the aging process, which has been determined in a study of 72 inactive men and women from two separate age groups with one being in their 30s and the other in their 70s performing three separate workout routines – intense strength training, short interval training on bikes, and moderate biking for many days to swap with strength training during off days. The people in this study were assessed for physical fitness and got muscle biopsies to scrutinize how the workout routines impacted muscle cells. All participants in the three groups had improvements when it came to physical fitness; however, those individuals who had undergone interval training had stronger improvements in terms of the cellular aspect. The older people who had interval training was demonstrated to have 400 genes from their muscle cells that functioned differently afterwards. The younger group only had changes in 274 genes. The said genes that worked differently contribute to the capacity of mitochondria to generate energy for cells, which enhances muscular health and cell life. Of course, the most remarkable revelation of this study is that the older group had even more significant positive results than the younger ones.
Relationships’ effects go beyond the emotional aspect as it also affects us physically. Studies have consistently demonstrated that those with healthy relationships are more likely to ensure longevity. On the other hand, those with poor relationships with family and friends struggle with multiple medical ailments, such as chronic diseases like cardiovascular issues, reduced immunity, depression, insomnia, and dementia. A study in Harvard found that close relationships have a higher effect on quality of life more than money, fame, IQ, or social status. Relationships were also demonstrated to hold off signs of mental and physical deterioration and are solid forecasters of long and blissful lives.
Multiple studies have already been performing showing that meditation can help to enhance psychological and physical health and wellness. Aside from this, there have also been researches suggesting that medication can also slow down the signs of aging. With this, studies have revealed that meditation has a great effect on telomere length. Telomeres, basically, are defensive caps on either end of chromosomes, which have the genetic data of the cells, or DNA.
The sustenance of health and the longevity of the organs depends on the segregation and duplication of cells as we get older. As the cells split, the telomeres become shorter. The shorter they are, the more vulnerable the cells are to illness. Studies show that people who meditate had longer telomeres, manufacturing cells that can live and split longer, which results to the longevity of the organs.
Furthermore, meditations has also been demonstrated to shield the brain from aging. In a study, participants underwent an 8-week mindfulness meditation program. The result was that there was considerable improvements in certain brain zones associated with memory, stress, and empathy.
Though it proves to be challenging to be positive when the situation becomes too much to deal with emotionally and mentally, keeping the optimism alive at all times has significant anti-aging gains. A longitudinal study was conducted were more than 50 individuals were assessed for over two decades. Those who are optimistic, showed no worries about their future, and who view aging as irrelevant had a higher capacity to function autonomously, sustain physical fitness, work full-time, and enjoy social lives. Even when health concerns arise, these people continue to be positive. Being consistent with this taste of optimism, these people had lower rates of mortality and are less prone to be sick.
If you think about it, no matter how you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you won’t be as healthy as you aspire to be if you always dwell on the negative aspects of life. Enjoying your existence with the people you love and consciously choosing to look at the bright side of things will not only help you become healthier, but also help you to live longer.