The clock is ticking for both men and women, and for every tick there is change. Here are some suggestions how to slow aging – the secret of tiny telomeres.
Want to feel young even as you age? Are you looking for the best way to awaken your immune system and stay healthy and vibrant? The exciting news is that our lifestyle choices can have a great impact on our DNA.
Aging, mathematically, is inevitable but what do we know about telomeres? The tiny telomeres on the ends of our chromosomes are generating debate among scientists who are trying to better understand the role of telomeres and aging.
How to Slow Aging – the Secret of Tiny Telomeres
In 2009 Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and her colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in unlocking the mysteries of telomers. She, and Elissa Epel, PhD, wrote a book, titled The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer.
“The foods you eat, your response to emotional challenges, the amount of exercise you get, whether you were exposed to childhood stress, and even the level of trust and safety in your neighborhood – all of these factors and more appear to influence your telomeres and can prevent premature aging at the cellular level,” the authors wrote.
That is inspiration to clean up your lifestyle if you want to extend your lifespan!
The name telomere (tel-uh-meer) comes from Greek origin – telos (end) and meros (part).
Telomeres are necessary parts of human cells that affect how your cells age. As you age, Telomeres naturally shorten. They can also be shortened by an unhealthy lifestyle.
Many scientific studies have shown a strong connection between short telomeres and the aging of your cells. The length of your telomeres represents your biological age as opposed to your chronological age.
So, what exactly are telomeres?
At the end of each strand of DNA is a cap that protects your chromosomes. These are your telomeres. Like plastic ends on shoelaces, these tiny telomeres protect the ends of your chromosomes that carry your DNA – genetic material.
Without the plastic coating on the end of shoelaces, the shoelaces become frayed and cannot do their job.
Over time, telomeres wear down and get shorter, thus they are less able to protect your chromosomes. It is as these tiny telomeres become damaged, and shortened, that biological aging takes place. Without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and your cells age and die.
Telomeres and Lifestyle
Elizabeth Blackburn and her colleagues say that certain lifestyle changes might stabilize or increase the length of telomeres to help prevent aging.
Some studies suggest that the effects of aging can be reversed. Quality of life is the desired outcome. There are healthy habits you can pick up to help slow down the aging process. It is not a guaranteed quick fix as everyone is unique.
Here is a List of 7 Healthy Habits to Slow Down the Aging Process.
#1 A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet of lean protein, high fire veggies and fruit, and healthy fats, are good food choices. Intermittent fasting or a Mediterranean diet are associated with longer telomeres. Vitamin D has been associated with healthy telomere length and cellular aging.
#2 Reduce Stress
Staying connected with friends and family reduces stress. Good hearing reduces stress and is maintained with the use of hearing aids, when necessary. Good vision is maintained by regularly visiting your eye doctor and keeping your glasses prescription up to date.
#3 Eight Glasses of Water a Day
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. 60% of your body is made up of water, and 90 % of your blood is made up of water. Even if you do not always feel thirsty, it is a good idea to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
#4 Keep in Contact with Your Health Practitioner
Keep regular appointments with your doctor and dentist. Stay up to date with your flu shots, and screen for health concerns such as colon, heart, and cholesterol.
#5 Stay Connected
Socialize with friends and family. Whether in person or over the phone. Modern technology allows access via many different applications.
It is possible that insomnia comes from lack of daily exercise. If you don’t get quality sleep at night, it makes you irritable during the day. If you suffer from insomnia, perhaps daytime napping is the culprit. Stay Active!
#7 Mental Stimulation
Enjoy pleasant music and good books, crossword puzzles, journaling, painting, computer, and cell phone games are all great ways to keep your mind stimulated.
Longer Telomeres, Increased Longevity
have shown the association between the length of our telomeres and the state of our health.
This is related to disease like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, depression, and anxiety.
A change in your lifestyle to include low-fat, plant-based food, moderate daily exercise, as well as managing your stress, and maintaining a socially active, increased telomere length by 10 percent, while the control group had a 3 percent deduction in telomere length after five years.
How Will Exercise Help Anti-aging?
Exercise is the best way to remain active and healthy. Exercise is a natural anti-aging factor. We know the benefits of exercise, but did you know that exercise along with a healthy diet will help to keep your cells young?
What can exercise do to slow down the aging process?
Age in Reverse
As you exercise regularly, you can build strong muscles and prevent chronic illness. But another important factor in exercise is that it promotes anti-aging. Exercise is the best way to make you look and feel younger.
As you exercise, you sweat and the natural oils of the skin increase. Sweat is great to clear the pores and remove toxins. It not only helps you feel younger but also gives your skin a soft glow.
During exercise, the heart and lungs increase oxygen delivered to the skin. This generally makes the skin healthier and more attractive. Some people believe that exercise tightens the skin and reduces wrinkles by increasing collagen and toning the muscles.
According to reports, people who exercise regularly, slow down the aging process of the skin. Recent research tells us that exercising may actually make it possible for you to turn back the clock for your skin.
Just thirty minutes of aerobic exercise each day and you may begin looking younger.
Aging not only makes you look older but also makes your body less flexible. Aging will keep your muscles fixed in place so you won’t be able to move quickly and you will feel stiff and sore. If you practice stretching regularly, your body will gain flexibility.
Some Stretching Exercises to Reverse Aging
This exercise helps you stretch the lower back muscles and your core muscles to keep a healthy spine.
This exercise can help stretch the extensors in the spine and the anterior neck muscles. It can help correct the hunch that we associate with older people.
This is one of the better stretching exercises for flexibility. It can help improve range of motion in the shoulders and stretch chest muscles. Sit in a chair with your spine straight and your feet firmly on the ground.
Reach behind you and interlace your hands. Inhale deeply as you feel your spine grow and you actually sit taller. Try rolling your shoulders up and back. After three deep breaths in and out, release you clasp.
Stress and the Aging Process:
A 2012 study by Austrian researchers found that work-related stress, harms DNA in your cells. It shortens your telomeres at a faster pace than normal.
The length of your telomers, may indicate your life expectancy. It is impossible to obliterate stress. “What’s important is how you manage it” says Thomas Perls, MD, associate professor at Boston University school of Medicine.
To alleviate your stress levels, meditate, pray, practice yoga, relax in the shower, or do whatever else works for you. There is a strong link between exercise and telomeres. It may not reduce the age number, but it will help to slow down the aging process.
What Do Shoelaces Have to Do with Aging?
Telomeres are like the plastic caps at the end of your shoelaces. Just as the plastic caps at the end of your shoelaces keep the shoelaces from fraying, so the telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA. They protect your chromosomes like the caps protect the ends of the shoelaces.
When the shoelaces fray, they can no longer do their job. Just so, without telomeres the DNA strands become damaged and can no longer do their job.
Your telomeres must be kept in a fragile balance. If they become too long, you put yourself at greater risk for developing cancer. But if they become too short and the DNA becomes damaged, then aging or chronic disease is the result.
Types of Exercises that Will Help You in Anti-Aging
When it comes to exercise, there are many varieties of exercise, and each one benefits in a different way. There are four types of exercise and they all help you stay young and vibrant!
#1 Strength/Resistance Training
Strong muscles help you stay independent and make it easier to do everyday activities. Getting up from a chair, climbing the stairs and carrying your groceries all become easier for you to do as you build muscle.
A strong muscular system can help you with your balance and prevent falls and their related injuries.
Some strength training activities are:
Lifting weights. You should have supervision, so you do not injure yourself.
A personal trainer would be ideal. Starting with resistance bands, or even 1 – 2-pound weights might be a good starting place.
Doing body weight exercises such as push-ups, chin ups, or the plank are all a great way to go. You can purchase strength training equipment at many sporting stores.
#2 Flexibility Training
Being flexible allows you to dress easily, get in and out of the car with ease, and even scratch that itch on your back! Stretches are a good way to increase flexibility.
Just try your stretches slowly. Do not work your way into pain! Stop just short of where you feel pain. You are better off coaxing or easing your body into improved flexibility.
#3 Balance Exercise
Balance exercises can be fun and easy. You can make it part of everyday life. Here are four
examples of balance exercises.
- Stand next to the counter and alternately lift one knee as high as possible. Then try the opposite knee.
- As you brush your teeth, try standing on one foot.
- Another balance exercise is to sit in a chair that has no arms on it. Cross your arms putting your left hand on your right shoulder and your right hand on your left shoulder. Look straight ahead and stand up. Don’t remove your hands from your shoulders.
- Yoga and tai chi are good ways to increase your balance
#4 Aerobic or Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercise improves the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It can also delay or prevent many diseases that are common in older adults, such as diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and heart disease. These activities help you perform your everyday tasks more easily.
A new study found that cardio exercise benefits more than just your heart. It can reduce your risk of developing dementia. People who are more physically active have better cognitive function, memory, thinking, and judgment skills.
Some cardio activities you can do:
- Take a brisk walk
- Do yard work, like mowing or raking
- Play tennis or basketball
These athletic activities build muscle endurance and provide you with a healthier immune system. The American Heart Association, recommends having 150 minutes a week of healthy aerobic activity to help reduce aging problems, lower blood pressure, and increase longevity.
Start Exercising Today!
You should develop a habit of practicing exercise in your day-to-day life.
According to studies, seniors who exercise regularly have 39% reduced risk of heart attack than those who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Socially active seniors have stronger immune systems. A study shows that isolated seniors are more prone to illness, higher blood pressure and depression.
Exercise not only helps to promote anti-aging but also it comes with a lot of other benefits like weight loss, reduced cholesterol levels, and reduced blood pressure.
Choose the Right One
Before starting an exercise, consult with your doctor and then decide on an appropriate exercise.
To gain increased balance you can start practicing yoga or tai chi. They are easy to do and also you won’t get hurt in these kinds of exercises.
If you focus on strength development, then you can do some lunges or push-ups.
Aging is inevitable, but a proper exercise plan integrated with less stress, a healthy diet and good social skills, may help lengthen our tiny telomeres and delay the effects of aging. By learning how to control the stress in your life, you can improve the length of your telomeres.
Exercise boosts the Quality of Life. So, choose an exercise that you like and feel comfortable with. It does not have to be complicated. According to the American Heart Association, begin with 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week for optimum health.
The lifestyle you choose today, can change tomorrow!
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What do you do to stay young and vibrant? Do you have some healthy methods that work well for you?
Disclaimer: If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.