You may think that genetics determines how you age but, in fact, you have the power to slow the aging process.
Only twenty to thirty percent of longevity relies on genetics. Genes are like “sub folders”, they are segments of DNA that are responsible for appearance, how your body works and almost everything related to life.
Recently researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Center and the Kuakinni Medical Center in Honolulu have identified two genes that seem to influence aging and longevity. These genes are related to cholesterol (APO B: reduce the levels of LDL in the blood) and insulin (FOX03A: participates in insulin growth factor signaling).
In the Lifespan Study, the FOX03A gene was associated with, “doubling or tripling the odds of living for at least 95-years” and found that the participants who lived had a lower waist-to-hip ratio, lower triglyceride levels, and lower glucose and insulin levels.” Sound familiar? The macronutrient that affects insulin, glucose, triglycerides and belly fat is carbohydrates. Eating excess carbohydrates has a negative effect on all these risk factors and contributes to old age. What you eat is tied into the genetic component of getting older.
If genetics is only partly responsible for the aging process, what then is the largest contributor? Lifestyle. Yes in one simple word, lifestyle is the key to staying younger. There is no pill, magic bullet or fountain of youth, just eat right (keep carbohydrates low), exercise, follow these 5 additional healthy lifestyle mantras and you will age gracefully by:
- Avoiding Smoking
- Limiting Alcohol
- Reducing Stress
- Engaging in Healthy Social Relationships
- Exercising Your Mind
- Maintaining Adequate Hydration and Avoiding Excess Carbohydrates and Sugar that negatively impacts cholesterol and insulin.
- Staying Active especially with Strength training. Melov and Tarnopolsky, from McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario, found that one hour of strength training twice a week for 6 and a half months resulted in anti-aging effects at the cellular level for a group of 70 year olds whose genetic profiles were similar to a group of 25-year-old volunteers. The resistance training was associated with 179 age-exercise related genes. “A 70-year-old active individual is probably younger from a biomarker standpoint – muscle strength, balance, body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol levels – than a 40-year-old inactive individual,’’ Miriam Nelson, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University.
Another main component of aging at the cellular level is oxidative stress, or low anti-oxidant levels, and mitochondrial (mitochondria is considered the power houses of cells converts sugars to energy) dysfunction. Specifically resistance training increases antioxidants and improves mitochondrial function to reverse the aging process.
Exercise and strength training has also been shown to reduce stress, build self-esteem, increase metabolism, improve brain function, build muscle and bone along with so many other positive health benefits it is no surprise that there is a strong link to staying young.
The fountain of youth is within everyone’s grasp. Living a healthy lifestyle is the secret. Strength training and lowering carbs have the most effect on turning back the “aging” clock. Try to make the 5 other anti-aging tips part of your life! The secret to staying young may not be as easy as drinking from the fountain of youth but it is right at your finger tips.