The signs of aging can’t be completely avoided, but there are many ways to stay healthy and minimize some of the downsides of aging. A balanced diet, exercise and stress management are always a good starting point. It is the diet that has the greatest potential to support aging. This article examines these and other methods of healthy aging, and takes a look at the possibilities the future holds.
A healthy diet is the most promising of all aging support treatments. Calorie restriction is particularly effective, provided care is taken to avoid malnutrition. A recent study has shown that an optimized diet similar to the Mediterranean diet can extend a person’s life by at least ten years, depending on when they adopt this diet. Even someone who started at age 80 can gain more than 3 years.
may reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and cancer in human studies.
requires self-discipline and nutrition education
According to a study published in 2018, regular exercise can help prevent 40 chronic diseases and conditions and may contribute to healthy aging by keeping cells young longer.
Exercises can be varied, including:
a demanding hobby, such as gardening.
On the other hand, research shows that lack of physical exercise increases the risk of premature death compared to smoking, diabetes or heart disease. The study showed that people aged 70 and over had the greatest survival benefit from exercise.
protects against chronic diseases and helps extend lifespan
easy to do
risk of injury in case of excess
some people may need help finding the right exercise and doing it safely.
Manage chronic stress
Research indicates that chronic stress can accelerate the cellular aging process, causing a person to age faster. Researchers have found that psychological resilience can mitigate the long-term negative effects of stress. Stress management techniques that can help build this resilience include meditation, taking time for yourself, socializing, and getting professional help if you need it.
reduces the risk of many chronic diseases
can improve pleasure and quality of life
requires self-discipline and regular practice
may take some time to have an effect
Take care of the skin
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and is extremely complex. The skin is also one of the first parts of the body to show signs of aging. It thins, veins and bones may become more visible, wounds take longer to heal, and wrinkles and age spots begin to appear. Moderating sun exposure is the best thing you can do for your skin. Moisturizers, facials, massages, and stretching exercises can also be helpful. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, botox injections, and surgery are other options, although they come with more potential side effects.
Improved skin texture and tone
can be expensive
For some, it’s hard to maintain a routine
it’s hard not to indulge in idealizations of beauty, like the need for smoother skin.
get enough sleep
When you sleep, the body repairs and regenerates itself. A study has shown that insomnia in older adults is linked to greater cellular aging and may increase the risk of developing age-related chronic diseases. Researchers have found that a single night of insufficient sleep is enough to accelerate the aging of cells in an elderly person.
promotes mental health and positive mood
may help prevent chronic diseases associated with aging
Sometimes it takes a while to change your sleeping habits and see the effects.
may require professional help to treat sleep disturbances
Limit or avoid alcohol
Aging can bring about social and physical changes that make older people more vulnerable to alcohol abuse and more susceptible to its effects. Research has shown that deaths from alcohol abuse took an average of 26 years off the lives of people who died prematurely each year between 2015 and 2019, amounting to 3.6 million years of life lost. Deaths are linked to excessive alcohol consumption over time and result primarily from cancers, liver disease, strokes and heart disease.
may reduce disease development and premature death
can promote a happier, less problematic life
may require professional help or institutional programs to quit alcohol
To learn more about the effects of alcohol on the body, click here.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. A smoker lives on average 10 years less than a non-smoker. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases by 90%. Quitting smoking at any age is beneficial for health and longevity.
reduces the risk of developing age-related diseases
extends a person’s life expectancy
It can be difficult to quit smoking, but smoking cessation programs and medications can help.
To learn more about what happens after you quit smoking, click here.
What is the future of research on aging?
Modern aging research began in 1988 when Tom Johnson and David Friedman published a study in the journal Genetics showing that mutating a gene during a worm’s lifetime extended its average lifespan by 40% and its maximum life of 110%. Since then, science has introduced a series of measures that may increase human longevity in the future. Current research topics in geroscience, or the study of the biology of aging, include:
manipulation of the gut microbiota in the microbiome
the development of drugs to selectively kill senescent cells or older cells that are no longer dividing
newer aging support drugs, such as rapamycin
the use of stem cells to rejuvenate and heal the body.
Although aging is currently unavoidable, there are many ways to live healthy and with lasting energy. A healthy lifestyle that includes diet, exercise, and stress management is the best way to start. Science is investigating other measures that may prove useful in the future, including drugs, gene therapy and cell rejuvenation.