How to Slow Down Aging?
Aging is a part of life - it brings wisdom and experience. Despite being an inevitable process, each of us would like to slow it down. It has been shown that our actions can either accelerate or decelerate various aspects of aging.
Aging - a Process No One Can Avoid
Aging is a biological process that involves the gradual decline of physiological functions in an organism, reducing its ability to maintain balance within the body. Although aging is an unavoidable biological process that affects all living beings, we can influence the course of aging and the quality of life in later years through a healthy lifestyle.
Factors Affecting the Speed of Aging
The speed of aging is influenced by both genetic predispositions and the quality of lifestyle habits and circumstances.
Of course, there are many factors that can accelerate the aging process:
- Unbalanced diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Harmful habits
- Excessive sun exposure
Similar to distinguishing chronological, biological, and perceived age, we differentiate between chronological, biological, and subjective aging. Chronological aging cannot be influenced, as it is determined by the date of birth.
However, we can partially influence biological and subjective aging with a healthy and active lifestyle, psychological stability, and quality interpersonal relationships throughout life.
First Signs of Aging
The most obvious signs of aging are external, such as more pronounced facial wrinkles, dry skin, and frequent visits to the hairdresser. Often, we neglect other signs, such as a weakened immune system, decreased levels of certain hormones, loss of muscle mass and strength, reduced bone density, and the body's own antioxidant protection.
We cannot prevent the aging of the organism, but we can slow it down through the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. When choosing dietary supplements, it's best to focus on the following three key points:
- Bones and muscles (loss of muscle mass, decreased bone density, osteoporosis)
- Heart (atherosclerosis, stroke, heart failure, physical fitness)
- Brain (Alzheimer's dementia)
All of the above can also be influenced by a balanced diet and lifestyle.
6 Tips to Slow Down Aging
1. Physical Activity
Physical activity plays a crucial role in the aging process. Regular exercise helps maintain muscle mass and strength and improves bone health. Additionally, it positively impacts cardiovascular health, weight management, and mental well-being.
Physical activity also contributes to maintaining mobility, improving cognitive functions, and overall vitality, further enhancing holistic health and well-being during the aging process.
Reduce Sedentary Behavior
- Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Set an alarm to remind you to stand up or move.
- Talk on the phone while standing, occasionally place your laptop on a counter, or stand while working.
- Park further away from the office or during errands.
- Choose stairs over elevators and escalators.
Boost Heart Rate
Aerobic activity is any activity that makes you breathe harder than usual and your heart beat faster.
- Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
- Strength training with weights or bodyweight exercises improves bone health and reduces the risk of frailty and osteoporosis, a significant factor in aging.
2. Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Recent research has revealed that excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption (alcoholism or alcohol use disorder) accelerates the aging process and increases the likelihood of cognitive disorders such as dementia.
High alcohol consumption carries health risks, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, liver dysfunction, mental issues like depression and anxiety, an increased risk of developing cancer, and a weakened immune system.
It is recommended to limit daily alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks for men and one drink for women to reduce the risk of negative health effects.
3. Ensure Quality Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in overall health and well-being throughout life. Well-being during waking hours partly depends on what happens during sleep. During sleep, the body works to support healthy brain function and physical health.
Sleep needs vary for each individual, and the ideal amount of sleep is 7-8 hours. Less than 6 or more than 10 hours of sleep daily are considered unhealthy. The average sleep duration is consistently decreasing, leading to significant challenges as people suffer from sleep deprivation.
Research shows that insufficient sleep negatively impacts concentration, productivity, and stress management. Over time, sleep deprivation can lead to serious disorders and an increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
Tips for Better Sleep
- Establish a sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. This helps your internal clock stay on a consistent sleep-wake rhythm and promotes restorative sleep.
- Wind down. Use the hour before bedtime for relaxing activities and preparing for sleep. Avoid vigorous exercise and strong light from TVs, computers, and phones.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime.
- Create a bedroom that's quiet, cool, and dark. This sets an optimal environment for good sleep.
4. Don't Forget Sun Protection
Sun protection is essential for slowing down aging, as sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can cause serious skin damage.
Excessive exposure to UV radiation accelerates the aging process of the skin, resulting in premature wrinkles, increased pigmentation spots, and loss of skin elasticity and firmness. Additionally, UV radiation increases the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Tips for Sun Protection
- Avoid the sun between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it every 2 hours.
- Protect your skin from the sun on cloudy days as well. UV rays can penetrate clouds, and UV exposure persists year-round, even on cloudy days and in winter.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress is a part of life and can arise from various causes, such as work pressure, interpersonal relationships, financial difficulties, or life changes. When faced with stress, our bodies react to these challenges in various ways.
During periods of increased stress, the body depletes its stores of certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Research has shown that even in individuals with a proper diet, certain vitamins and minerals in the blood can decrease by up to 33 percent at the end of a stressful day.
Tips for Managing Stress
- Try meditation.
- Stay physically active; regular physical activity has an overall positive effect on general health and stress management.
- Take time for yourself.
6. Balanced Diet
Nutrient requirements can significantly change with age. Due to physiological changes that occur during this period, deficiencies in certain nutrients may arise. Nutrient deficiencies can result from inadequate nutrient intake or increased needs for vitamins, minerals, and/or antioxidants due to specific physiological conditions, diseases, surgery, or treatment.
A balanced diet has a significant impact on the aging process, as it provides the body with the necessary nutrients to maintain health and vitality. Proper nutrition can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and help maintain optimal bodily function throughout life.
Incorporating diverse foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids can support healthy skin, strong bones, good cognitive function, and energy and vitality. It is also important to limit excessive sugar intake, saturated fats, and processed foods, as an excess of these substances can accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of various diseases.