Have you ever been mistaken as looking older or younger than your actual age? Or maybe you have friends who were born in the same year as you, but you look years apart? It’s not uncommon!
Researchers decided to take this concept one step further and see if there was anything behind it. Their results were astonishing!
The Aging Study
The study was led by Daniel Belsky, an assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. It involved 954 young participants between the ages of 20 and 40 who were evaluated using 18 different measures to determine how quickly they were aging.
The first shocking discovery was that according to their findings a person’s physiological age seemed to match their physical age. What this means is that the participants who showed to have aged mentally and functionally, also had aged at the same pace physically. So those who looked older were, in reality, aging faster than others in their same age group!
The second shocking discovery was that about 80% of the factors that Belsky and his team found to be possible influences on age, are completely within a person’s control. In other words, your lifestyle and behaviors seem to affect your age even more than your actual genetics. (1)
This research opens many doors for future studies and treatments. Now that researchers are able to measure a person’s aging pace, they are better able to track whether certain anti-aging treatments are effective or not.
However, further research is required to pinpoint exactly what behaviors and lifestyle choices directly relate to slowing down or speeding up aging. Belsky will continue to re-evaluate the participants and make good use of this tremendous opportunity. (2)
What Can I Do To Stay Young?
Although we still have a lot to learn about what behaviors affect aging, and are waiting in suspense for further results, there are some things that we already do know. And we won’t be surprised if this is what new research will confirm.
Exercise has long been on the list of beneficial activities when it comes to maintaining a youthful lifestyle. Daily exercise has been proven to improve not only the muscles that are directly involved in the specific activity, but also the cardiovascular system, immune system, hormones, and mood. (2)
You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s only because it’s true! Exercise can literally improve your cellular functions and keep you young and healthy.
A Healthy Diet
Dieting is also extremely important when it comes to healthy aging. The food you eat has a huge impact on your health and well being. Sticking to a balanced diet can reduce the risk of disease, improve physical performance, and positively affect your mood. (3)
The best kind of diet includes:
- Emphasis on vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains, beans, and nuts
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs,
- Limited processed foods (saturated fats, trans fats, and high levels of salt and sugar)
- Controlled portion sizes
Everyone gets older; it’s just a part of life. But the good news is that there ARE behaviors and habits that you can develop to slow down the process, keep your body physically and psychologically youthful, and give you the healthy, happy life you deserve!