What do you think is most important in terms of how you age?
Is it genetic, epigenetic or even simply habitual? And while we are at it, what is the BEST diet, BEST exercise program and Best series of daily habits to age gracefully and in your best capacity.
Is aging natural?
And finally, what about “anti-aging”!
Let me start there! Over the years people have fought against the term “anti” anything. Now I will be the first to admit that it is not ideal, somewhat dated and depending on your outlook might imply a “negative energetic connotation”!
Trust me I’ve heard it all. I understand that semantics can be bent to the will and viewpoint of anyone especially when an audience is present. I also understand that its pointless to fight against just about everything! We haven’t won a whole lot of any kind of wars lately… the war on cancer and the war on heart disease the war on obesity and the war on drugs come to mind. You could say the energetic investment is in the conflict rather than the resolution.
When the A4M the first of the anti-aging certs became available we had a few main tools: vitamins, exercise and hormones.
As time progressed these fundamental basics were added to by more fundamentals like meditation, weight management or more specifically body composition management and later still stem cells and telomeres for the real 1-2 punch on aging.
Eventually methylation a still debatable marker, various markers of inflammation and several functional markers and mitochondrial medicine have come to fore.
In point of fact in the 2 decades of “anti-aging” I have witnessed we know a lot more and can do a lot more on the intervention side. We are truly living in the age of “buying runway”. The odds are that with enough runway you will be healthy and more importantly still here for the next big developments in gene and epigenetic therapy!
So, what about genes and epigenetics? Genes are the books in the library- all of them. Epigenes are the ones you personally check out and read. There are many you won’t read, some you should not and some are the biological equivalent of the “Classics” and are must reads for healthy, graceful, (anti) aging.
When you are born it’s a genetic toss of the dice concerning which main characteristics you get and develop. Undoubtedly the intrauterine environment is a “black box” medically but let’s say that the healthier mom and dad are physically the better your chances are. Developmentally too as how they raise you determines your behaviors for many decades or even the rest of your life if you have a personality disorder because of bad (yes, it is bad for the world!) parenting. Good or bad you may become wise enough to address your programming and make your own decisions. If you are lucky!!!
What about epigenetics. I consider this the interface between the genes and the environment because this is where your habits can intervene to improve your genetic expression maybe even “rewrite” or overwrite some of your DNA!
So here are some good habits:
Meditation. However, you do it if you shut down the controlling monkey mind you will find yourself calmer. Interludes of calmness can make up for a lot of over revved over stressed time in terms of body chemical composition. All of this affects directly your telomere length (yes stress really does shorten your life!) and your immune response! Something that has become very important lately!!!
Sleep. While how much is enough is debatable the quality and continuity of your sleep are the best indicators. 5 hours straight is generally better than 8 hours interrupted! Don’t forget caffeine has a double pass metabolism so not drinking it after 4 pm is wise if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Exercise: Movement is key although the amount and intensity are still under debate and will be for some time. Personally, I like the mobility body weight stuff like gymnastics and yoga the best as I age. I think it keeps the posture youthful and without a lot of scientific detail here, a straight healthy spine keeps the energy channels open to flow “up”.
Trust me energy “UP” is good!
I still believe that both HIIT and endurance exercise are important as is strength training but how you do it is most important. I have been much, much bigger and stronger than I am now in terms of absolute 1 rep max strength. But I could not do hand balances or move my body in nearly the range of motion I can now. The good news is those things are improving as I age as is my energy level and how I feel!
Diet: Long before Keto became the rage, I began to see the parallels between what this nutritional behavior provides and anti-aging. It took about 8 years and a lot more people jumping on board but now there is good data on lots of things we consider associated with anti or healthy aging.
Ketogen remains a staple in my diet!
That said there are still numerous references to a healthy diet containing fruit, vegetables and whole grain. While I get to differ there are many agendas and many belief systems out there that will come go and come again I promise you!
I would love and sincerely wish you could experience those things and age well, gracefully or even “anti” age in reverse.
Jean Calment is the oldest living documented person in Western Society using birth and death records.
She smoked until she was 100, drank until she was 110 and road her bike daily until she was 117 dying 5 years later at 122.
It’s convenient for people to cite those facts and dismiss everything as genetics. I would not do that if I were you especially if you are not a direct descendant of hers.
If one or more of your parents died of a “disease of aging” with a heritable component such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer or the residual of addictive behavior in their youth, etc. I would look seriously at practicing “anti-aging” since someone dying 20 years before the norm is not exactly an example of graceful, normal or natural aging.
I think Madam Jean Calment is closer to what can become normal and graceful for far more of us and in point of fact super centenarians are the fastest growing group lately!
Frankly even if they did not, I would be doing and AM DOING everything to slow down the curve and make aging a more natural process. After all who knows how long Madam Calment would have lived if she had Telokynase!
Stay Well and BE Young because the world needs your wisdom and experience more than ever!!!