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How to Stay Young

by Alicia Springer 4 years ago in advice / aging / diet / fact or fiction

Fringe science eventually becomes real science in the never ending question of how to stay young.

Photo by Dan Cretu

To navigate past the biblical three score and ten (that's 70 years), we humans pore over a great many charts. On course, with Ponce de Leon and James Barrie, we've searched for extended youth in monkey glands and meditation, embryos and electromagnetic fields, yoga and yogurt. None has gotten us to Methuselah's 96.9 years or even to 150, although the record now stands at 113 years. 113-Year-Old holocaust survivor, Israel Kristal, had his bar mitzvah 100 years later.

No matter. The lure of longevity persists-not merely to live long but "to die young as late as possible." We'll pay attention to anyone who seems to promise us longer, healthier lives. The challenge is separating the avant garde from the absurd, the innovative from the irrational. Often the key is understanding the basic science inherent in the solutions.

Functional Loss

Photo by Dan Cretu

Never give into a functional loss; fight it all the way. Never accept a diminution of what you were once able to do and neither should anyone, whether it's sexual activity, exercise, or learning capacity. Lots of these losses are related to things we can do something about, like medications, mental attitude, and laziness.

Calorie Counting

Photo by Dan Cretu

In part, as we age, cells responsible for protecting us become weak or damaged. They randomly begin to attack normal tissue, sabotaging our vigor with autoimmune reactions. Gradually restricting calories over a long period helps theoretically reduce their strength. Rather than shocking the system with a massive reduction in calories, slow gradual reductions through portion reduction is a better idea.

Body Clock

Photo by Dan Cretu

There is a "clock" of aging within the DNA–the genetic blueprint of each cell's nucleus. Each normal cell has within it a finite number of life cycles, about 40 to 60 cell divisions, called the Hayflick limit. Even when cell divisions are stopped for long periods by freezing or chemicals, they pick up exactly where they left off in their genetic aging "program" and complete the span. The reason humans already live so long is that nature constructed us, as would any good engineer, with redundant systems—two kidneys, two eyes, and so on—in order to assure that we live long enough to breed and rear our young. As we learned to control our environment, we wound up with a lot of excess capacity to live. The more we apparently respect nature, the longer we live naturally.

Playing it Safe

Photo by Dan Cretu

Studies suggest that being moderately overweight in our 60s, about 10 to 15 pounds, may increase our chances of living longer. One possible explanation is that as people age, they lose lean body tissue and therefore must compensate (especially in colder climates) with extra fat to keep up energy levels. Vigilant moderation of eating habits and following the general principle that there are no bad foods, only bad diets goes a great way toward life extension.

Keeping in Tune

Photo by Dan Cretu

Aging is a many-sided, complicated set of activities guided by a breakdown of many hormonal and brain-controlled actions. When we age, the whole body and all of its organs are involved at every step. Aging isn't in individual events but in the coordination of activities. The orchestra doesn't fail if one trumpet hits a wrong note or a drummer drops a stick, But when the conductor messes up the rhythm it all sounds off. What happens in aging is an increasing lack of harmony, with each of the organs playing its own tune at its own tempo. Organs learn to work together through repetition. Exercise leads to harmony and extended life. The more physcial activity you do, the longer you will live. Try Yoga.

Vitamin C is the Key

Photo by Dan Cretu

There is a connection between nutrition and long life perhaps more than we even realize. Some extreme vitaminology experts say, to extend life and enhance health, take 3 - 5 grams of vitamin C every day (the higher amounts when traveling, when under stress, or if a cold's coming). This is many times more than the 70 - 100 milligrams recommended for adult males.

In the end, time eventually catches up with all of us. Perhaps the best advice is to live life to its fullest. Wake up, be thankful and smile. Each day is a day to be thankful for, so use your time wisely and always remember that if their is a healthy option, take it.

adviceagingdietfact or fiction
Alicia Springer
Alicia Springer
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Alicia Springer

Mother of two. Personal trainer. Fitness is about determination, not age.

See all posts by Alicia Springer

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