If you’ve read much on health issues, you’ll notice the focus has changed. Now longevity has overtaken the “Anti-Aging” mantra for most people. Living longer means doing everything necessary for a healthier life. It means eating healthy, getting adequate exercise and sleep and avoid negative behavior such as drinking too much, smoking, using illegal drugs and stress-giving behavior.
It’s not all about genes.
You may have won the genetic lottery, but that doesn’t automatically guarantee longevity. In fact, longevity only plays approximately a 30 percent role in the length of your life. More and more the research shows that what you do, your attitude and your environment play a major role in just how long you live. Something as simple as getting adequate sleep can help prevent serious conditions that affect your longevity. Often the habits we establish as children with parents as examples have the biggest effect on our health, rather than the actual genetic makeup.
It may be all about telomeres.
What are telomeres? They’re like aglets—those little plastic tubes at the end of shoelaces. Aglets help prevent the shoelace from unraveling and telomeres cap off DNA strands and prevent it from being damaged. As each cell replicates itself, the telomeres get shorter, creating the potential for cell death or damage more probable. The length of telomeres dictates the biological, not the chronological age, of a person. If cells are damaged or die, they can’t replicate and that’s how aging or disease takes place.
Strong mitochondria are also important for longevity.
Your cells get all their fuel from mitochondria. It’s like the battery pack for the cell or the tiny furnace. The stronger your mitochondria is, the stronger your body and brain is. When the quality of the mitochondria or activity declines, you see the changes in the body that are associated with aging and diseases You can lengthen telomeres with habits like exercising regularly, reducing and controlling stress, eating a healthy diet and practicing mindfulness or meditation.
- HIIT is one way to help boost the production and efficiency of mitochondria. So is eating anti-inflammatory foods. The simple four-minute nitric oxide dump exercise may also give your mitochondria a boost.
- Simply taking a walk in the sunshine can also boost longevity. While there are dangers of too much sun, you need some to create the vitamin D necessary for healthier functioning. Smart exposure is important.
- Get social. Good relationships, laughing and smiling more are also linked to longevity. So is an active sex life.