Is Age Just a Number?
It's a well known fact that we perceive the people we love as being younger than they actually are.
It can be a couple in their sixties or seventies who still see each other as the 20 somethings they married 40 years ago.
It can be a father who still sees his daughter as the twelve year old who needed his support, advice and protection when the rest of the world sees her as the successful attorney that she's become.
Interestingly, this only happens if the object of affection has maintained their health and appearance.
The rose colored lens doesn't work if the subject has got too fat or too wrinkly to fit inside it any more.
The takeaway is embracing a diet and exercise related lifestyle will keep those rose colored glasses firmly on your loved one's face!
Slow Down Aging: Get a Good, Firm Mattress
Sleep, as Shakespeare says "knits up the ravelled sleeve of care." It's your most effective recovery tool. Research consistently shows that poor or restricted sleep increases as you age and may be linked to disease, cognitive ability and testosterone levels. Lack of sleep has even been linked to poor and ravaged skin.
As much as possible, you should try for a solid 8 hours sleep every night. And that means actual sleep, not just time spent in bed watching Seinfeld reruns, checking emails, and liking Grumpy Cat memes. We’re talking 6 to 9 hours of deep, restful, uninterrupted, quality sleep. Sleep that allows you to wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated. It's also a huge positive if you can wake up naturally without the help of an alarm.
Slow Down Aging: Test Out the Mattress
Yes, I'm talking about sex. Again. See my earlier post Sex and Seniors: The Hidden Truth.
Dr. David Weeks has done research on what keeps some people much younger than their chronological age and found that it boiled down to two primary factors.
“The key ingredients for looking younger are staying active … and maintaining a good sex life.” – Dr. David Weeks
His research found that regular sex with a committed partner, up to three times a week, lead to someone looking between four and seven years younger than their chronological age.
Researchers are not quite sure how or why regular sex has such a powerful effect. It could be that sex increases intimacy with your partner and your sense of connection. It could be that sex releases certain hormones that are known to decrease as we age. It might even be that sex can be somewhat vigorous and the anti-aging boost is from the physical activity.
But then who cares? As Nike says "just do it."
Slow Down Aging: Train for a 5K Run
Clearly you're not going to do this if you're seriously overweight or your doctor advises that you might die.
For the rest of you, it's a great goal.
Aerobic exercise helps maintain your heart, vascular system and even brain health. One of the foremost theories in the field of anti-aging is the mitochondrial decay theory. This theory essentially says that we age partly because the mitochondria in our cells don’t produce energy efficiently as we age. Aerobic exercise stimulates the production and repair of the mitochondria and may help to offset this cause of aging. As one study put it:
“…endurance training increases mitochondrial function, stimulates spontaneous physical activity, and is a viable approach to interrupt the vicious cycle of aging.” – Eluamai, Brooks.
Lace up the shoes and start training right now, you can find a race when you get back.
Slow Down Aging: Have a Glass of Red Wine with Dinner
While any alcohol, in moderation, has been shown to help slow aging, red wine is especially powerful due to the presence of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant-like compound. Resveratrol has shown great promise as an anti-aging agent.
It’s found in grapes, peanuts and mulberries but is especially concentrated in red wine.
BUT THIS IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT!
You only get the anti-aging benefits of alcohol with light to moderate consumption, no matter what type of alcohol. So limit your intake to no more than a glass or so a day.
My personal advice is to not drink alcohol at all during the week.
Then, when the weekend arrives, reward yourself with a glass or two of a nice Shiraz or Cab Sauv on the Friday evening. Maybe Saturday evening as well.
Do not under any circumstances drink and drive. Enjoy your wine in moderation, but use a designated driver or a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.