May 20, 2019

How to Reverse Aging

There’s a longtime saying, “If I knew I was going to age this fast, I would have taken better care of myself.” Don’t be someone who says that. You have a lot of control in how quickly you age. You can do more than slowing aging. You can reverse it. Here’s how to reverse aging.

how to reverse aging

Aging: What We Know

Want to reverse aging? Change your lifestyle. It really is not more complicated than that. Lifestyle is more important than genetics in determining how well or poorly most of us age. Lifestyle has more influence over genetics on the aging process up to age 80.

Up to age 80, lifestyle contributes 75% to the aging process and genetics 25%. Genetics, though, play a bigger role in the aging process once one lives beyond 100. But since most die closer to 80 than 100 it should be clear lifestyle is where we should focus. Lifestyle you can change. Your genetics you cannot.

Whether you want to know how to reverse aging cell by cell, how to reverse aging skin, how to reverse an aging face, or how to reverse aging naturally the following steps will help. And, that’s because aging occurs through out the body and not just one organ (skin) or body part.

10 Steps to Reverse Aging

  • Become really good at managing stress.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Have an active sex life.
  • Be a master sleeper.
  • Connect and socialize.
  • Exercise and stay physically active.
  • Keep learning.
  • Develop a purpose.

Stress is All Around Us

There is a certain amount of stress that comes with being human. There is no escaping stress. We will all experience difficulty in our lives. We will all have a loved one that dies, we will all have a problem in a relationship, we will experience financial struggles, we will all experience periods of doubt and confusion. And, eventually we will all die.

Stress Prevention

Try not to add to the baseline or background stress that comes with life. At times we all tend to make our lives more complicated they need to be. Try to avoid adding undo stress to your live. For instance, live within your means and plan for a rainy day with your money. Learn to say “no” which is easier if you have a clear picture of what you want and where you are headed. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Anticipate problems and have contingency plans to deal with them. Deal with problems swiftly. Express yourself clearly to others. Don’t worry about hurting feelings. Take action now rather than later.

Causes of Stress

We will focus on work-related stress here.

More and more peopled are stressed in the work place. There are plenty of reasons for that, but there is one in particular that I have witnessed with my patients and even my own life. More and more we are being asked to do things that take away from the core of our employment or professions.

In my case treating patients. Physicians (and add nurses, physical therapists, and other health care professionals) are now spending more time documenting their days than doing what it is that they are trained to do. This leads to dissatisfaction and stress.

The same is true for teachers. Some teachers say only 40% of their day is now teaching. Same is true for attorneys. Same is true for engineers.

Nearly every job is about dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s” and documenting, documenting, documenting. Jobs are being micromanaged. Do really want someone looking over your shoulders all day long?

Managing Stress

One thing many of us need to do is develop strategies to get back to doing what we were originally trained to do. You’ll have to figure that out on your own as to how best do that. But, it is worth spending considerable brain power to find solutions to this type of problem.

If feeling overwhelmed talk to a counselor. They can help put a problem in perspective and offer solutions you may not see to deal with a problem. Try not to rely on prescriptions meds. They have side effects and can be challenging to get off after the problem as long been resolved. Far too often anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are used as crutches.

Take some time each day for yourself – to unwind and engage in pleasurable activities and reflect on the day. Try yoga, deep breathing, or simply get back to nature and take a walk.

How Dangerous is Stress?

Chronic stress will take 10 years of your life. So, it’s pretty dangerous ranking up there with smoking and being overweight.

 

Do Not Smoke

Smoking a pack of cigarettes daily will take off any where from 7 to 15 years of your life depending how long you have smoked. It is a stupid habit. Self-induced breathing problems can’t be much fun. There are number of smoking cessation programs and smoking cessation medications to help quit smoking. But cold turkey works as well as any of them.

man breaking apart a cigarette

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being obese will take 8 to 9 years of your life. Keep your weight down early in life because once you put in on it becomes increasingly difficulty to take if off as you age.

We have several articles on this site that discuss the concept of low glycemic eating, exercise, and the importance of healthy hormone levels all of which play a role in deterring whether we gain weight or lose it.

Avoid Processed Foods

Foods are healthier when eaten in their natural state. As much as possible avoid eating anything packaged in bag, box, can, or jar. Good luck! Such foods are processed some more than others. Don’t eat anything your great – grandmother would not recognize as food. Likely there were no Snickers, Pringles, or Twinkies in her days.

Shop the perimeter at the grocery store. Remember if you buy it, you are probably going to eat it. Don’t think you can willpower your way to avoid unhealthy foods once purchased.

If it flies in the air, swims in the water, falls from a tree, or grows from the ground it is likely healthy to eat.

healthy eating

Have an Active Sex Life

Here are the health benefits of sex.

  • Relief of stress and depression
  • Improved immunity
  • Burn calories
  • Improved heart health
  • Pain reduction
  • Reduce prostate cancer risk
  • Better sleep
  • Stronger pelvic floor muscles (leading to better bladder control)
  • Appetite control
  • Enhanced sense of smell and taste
  • More regular menstrual cycles
  • Improved sex drive (especially in women)
  • Improved confidence
  • Improved tissue healing
  • Lower risk of death

Most of those benefits will help reverse aging. A number of hormonal and physiological responses are triggered when having sex.

Men and women who have frequent sex have less cancer and death rates are 50% lower in men have orgasm twice a week compared to men who orgasm once a month. That’s pretty effective way to reverse aging.

Be a Master Sleeper

Believe it or not the day begins at night. Getting a good night’s sleep sets the pace for the remainder of the day. It’s hard to get the most of the day if you start tired or not well rested.

There are many causes of poor sleep found below. Take inventory and see if you are guilty of any of them.

  • Personal habits
  • Watching TV late at night
  • Working on the computer late at night
  • Late night socializing
  • Shift work that leads to poor sleep patterns
  • Deadlines at work that cause you to work late at night
  • Excessive worrying prior to bedtime
  • Alcohol consumption prior to bedtime
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Caffeine or nicotine usage several hours prior to rest

Connect and Socialize

People who live long tend to be very social. They like being around and engaging with others.

how to reverse aging

The people of Roseto, Pennsylvania illustrates the importance of social connection and health and longevity. In the 1950’s it was recognized that few people in Roseto died of heart attacks – an epidemic in those days. Roseto is a community settled by Italian immigrants who had extended families and lived in a close-knit community.

The population of Roseto had a 35% lower rate of mortality as the general US population. Heart attacks were virtually nonexistent in Roseto men under age 55 and in men over 65 the rate of heart attacks was one half that for men in Roseto compared to the rest of the US population.  

Yet, their health habits were far from ideal. Their Italians meals were cooked with lard rather than healthier olive oil. Forty-one percent of their calories came from fat. Rosetans were heavy smokers with many overweight. Roseto was not a community of exercisers, either.

Then why so few heart attacks? Would they have even fewer heart attacks if they lived a cleaner lifestyle?

Many Rosetan households contain three generations and most individuals belonged to social clubs. In the town of 2,000 people were 22 civic clubs/organization. The elderly were treated with respect and treated as sages. Crime was minimal in Roseto. Researchers finally concluded the Rosetans created a protective social structure that provided great health benefits.

So connect with others, stay plugged in the real world. Plus, life is more enjoyable and worthwhile if you have others with whom you share the life experience.

Exercise and Stay Physically Active

We all should know the importance of exercise by now. Here a just a small list of benefits of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.

jump rope
  • Improved calorie burning.
  • Improved body composition.
  • Improved energy.
  • Improved neuromuscular function.
  • Improved sense of well-being.
  • Improve sexual function.
  • Improved stress managent.
  • Improved mental alertness.

These benefits reverse aging.

Keep Learning

I love learning new things. It makes life more enjoyable and improves one’s understanding of the world one lives in. Continuous learning will make you a more rounded person.

Every time you learn something new you create new neural connections in your brain. The more neural connections you have the more brain reserve you have.

This is important because as we age we lose some function in our brain cells, heart cells, liver cells, kidney cells, muscle cell, etc. Having brain reserve enables you to weather some of this decline and in some cases even reverse brain aging.

And, the new learning does not have to be mental. It can be physical. Strength training has been shown to improve memory in women.Dancing has been shown to improve cognitive function, too.

It is easy to learn new things. There are libraries. There is YouTube with many “how to” videos. Many universities offer free classes to individuals over age 60.

About 20 years ago I learned of the The Great Courses developed by The Teaching Company. There are at least 1,000 courses you can take including 224 just on history. Each course if offered at a 70% discount at some point each year.

The course are available in any format you can think of: DVD, CD, Digital Video, Digital Audio, and Transcript Book.

Take advantage of these learning options. It’s rather amazing that anything and everything known in the world is now at your finger tips. You just have make some effort.

Develop a Purpose

You need something to drive you, that excites you, that is important to you, something that is bigger than you, something that will make you sacrifice of yourself to see it come to pass.

Now the purpose can change at every stage of life, but have a purpose. Purpose keeps us living longer in better health. We have all heard of people who wanted to live to see something take place, and when that something takes place, they die nearly the next day.

Having purpose will set direction to your life. It becomes a guiding light shaping your decisions and actions. Having a strong purpose can offset some bad lifestyle habits you may have developed, too.

So what is your purpose?

How to reverse aging? Follow these 10 strategies!

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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