Reverse Aging – How To Change Your Biological Age
When you think of Getting Older, what do you think of? . . . Gray hair, wrinkles, belly fat, flabby muscles, loss of energy and vitality, dementia?
It is true; these are often symptoms we see as we age, but it does not have to be that way . . . You can reverse aging!
For most of these symptoms, recent research indicates the opposite is true.
The old adage of Use it or lose it really applies as you age. Your body’s gradual decline is NOT a result of chronological age (i.e., the number of years you have under your belt), but instead these symptoms most often come from inactivity and poor nutrition.
In fact, no matter what your current health situation is, regular exercise and better food choices can help reverse aging . . . actually lowering your biological age (i.e., the effective age and condition of your body).
For example, sarcopenia is debilitating disease where your muscles atrophe at a typical rate of about 10% per decade starting around age 25 or 30. You will actually have fewer muscle fibers making the typical elderly person frail. But I have more muscle mass now than I have ever had before, and I am over age 50. I am also still in the martial arts, can do full splits, and my punches and kicks are at least as fast as anyone else in the school and faster than most. Why? Because I keep exercising . . . I have stayed active in martial arts all my life . . . And I was never the High School Jock or Athlete; I just never stopped stretching and exercising.
You can do the same . . . even if you have not “exercised” in decades. In fact, the less exercise you have been doing, the more you will benefit from even very moderate exercise. So start moving now!
No matter how much exercise you have been doing, do more. Add some resistance training (e.g., push ups and other bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, or Yoga) to build muscle mass (which has the added benefit of burning more calories even when you are sitting around watching TV) to reverse aging. Also add in some cardiovascular exercise (running, walking, bike riding, even vigorously cleaning house) to develop your heart, lungs, and endurance.
You will see reduced body fat, more muscle mass, potential strength increase of 200% to 300%, better aerobic capacity (i.e., less getting out of breath), and reduced risk of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, and other so-called age-related diseases.
Can you really avoid degenerative diseases like macular degeneration? . . . In other words, age-related decline in the quality of your vision.
Think about it this way, every tissue in your body is fed and nourished by your blood. Every cell gets oxygen and nutrients from your blood, and your blood helps carry away waste products and toxins. So, if you exercise, what is the first thing you notice? . . . You get out of breath, flushed, and start huffing and puffing, right? . . . Well, that’s because the muscles need that blood for the oxygen (which converts to energy for your cells) and to flush away waste. So, if you exercise, you are feeding and cleaning your cells. The better fed and the less waste in your cells, the healthier they will be. Thus, they last longer in a more youthful state. So it seems logical you could even delay the onset of macular degeneration . . . and most other forms of age-related degenerative diseases.
Of course, even though exercise is close to being the only panacea, it is not the whole story.
You also need quality nutrition and clean water . . . especially if you want to reverse aging and lower your biological age. The nutrition from your food choices forms the building blocks for your cells and water is the carrier for your blood and flushing wastes and toxins. Nutrition is especially key for avoiding dementia and keeping your brain young and healthy. So you need to eat well and get plenty of clean water. Want to know just how important water is? Read this by Dr. Batmanghelidg.
So Just How Old Are You Anyway?
From a biological age perspective, here are 10 key “Biomarkers” that indicate your real age including what you can do to improve your current condition:
1. Muscle Mass:
Most Americans lose about 7 pounds of lean body mass per decade, and that rate gets faster once you reach age 45. As you lose muscle mass, you lose strength, resilience, balance, aerobic capacity, and your metabolism slows down (which tends to increase body fat). Furthermore, you increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
However, if you simply stay (or become again) physically active, you will lose very little muscle tissue. In fact, I am living proof, you can actually increase muscle mass as you age. All it takes to maintain your muscle mass is 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 2 or 3 times per week. You will need resistance exercise to increase muscle mass. You can still get that through aerobic exercise if you turn up the resistance . . . for example, incorporate going uphill on your bike, walks, or runs. That will not help your upper body so much, however. So add in some pushups or lifting; here is a free guide to help you get started.
As already mentioned, the average American will lose about 30% of his muscle mass from age 20 to 70 including many fast-twitch muscle cells for sprinting and high-exertion exercises. This is what leads to sarcopenia which eventually makes living independently no longer an option. Again, you counter this and reverse aging with resistance exercise.
Do squats while holding light weights or go biking in hilly areas for your legs. Hold on to some weights while you squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and do enough repetitions so your muscles feel pumped or fatiqued. This will help you keep your mobility through the decades. Also, do some dumb bell curls, pushups, or other lifting with your arms and shoulders to keep your upper-body strength.
3. Metabolic Rate:
As your muscles atrophy, your metabolism will decline as well. And your high metabolism is what keeps body fat down to reasonable levels. If you let your muscle mass decline, you need to eat less and eat smarter to avoid gaining body fat. Starting around age 20, the average person’s metabolic rate drops 2% per decade. So a typical 70-year old needs 500 calories less per day than a 25-year old. You need to eat properly, consume fewer calories, and increase muscle mass to lower your effective age.
4. Body-Fat Percentage:
As you age, you tend to accumulate more body fat. This is primarily a result of the factors above, but also results from less activity, poor eating habits, and chemical changes such as with menopause. The average 25-year old woman is 25% body fat, but the average 65-year old woman is 45% body fat. Men are typically 18% body fat at age 25 and 38% at age 65.
This is a problem because it makes you look and feel older, actually ages your body tissues, and leads to chronic disease and earlier death. Follow the guidelines above for increasing muscle mass, eat smarter, and you can lessen your body-fat, risk profile, feel better, look better, and even have a healthier brain. Here is a really good program made specifically for women.
5. Aerobic Capacity:
Doctors typically measure your body’s ability to process oxygen during exercise. The higher your aerobic capacity, the faster oxygen courses through your body feeding and cleaning your cells. Aerobic capacity also tends to decline as we age. A typical 65-year old has 30 to 40% lower aerobic capacity than young adults. Fortunately, you can maintain (and actually increase) your aerobic capacity with simple aerobic exercise. See how exercise is almost the perfect cure-all?
6. Blood-Sugar Tolerance:
As most people age, their ability to metabolize blood sugar (glucose) declines. There are 3 types of sugar: simple sugars (a.k.a., monosaccharides, which are non-sweet sugars like the glucose in sports drinks), sweet sugars (a.k.a., disaccharides, which include table sugar and fruit sugar), and starches (polysaccharides, which a non-sweet starchy foods like potatoes, bread, pasta, etc.).
But all 3 types break down in your digestion process to form simple sugar in your blood stream. And as we age, we process these simple sugars less efficiently. The inability to properly handle blood sugar is the disease known as diabetes. Diabetes causes the break down of cells, nerves, and your renal system (i.e., your kidneys) which leads to blindness, loss of toes and finger tips, and worse. By age 70, 20% of men and 30% of women are at risk of diabetes, and this is even worse for sedentary, overweight people.
The good news is you can prevent diabetes with a high-fiber diet that limits total calories combined with regular exercise, and that exercise needs to include strength-building resistance and cardiovascular-developing aerobic exercise. Are you seeing a pattern here? . . . If you already have Type 2 diabetes, you need to know that losing weight helps, but it is not enough. At the same time, diabetes is not a life sentence either; type 2 diabetes can be reversed. My mother had it and eventually moved into a nursing home; then she eventually did not have it any more. She stopped taking Glyberide (one of the most popular prescriptions for diabetes) and she did not have to maintain a strict diet.
7. Cholesterol Ratio:
You probably have already heard high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease primarily because it clogs and stiffens your arteries which limits the free flow of blood to your cells and makes your heart work harder. It is kind of like this . . . your cells scream to your heart to send more blood, but the arteries limit the blood getting to your cells, so they scream louder making the heart work harder. But eventually, the heart is working so hard, it just simply breaks down and you have a heart attack.
But total cholesterol is not the whole story. The ratio of your total cholesterol to the good cholesterol (HDL) is even more important. You want this ratio to be 4.5 or less. If your total cholesterol is 200 and your HDL is 50, your ratio is 200/50 which is 4.0. To lower this ratio, you need to stop smoking, lose weight (i.e., lose body fat), reduce your consumption of fatty foods, and exercise regularly. The bonus is regular exercise also boosts HDL rather than just lowering total cholesterol.This is one of the key steps to reverse aging from the inside.
8. Blood Pressure:
In many parts of the world, blood pressure does not change as people age. In the U.S. and many other developed countries, however, that is not the case. In these areas where obesity and sedentary life become the norm as we age, blood pressure tends to rise on average with age. The ideal pressure is 120/80.
To keep your blood pressure in check, stay (or get) slim, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, and limit your intake of fat, salt, and alcohol. If this doesn’t work for you, medication will be necessary.
9. Bone Density:
For most people, bone structure and density decreases with age and becomes more brittle. In severe cases, osteoporosis occurs. And contrary to popular belief, milk and/or calcium supplements are not enough. you need Magnesium and Calcium taken together as well as weight-bearing exercise such as lifting, biking, running, and walking. While swimming is excellent for you, it will not help you much for bone density, because it is not weight-bearing. You need exercise that relies on the compression strength of your bones. In other words, it tends to push through the length of the bone and to a degree, stresses the flexion strength (tendency to bend) of the bones.
10. Temperature Regulation:
Your ability to maintain a consistent body temperature tends to lessen as we age. This is in part due to a decline in the ability to shiver (which raises your body temperature) and to sweat (which lowers your body temperature). What do you think the best preventative/remedy is for this? . . . That’s right; aerobic exercise. Regular aerobics maintain your ability to quickly sweat when you need it, and it increases your total blood volume so you are less likely to overheat in hot weather.
While there are certainly lots of great products available to make you look younger, more vibrant, and healthier in the short term, the formula above is the secret to truly reverse aging (or at least maintaining a younger biological age). The formula is simple . . . eat a proper diet, drink lots of clean water, and exercise regularly including both resistance exercise and aerobic exercise. The fourth (somewhat less important) factor is to reduce or limit your stress levels. These are the things that will keep you younger longer . . . looking and feeling better and actually being healthier longer.
In case you want to know more
Bodyweight Fundamentals (free pdf download; click to read or right-click to download)
Get Adobe Reader free here to read PDF files (be sure to un-click the McAfee offer if you do not want it installed on your computer).
Now you know how to reverse aging, all you have to do is get started!