How to slow down the ageing process naturally
These anti-ageing strategies tackle ageing at the cellular level, boosting your health no matter your age.
Ageing has less to do with the passing of time and the number of candles on your birthday cake, and more to do with your inner health. Those tell-tale surface signs of ageing that we’re all so aware of — fine lines around your eyes, changing hair colour, etc. — reveal important changes happening at a deeper, cellular level. And the good news is that you have the power to influence your cellular health, and thus influence the ageing process. Ageing doesn’t have to mean an inevitable decline in cognitive function, mental energy, or physical slowness. With the right lifestyle and nutrition changes outlined below, you can support your cellular health and experience improved mental clarity and higher levels of energy no matter your age right now.
How to not get old: Lifestyle and diet tips for healthy ageing
When it comes to ageing, one way scientists “measure” the health of your cells is by looking at the length of your telomeres (a type of DNA structure within your cell). As your telomeres shorten, your cells break down, which is why Stanford University says that lengthening and protecting your telomeres is like "turning back the internal clock" and reversing ageing.
Researchers have identified five key ways to lengthen your telomeres, and thus slow ageing.
1. Exercise for 20 minutes a day
Regular exercise improves telomere length, reduces disease and extends your lifespan, reports a study published in the Frontiers in Physiology journal.
While all forms of exercise are good for your health and cognitive function (for instance, resistance training changes your brain and improves cognitive function), it's actually endurance training that's ideal for slowing the ageing process.
Example endurance exercises include:
Swimming and aquatic exercise (especially helpful if you have joint pain that makes other forms of exercise difficult)
Your action plan: Aim for 20 minutes of cardio a day (walking your dog, or doing yardwork, also counts!).2. Exercise your brain, too (this builds neuroplasticity)
2. Exercise your brain, too (this builds neuroplasticity)
Cognitive decline is one of the markers for ageing. But ageing-related changes in your brain, such as hazy thinking or trouble remembering details, have nothing to do with the actual age of your brain’s neurons.
In fact, researchers have found that your brain can continue to adapt, learn, and strengthen its neural connections, even when you’re older! This process of constant growth and adaptation is known as neuroplasticity.
Many of the ageing-related brain health problems we see in older adults is due to a lack of neuroplasticity. The good news is that you can improve neuroplasticity through mental training exercises, which may actually thicken your brain structure and help to “strengthen” your brain!
Your action plan: Exercise your brain once a day to build neuroplasticity and guard against ageing-related brain health issues. Examples of popular mental training routines include:
Playing video games, which engages everything from your reaction time to your problem-solving skills
Learning a complex new skill (learning a new language is especially effective for building neuroplasticity)
Drawing, painting, and other forms of creating art
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3. Get more sleep
Getting enough sleep offers numerous benefits for your brain health and physical health:
Reduce your risks of numerous forms of disease, including cardiovascular disease
Reduce your risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease
Improve your overall longevity
Support a stronger immune system
Researchers now believe that healthy sleep habits may also be linked to improved ageing on the cellular level. Older adults who get enough sleep — ideally seven to eight hours a night — have longer telomeres.
Your action plan: Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. If you're having trouble catching those proverbial Zs, try:
Avoiding caffeine and strenuous exercise in the afternoon and evening.
Keeping your room dark and setting the thermostat to a cooler temperature.
Reserving your bed for only sleep and sex.
Keeping electronic screens (e.g., televisions, smartphones, tablets, etc.) out of the bedroom.
Practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath (Epsom salts, also known as magnesium sulfate, may promote relaxation and sleep due to magnesium’s relaxing properties).
The R.E.S.T technique is also great for improving your sleep.
4. Invest in your community
As The Beatles said, we all get by with a little help from our friends.
Our social relationships have a direct impact on our health, with researchers finding that someone who feels well-connected to his or her friends, family, and community may experience:
Lower disease risks.
Improved mental health, including lower rates of stress, anxiety, and depression.
A stronger immune system.
New research shows that this may all be due to the way that healthy attachment reduces stress, and thereby protects your telomeres.
Your action plan: Commit to supporting and investing in healthy social connections. This may include:
Find ways to connect more with those who inspire you, support you or encourage you. That may include reaching out to those in your faith community, those who share similar interests, or those in a similar life stage as you (e.g. a club for new parents, a support group for older singles, etc.).
Being intentional about staying in touch with friends and loved ones, even if it's at a distance during this global pandemic (e.g. a phone call, a handwritten letter, etc.).
Setting boundaries with toxic people or those who introduce stress and anxiety into your life.
5. Rethink your food and supplements
While all of the above strategies are effective for slowing the ageing process and protecting your long-term health at a cellular level, you can't outrun a bad diet. The energy and nutrients you provide your cells feeds (pun intended) either a healthy outcome or an unhealthy outcome.a
According to the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, specific foods that may improve telomere length include:
Legumes, such as beans, lentils and peas
Foods that may shorten your telomere length and expedite cellular damage and ageing are unfortunately very prevalent in the Western diet and include:
Your action plan: Focus on whole foods. Ideally, you should emphasise a plant-based diet as much as possible. And when it comes to ageing-related ingredients like alcohol and sugar, consider ways to either eliminate them or at least cut back on your intake.
Ageing starts within your cells
There are more than 300 theories of ageing, and the biological aspects of getting older are understandably quite complex. We won't get into all of the cellular mechanisms and biological processes, but it basically boils down to factors like:
The health of each individual cell.
The damage sustained to each cell due to disease, stress and oxidation (i.e, the free radicals your body is exposed to through poor diet, environmental toxins, etc).
The process of "replicative ageing," which refers to the limited times a cell can divide itself before it dies.
Essentially, the cells in your brain and body break down over time. Often, this is due to free radicals — unstable molecules that you’re exposed to from industrial chemicals, air pollutants, poor diet, etc. — that damage a cell, including the cell’s DNA and membrane. This process is referred to as oxidative stress.
After a certain point, your cells can no longer replicate, and this leads to diseases and signs of ageing.
Your anti-ageing mission is to give your body everything it needs for optimal cell health, and finding ways to protect your cells against all this ongoing stress and cellular damage.
Tackle ageing with the Smart Supplement
If you want to improve your focus, concentration and memory as you age, and also slow the ageing process at a cellular level, invest in the Heights Smart Supplement and get everything you need for improved cognition and anti-ageing. With the Smart Supplement, you'll experience:
Enhanced mental clarity
Omega 3 fatty acids (research links higher omega 3 intake with slower biological ageing rates)
Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin A, selenium and other potent antioxidants (antioxidants protect your cells from the ageing effects of free radicals, and are linked with extended telomere length)
Blueberry extract (the anthocyanins in blueberries have anti-ageing effects on your telomeres)
And much more!
Get the nutrients you need for better ageing and brain health with the Heights Smart Supplement. It offers the highest quality nutrients for better brain health, and supporting a healthier and more vibrant ageing process.