7 Ways to Outlive Your Biogenetics
We all know there is no fountain of youth and that it is a combination of both our genetics and our lifestyle habits that determines our longevity. While many people rely on their family history to determine their lifespan, there are ways to outlive your biogenetics.
Read below for secrets to turning back the biological clock.
Defying the Genetic Odds
The scientific view of what determines a life span or how a person ages has swung back and forth. From eating right, exercising and getting good medical care to a person’s genetics; it’s hard to know whether nature or nurture plays a bigger role.
We do know, however, that a nutritious diet, positive health choices — such as not smoking — and regular exercise, all contribute to helping seniors feel younger and more energetic. Now, emerging research into longevity indicates that mental and social activity are just as critical as physical activity when it comes to healthy aging. In addition to genes, your hobbies, leisure activities, sleep habits and a rich social network are among the factors that correlate with living longer.
Life span is determined by such a complex mix of events, however, that there is no accurate predicting for individuals. But, some factors for lifespan include the following:
- Genetic predisposition
- Overall happiness
- Simple chance events, like a randomly occurring mutation in a gene cell that ultimately leads to cancer
7 Ways to Outlive Your Biogenetics
Older people can appear to be struck down for many reasons, or for what looks like almost no reason at all, just chance. Some elders may be more vulnerable than others and, obviously, the most fragile are likely to die first. However, some of the fragile continue to live on, while seemingly healthy people die suddenly.
While some diseases, such as early-onset Alzheimer’s and early-onset heart disease, are more linked to family histories, there is still no guarantee or predisposition that the individual will develop the disease. Studies show, in fact, that most do not get the disease they are predisposed to and, even if they get the disease, does not mean the person will die of it.
Furthermore, it has been shown that genetics account for less toward longevity than originally thought. For example, according to Scientific American:
“A person’s life span is thought to be largely determined by the combined effects of genetics and environmental factors. Twin studies, however, suggest genetics only account for approximately 10-30% of an individual’s chance of surviving to age 85.”
Because there are so many variables to lifespan, the best course of action to lead a long life is to lead a healthy and rewarding one. Here are seven ways lifestyle can help you outlive your genetics:
1. Eat Healthy
If your goal is to live to 100, eating a balanced, nutrient rich diet that is also the right portion for your weight is the smartest plan. Leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea as author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they are feeling only about 80% full. St. Louis University researchers also confirmed that eating less helps you age slower, as in a 2008 study they found that limiting calories lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism and speeds up the aging process.
The following foods have been linked to longevity, so they’re a few you might want to add to your pantry:
- Green Tea
- Olive Oil
- Whole Grains
2. Get Good Sleep
Sleep rejuvenates our body and mind, not to mention helps prevent harmful plaques forming on our brains that can contribute to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Studies have consistently shown that sleep deprivation or sleeping less than five hours a night can lead to major health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and even an increased risk for mortality.
Getting the right amount of sleep, in addition to uninterrupted ‘good sleep,’ is important. For most people, a healthy amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to doctors. Sleep studies have shown that those who get more sleep a night typically live longer. So make a good night’s sleep a priority, especially for your elderly loved ones!
3. Have a Rich Social Network
Visiting family and friends is one of the most important past-times for not only seniors as these ‘catch-ups’ help combat senior isolation; one of the leading causes of mental and physical decline. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with increased risk for depression, high blood pressure, mental decline, and more.
Having a rich social network not only helps to strengthen relationships and family and friend bonds, it’s also important for happiness. After all, humans are wired to interact and socialize, and they especially need these interactions as they age and, sometimes, lose spouses and social circles. One of the most important parts of life is about human interaction, emotional connections and having a reason to live. Many believe senior living can be better for isolated seniors as it can provide a rich social network.
4. Use Your Brain
Research has shown that adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers. Higher education has been linked to decreased risk of cognitive decline. Researchers theorize that well-educated people have better connected synapses in their brain, which also helps compensate for the havoc wreaked within the brain by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Critical thinking and crossword puzzles are also great ways to keep the brain fit.
Daily fitness is one of the best things we can do to increase our longevity as working out has positive effects on the heart, metabolism and mind. Even moderate exercise, such as a quick 30-minute walk each day, can lower a senior’s risk for heart disease. Exercise also makes us feel good by getting blood moving and releasing endorphins. Functional fitness is a great option for elderly loved ones who need some healthy movement.
6. Engage in Hobbies/Interests
Hobbies and interests make people happy and interested in life; which of course helps them live longer. Sense of happiness and purpose play a huge role in longevity. Whether it’s doing arts and crafts, caring for a pet, dancing, gardening, golfing or walking, having and engaging in hobbies is an excellent choice if you want to live into your autumn years.
7. Spend Less Than You Make
According to Huffington Post, the rich live longer than the majority of people. A few reasons the affluent may live longer is that they have access to better healthcare and often are less angry, sad or stressed. Generally, however, the best rule of thumb is to spend less than you make. You don’t need to be rich, just smart, according to Dr. Henry Lodge, MD, FACP, author of “Younger Next Year,” to reap the benefits of living within a budget.
Apparently location may influence longevity as there are places around the world where people live longer. Share any suggestions you may have to outlive your biogenetics, in the comments below.
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