Aging is scary and nobody enjoys it, but it is a reality. Our bodies change in a multitude of different ways as we age. The physical changes such as graying hair and wrinkles are not the only bothering us, there are also the health problems getting old brings along: decreased bone mass, decreased metabolic rate, reduced functioning in all our organs, etc.
We all know that aging is inevitable, but there are things we could do to slow the process and to remain physically and mentally as fit as possible. It all depends on our lifestyle and how much are we willing to change it in order to keep our health.
It is said that age is just a number, but it can affect important aspects of our lives, such as driving, voting and retirement. It is also true that we are as old as we feel, so we must do anything we can to keep that young feeling alive. More accurately, you’re only as old as your health. Turns out your heart health is the best predictor of longevity.
Is biological age your real age?
Chronological age is the amount of time you’ve been alive. Biological age — sometimes called real age or physiological age — considers lifestyle factors and other health markers to better assess the miles on your body. But how exactly do we measure the age?
Did you know there are online age calculators that evaluate your health and fitness levels, asking questions about lifestyle habits and BMI to determine your real age? But such formulas aren’t worth much, according to Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics and a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Instead, he says the heart is the one that reveals the right age.
He affirms: “The calcification of coronary arteries is the best and most consistent way to measure physiological age,”. He explains that coronary calcification increases with age, so being above or below the expected calcification levels results in your heart being older or younger than your chronological age. For example: If a 65-year-old has the expected coronary calcification of a 55-year-old, it’s reasonable to say their physiological age is 10 years less than their chronological age.
Fortunately, your lifestyle plays a significant role in how your heart ages and you can always change your lifestyle if you have unhealthy habits.
How can we influence the way we age?
- Eat healthy to keep your weight under control. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for your body.
- Exercise as often as you can. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
- Take the supplements prescribed by the doctor. It is recommended you do blood tests and see if you have mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
- Do not smoke
- Do not drink too much alcohol.
- Keep your stress level under control.
- Get a regular physical exam.
Everyone is going through the aging process, but what is most important is the way we age. We must try to maintain ourselves as healthier as possible. Remember to protect your heart.