Living longer has been an aim of research for thousands of years. As the concept of the scientific process emerged, people quickly utilized it as a means of trying to figure out the tricks to living a longer life. Science and modern medicine have greatly improved life expectancy and have allowed more and more people to cross the 100-year-old centenarian threshold. In fact, it is projected that by 2050, the number of centenarians may increase by as much as eightfold.
While life expectancy in the modern world is many times what it was in ancient civilizations, people still have the desire to squeeze every last bit of longevity out of their life. While humans are starting to push the upper bounds of what is biologically possible through the power of modern medicine, there are things that you can do to increase your chances of squeezing out some more time.
The best way to live longer is to start while you are young and create lifelong healthy habits. Below is a look at ways that you can increase your chances of living longer. By taking care and supporting your body and mind, you give your body the best shot at standing the test of time.
What causes aging?
To understand how to live longer, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to aging in the first place. Many people accept aging as a part of life and don’t put much else thought into it.
At a cellular level, aging is a process that is essentially the aggregate of small damages or inefficiencies that present themselves as what we see as signs of aging, such as decreased energy levels and wrinkles.
The process of aging involves a large number of different factors that contribute to physiological changes in the body. Body chemistry, biology, and the interaction of the body with the environment all have drastic factors on the body and how it changes over time. Below is a closer look at three causes of aging.
Environmental stressors are one of the most impactful parts of what contributes to aging. Stressors from the environment come from countless sources. UV radiation from the sun, exposure to carcinogenic substances, and even mental stress can all lead to accelerated aging and damage to the body.
There is no way to completely bar yourself from environmental stressors, but you can do your best to avoid them whenever possible. Common aging accelerators like smoking, excessive drinking, and extended unprotected UV exposure can effectively be minimized through lifestyle and making health-conscious decisions.
The cells within the human body are incredible with their ability to replicate and produce new cells on a daily basis. Some organs like the skin are continuously dividing and replacing older cells.
This constant replication is amazing, but it does also illustrate a shortcoming with eukaryotic DNA replication. In order for a cell to replicate, the genetic code needs to be copied and transferred to the daughter cell. The copying of the genetic code however is not perfect.
The best way to illustrate the replication shortcoming is to think of the DNA as an instruction manual for how to make a cell. The instruction manual is extremely detailed and has blank pages at the end. Every time the instruction manual is replicated, the new copy will have a page missing from the back of the book. Because of the blank pages, this does not affect the instructions, but with each successive copy, it comes closer and closer to impacting the actual instructions.
In the example above, the blank pages represent telomeres found within the DNA. Every round of replication contributes to the shortening of DNA, but thanks to telomeres it doesn’t impact the cells. While there is an enzyme known as telomerase that can extend the non-coding telomere sequence, over time DNA will shorten and can contribute to malfunction and aging of the body.
Decreased bodily efficiency
A more system-wide effect of aging is that the body can lose efficiency at performing certain tasks. Metabolism, bodily repair, and even immune response can decrease in their effectiveness as time tick by. An easily visible sign of the slowing of the body is in the skin’s ability to heal. When you are young, wounds heal quite quickly while as you get older you will tend to see wound healing become much longer.
While in certain instances decreased efficiency can be caused by a deficiency, the slowing of the body is a natural part of aging and is a large reason why it is important to live healthily while your body is young and capable. The capability to grow new muscle, bone, and learn complex ideas can diminish with advanced age and by working towards a healthy lifestyle while you are young you can reap the benefits of having more bone density and muscle mass when it would be much harder to develop at an older age.
Habits for living longer
The factors of aging above can certainly cause your body to age quicker and reduce your longevity, but there are actions you can take to give your body the best shot at living a longer life. Below are a few habits you could implement to try and live a healthier and longer life.
Regular physical activity
Regular physical activity contributes to your longevity by placing a healthy level of stress on your body’s bones, muscles, and cardiovascular system. Systems like the muscular system in the human body can experience atrophy when they are not utilized as much.
As you get older, it can be easy to experience decreased muscle mass, mobility, and proper functioning due to disuse. By staying active and getting physical activity on a routine basis you can better prepare your body for healthy aging and longer life.
Nutrition consists of the foods you eat and good quality nutrition is vital to a long life. One thing that puzzles most people is that a large portion of centenarians live in remote locations. While it can initially seem perplexing, when you consider their diet due to their location, it makes sense as to how they live such a long life. Many centenarians live in rural communities where they live off the land. In these areas, livestock is much harder to store after harvest, and many centenarians have a mostly vegetable diet.
While rural living off the land is common for centenarians, you don’t have to be a farmer to make good healthy food choices. Simply making sustainable diet changes to a mainly whole food vegetable-based diet will give your body a good source of quality nutrition that can keep it kicking for a few more years.
The centenarians of today were born in the 1920s and a lot has changed since then. One of the largest changes in the past 100 years is the science of nutrition and supplement research. One healthy habit that we are afforded today is the ability to take supplements to help aid our body’s nutrition.
While getting all the necessary nutrition from your diet is ideal, in some scenarios it simply isn’t possible to give your body the support it needs through diet alone. One example of this challenge is with CoQ10. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that helps support optimal mitochondrial functioning. Over time and with age, CoQ10 levels can decrease, and it is hard to re-establish CoQ10 levels even with standard CoQ10 supplements.
MitoQ was developed in response and allowed for more CoQ10 to reach the mitochondrial membrane where it is able to help support a more normalized cellular energy level. By slightly modifying the CoQ10 molecule, MitoQ was able to develop one of the most bioavailable CoQ10 supplements available.
Supplements like MitoQ that have a scientifically-backed pedigree are a large advantage that is afforded to people today. By supporting your body throughout your life through nutrition and supplements, we could see even more people crossing the centenarian threshold than ever before.
Good mental health
Solid mental wellbeing is another common thread amongst many centenarians. A large portion of those that live past 100 live a relatively stress-free life and have an unwavering positive spirit.
A great habit you can begin to help facilitate a sound mind is to take up the practice of mindfulness and meditation. The benefits of meditation are immense as it is a technique that can significantly help reduce anxiety and a scattered mind. The practice centers around being present in the moment and letting go of worry.
By practicing mediation on a regular basis, many people find that they have reduced feelings of anxiety and feel more content.
In summary, the journey of life is full of choices that you make on a daily basis. By making healthy lifestyle choices on a regular basis, you put your body in the best place to live a long life.
In today’s world, there are so many options for how to live a healthy life and by simply living the most healthful life you can, you give yourself the best shot at living a longer and fuller life.