Can You Slow Down The Aging Process?

Paying attention to the aging process is another essential factor in maintaining good health.

body builder bob delmontequeDon't accept poor health and decrepitude as an inevitable aspect of growing older. There are people from every walk of life who defy the aging process and show us what's possible if you make the commitment.

84-year old bodybuilder Bob Delmonteque is a wonderful example of what people can achieve if they have the motivation, backed up by the right tools.

So what is the aging process?

No one really understands the aging process but there are a number of theories that have been proposed over the years. Here are a few of them:

  1. The Free Radical Theory
    Cell respiration, the process in which cells take in nutrients and discharge waste, results in the creation of unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. These molecules have an additional electron and bounce around the cells looking for other molecules to bond with, damaging DNA and the cell structure. This damage eventually results in aging.

    Nutritionists advise ingesting nutrients known as antioxidants, which neutralize and dispose of free radicals.

  2. The Caramelization Theory
    As the body metabolizes sugars, glucose can bond with proteins to create a sticky web-like substance that can block arteries, stiffen joints and cloud tissue, including the brain. This process is called glycosylation or caramelization.

  3. The Genetic Hourglass Theory
    In 1961, anatomist Leonard Hayflick discovered that fetal cells in a petri dish divided roughly 100 times, then began a deterioration similar to the aging process. Cells from a 70-year-old divided only 20-30 times before stopping. This suggests an internal biological clock that programs our lifespan. Scientists are exploring methods to manipulate this time-keeping gene to prolong lives.

  4. The Restricted Calorie Theory
    Studies with rats on a calorie-restricted diet have documented a prolonged lifespan of 30%-40%. Translating this into human terms, if you cut back from an average caloric intake of 2,000 calories a day to 1,400, you could theoretically extend your life by 30 years. Some nutritionists suggest cutting down on calories but not on bulk. Whether this is a feasible solution has yet to be proven.

  5. The Telomere Theory
    Telomeres are DNA sequences that sit at the tip of your chromosomes. With every cell division the telomeres of the new cells get shorter. After the 100th division, they are reduced to nubs and the cell can no longer reproduce. There is currently no proof that extending the telomeres would in fact extend life.
While the research is promising, it has yet to yield any specific solutions for modifying the way we age. So we are still left with the eternal question:

Can you slow down the aging process?

In the 1980s and 1990s, several substances were promoted as antidotes to aging. Human Growth Hormone (HGH), DHEA and melatonin were all hailed as breakthroughs in the search for the fountain of youth. But subsequent studies have questioned the effectiveness of these supplements so it's safest to consult your health professional before considering these kinds of products.

Instead, health experts suggest some simple changes that, even if they don't actually extend life, will at least improve its quality:
  1. Eat lots of fresh foods and vegetables, preferably locally and organically grown.
  2. Take a daily multivitamin/antioxidant formula.
  3. Take a daily mineral supplement.
  4. Drink 6-8 glasses of pure water daily.

  5. Do stretching and aerobic exercises 2-3 times a week.
  6. Make sure your body stays in alignment for optimal functioning.

  7. If you smoke, stop.
  8. Keep your alcohol consumption at moderate levels (1-2 glasses wine a day).
  9. Wear sunscreen whenever you go outdoors.

  10. Get more organized to maximize your effectiveness and lessen your daily stress.
  11. Make sure you schedule breaks for relaxation and recreation.
  12. Spend some time outdoors each week.
  13. Laugh every day.
  14. Spend time nurturing your relationships.
  15. Keep your mind active. Never stop learning and taking on new mental challenges.

    It's important that you consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any new dietary or exercise regimen.

    Gathering information online is fine for research purposes, but you need a real live professional to monitor your progress if you attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Unless you're a health professional yourself, you aren't equipped to objectively observe your body's responses to a new diet or exercise program. So whatever your chosen course of action, please be sure you enlist the support of a qualified professional.

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