Boost Longevity and Reduce The Signs Of Ageing
While you may be able to hack wrapping a gift, staining a deck or packing your suitcase for a vacation, you can't hack the movement of time.
It's inevitable fact of life that we all get older.
But ageing is not a bad thing.
With the benefit of experience, we become more wise, armed with greater knowledgeable about ourselves and able to pay more attention to the things that matter most.
Wisdom also teaches us that there are no shortcuts when it comes to wellness.
And that there are things that work and don't work.
The best ways to reduce the physical impact of ageing (and improve longevity) aren't actually hacks at all.
They're time-tested principles embraced by some of the longest lived cultures on earth.
And by embracing these principles on a consistent basis, we too can benefit from longer, healthier and ultimately more fulfilling lives.
1. Intermittent Fasting
More and more studies today are proving what long lived cultures have known for centuries.
Two of the biggest keys to slowing the impact of ageing are:
- Caloric Restriction and;
- Cycled Fasting.
When you fast, your body recycles cells and mops up free-radical damage, meaning your entire system constantly renews itself.
Fasting also causes your body to produce human growth hormone, which is a vital piece to the anti-ageing puzzle because it allows your body to maintain muscle mass and keep your skin firm.
The 16/8 protocol is a great way to begin with Intermittent Fasting.
Basically, this means that you refrain from eating for 16 hours in a 24 hour period so that you are in a 'fasted' state during this time, leaving 8 hours remaining which is essentially your 'meal consumption' window.
Example: Make your first meal of the day at 10am and your last at 6pm.
Break-your-fast (Breakfast) at 10am with something light e.g. fresh fruit or a smoothie, then have your denser foods at lunch or dinner time a few hours later. Be sure to incorporate lots of leafy greens at your lunch and/or evening meal.
2. Regular Exercise
Our bodies are meant to move.
And the number one form of movement we're designed to do is WALK.
Every single day, you should walk for at least 30-45 minutes as a base. In fact many studies have shown, that this daily activity alone can add up to 18 years to your life.
When we say walking, it means getting outside and moving your body through space, not standing on a treadmill in an air conditioned room.
When you walk outside, the senses are involved and you're breathing clean, electrified air which amplifies the benefits of walking. It's best to walk first thing in the morning, soon after you rise if you can, because it helps to support and stimulate the digestive cycle which is naturally occurring at this time of the day.
One you have your walking routine down pat, if you want to step things up to another level you, you can then add other layers of low impact exercise to your routine which will further support anti-ageing.
You probably already know that resistance training helps to build and maintain strength and a leaner, stronger, more agile body, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Resistance training increases collagen production.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and makes up skin, hair, muscles, tendons, ligaments and other tissues. As we age, our collagen levels naturally decline, but by working out three times a week, you can positively encourage fibroblast cells to produce more collagen.
Again, training with weights as little as two times a week can also boost your body's production of human growth hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain.
Studies indicate that this hormone can assist cell repair and regeneration. So, your cells in your body will be younger and healthier--if you train with resistance.
Resistance training also increases bone density, a critical factor in the ageing process.
Your bone mass declines with age.
However, picking up weights two times a week can help you preserve (and gain back) more of your precious bone mass. This will result in stronger bones and a reduced likelihood of injury.
You don't have to over do it.
Pick weights that allow you to perform a full range of motion for 10-15 repetitions, whilst placing light stress on the muscle groups you're working.
And it doesn't have to be a long, drawn out affair.
You can have a big impact on your body shape by doing just 20-30 minutes of resistance training, working quickly between sets, concentrating just on the major muscle groups - legs, chest, back and shoulders - and doing this 2-3 times per week consistently.
Getting your heart rate pumping just to the point of a light sweat, will help deliver more skin-rejuvenating nutrients to every cell in your body--including your skin.
You don’t need to know your exact heart rate, but, if you’re doing cardio right, you will find it difficult to finish a sentence.
Strive to do some form of Cardio exercise at least three times a week for at least 20 consecutive minutes for optimal results. Try brisk walking that incorporates some moderate hills or inclines, lap swimming, hot yoga, interval training, or RPM cycling classes etc.
3. Get Enough Sleep
The ancient wisdom was that, we as humans, are meant to get 8 hours sleep per night to promote optimum health and longevity.
When you go to bed, turn off the TV and stop scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. The light from these devices impairs the release of the hormone melatonin which is vital for uninterrupted sleep.
When you sleep your body rejuvenates on a cellular level, resulting in healthier and more robust overall vitality. People who experience chronic lack of sleep or poor sleep patterns can look as much as 10 years older than their actual age.
What's more, chronic lack of sleep has also been linked with serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory disorders, anxiety and depression.
Make getting a good night's rest a priority.
Practice proper sleep hygiene by keeping your phone out of the bedroom.
Turn off the air conditioning, open the windows slightly so that fresh air can circulate and use a ceiling fan or box fan to keep the air electrified when you sleep.
Tip: If you have trouble sleeping, try rubbing a few drops of dōTERRA Lavender Essential Oil to the balls of your feet, on your pillow and/or diffuse next to your bed to support restful night's sleep.
Learn more: How to Sleep Better With Essential Oils.
4. Add more Plants to your diet
It goes without saying that you should avoid or limit all processed and refined sugars and grains from your diet as well as fried and fatty foods.
Try to make your diet as close to 80% fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds - the other 20%, denser foods like whole grains and legumes. If you eat meat, ensure that this is incorporated only within the 20% allotment.
Focus on consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables from ALL colours of the rainbow which are available from nature's table.
Spinach, blueberries, red bell pepper, avocado, broccoli, papaya, kale, strawberries, watercress, grapes and sweet potatoes are among the best foods to ward off the hands of time.
These foods also feed 'good' bacteria on your gut. Gut health and wrinkles are more closely linked than you might realise, with your gut acting as your second brain. When your gut health suffers, it affects every other cell in your body--including your skin.
The bottomline: eat an abundance of whole foods to delay the signs of ageing and improve longevity.
5. Drink More Water
Our bodies are roughly 65% water, so it makes sense that when we’re dehydrated, our cells suffer.
In fact, being dehydrated can instantly make you look older and depleted. Beyond just appearances, dehydration affects cell function and can lead to cellular death.
Adequate water consumption will also ensure your body properly eliminates toxins, and promotes good gut health.
Ideally, you should aim to consume 1 litre per 22 kilos of body weight. At an absolute minimum, you should be drinking the weight of your brain - approximately 2 litres - every single day.
Learn more: Water: Nature’s Best & Why It’s Critical to Life.
6. Limit Alcohol Consumption
The regular consumption of alcohol can age you.
First and foremost this is because it causes dehydration, but also because at its root, alcohol is a toxin that can create cellular death and damage to DNA.
Some long lived cultures do consume alcohol in the form of organic wines and even naturally brewed and fermented beers. However, if you're going to consume these beverages, know your source and ensure that they're chemical additive and preservative-free.
7. Get Regular Sunshine
The sun is essential to our health and survival.
Without the sun, there would be no life on earth. In addition to promoting feelings of happiness, sunshine provides our bodies with crucial vitamin D--a vitamin that bolsters heart health, mood and cellular health, among other benefits.
Learn more: 7 Key Reasons Why You Need Sunlight.
Problems arise with over exposure to sunlight, when you have a heavily processed diet that is devoid of vital nutrients that provides natural protection for your skin.
The key is to use common sense. Don't burn yourself. Instead, gradually work your way up to a tolerance level where you won't burn.
Additionally, it's wise to avoid over exposure during the sun’s peak hours (between 10am and 2pm), particularly during tropical climates in summer.
These natural ways to delay the effects of ageing and improve longevity are simple.
But the secret is to practice them often and to stay at a level you can stay consistent with.
It's never too late to start. It doesn't matter if you've spent decades neglecting your health: start making these changes now, and you can enjoy a longer, healthier life.
Tolman Self Care.