• July 2010 • Adventist Risk Management, Inc.
those things that make you most vulnerable to theeects o aging. Te cumulative eect o those nudges, thoughnot major rom a behavioral or even a biological perspective, canbe huge when it comes to increasing the length and quality o your lie.Past mistakes do not mean that they can't be reversed. Nomatter what kind o lie you’ve already led, aging is reversible: You can have a do-over i you want it. I you perorm a goodhabit or three years, the eect on your body is as i you’vedone it your entire lie. Even better, within three months o changing a behavior, you can start to measure a dierence inyour lie expectancy. While you may be able to rely on the talents, skills, andknowledge o medical proessionals to get you out o a medical jam, what you really want is to avoid it in the frst place.Restricting calories, increasing your strength, and getting quality sleep are three o nature’s best anti-aging medicines. ogetherthese activities control about 70 percent o how well you age.Te journal
has reported fndings o a large, highly controlled 20-year study at the University o Wisconsin.Monkeys that were ed calorie-restricted diets lived longer, hadless disease and ewer signs o aging. Te study noted thatreducing calorie intake slowed aging and signifcantly delayedthe onset o age-related problems such as cardiovascular disease,diabetes, cancer and brain atrophy in the monkeys.Research is fnding that calorie restriction, the mechanismthat slows aging, comes in the orm o a protein called sirtuin which inuences the way DNA is made and allows cell divisionto succeed more requently and rejuvenates our bodies with new stem cells. Another o nature’s best anti-aging medicines is increasingyour strength. We’ve all heard the “use it or lose it” mantra beore.I you let your body parts shrivel up and die, they will. Tereare two extremes: Use your muscles too much, and you suerrom wear and tear. Don’t use them enough, and you suer romdisuse atrophy. Te ideal is to fnd the middle ground, where youdo just the right amount to make your muscles strengthen andthrive–and not age.One result o strength training is increased physicalperormance. Muscles quite literally utilize energy to producemovement. Increasing your strength helps maintain leanmuscle mass; it also helps keep joints lubricated, reduces therisk or osteoporosis, and improves balance. Tose who don’tdo regular aerobic exercise are more prone to suer rom heartdisease and heart attacks, and have less ability to fght stress.Resistance training helps maintain lean muscle mass, whichdecreases as you age. We need to work our muscles, our brains,our bones, and virtually every other organ and system in ourbodies to make them stronger or longer. Another way to improve “real age” calculations includes sleep.It’s not as i we don’t love sleep. In act most o us all want moreo it. We can’t wait or it to start and hate to see it end. And we’renone too happy being interrupted in the middle o it. But thetruth is that most o us don’t get enough sleep, and that plays asignifcant role in our aging.People who sleep ewer than six hours a night have a 50percent increased risk o viral inections and an increased risk o heart disease and stroke. Lack o sleep is also associated withmental decline and overeating, which leads to major agingconditions. In today's society many people don't worry abouta chronic lack o sleep, even though it’s one o the major thingsthat makes us eel agitated and even old. Even though sleepdeprivation may seem like no big deal, it could be killing you.Remember “real age” can be improved by ocusing onthree general areas–caloric restriction, increasing strength, andquality sleep. Each o these are related when it comes to thecontributions they make to our health status. Te question is, will the contributions be positive or negative? Will they add to ortake away rom the bottom line? When you ocus on these threehealthy liestyle improvements and slowing your rate o aging,you can add serious years to your lie–and lie to your years.
Ellen Eldridge, manager of Health Benets Services for Adventist Risk Management,Inc. prepared this article..