Longevity is a growing field that uses research and innovation to help people live longer, healthier lives. While average life expectancy has increased over the past few centuries to around 80 years, living for longer in good health has been left to catch up. However, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help longevity take effect sooner.
Exercising for longevity
As we get older, aging reduces muscle mass and causes our bones to weaken. This can lead to sarcopenia, a musculoskeletal condition that impairs mobility, frailty and can lead to fall-related injuries, all negatively impacting quality of life. One way to prevent this is through regular exercise. As well as protecting heart health and preventing numerous age-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer, strength-based exercises can be used to maintain our physical fitness as we get older. The CDC recommends combining two sessions of strength resistance training along with moderate or vigorous intensity exercise to make up the 150 minutes of exercise per week. Weight training has a rather unfair reputation of being reserved only for weightlifters and body builders but is in fact accessible to everyone. Repeat exercises targeting different muscle groups using either small hand weights, resistance bands or even just your own body weight. As with all exercise, weight training requires consistency and routine to truly impact health and longevity. Its benefits to health are worthwhile; regular physical activity can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 30% and extend lifespan by 0.4-6.9 years! .
The antiaging effects of autophagy
Another inevitable aspect of aging is that our bodies collect molecular and cellular damage over time. Known collectively as the hallmarks of aging, this damage can present in the form of physical aging as well as increased risk of age-related disease. One solution to this is autophagy, a cellular process that may be key to antiaging through its ability to limit inflammation and oxidative stress. Autophagy occurs normally within cells and is the process by which cells reuse their old and damaged organelles to renew. It can also be accelerated by caloric restriction, as autophagy regulates metabolism and balances available nutrients during times of stress. Therefore, fasting, of which there are several types, is thought to be an effective antiaging strategy for inducing autophagy. Longer fasts of more than 48 hours effect the TOR kinase pathway, triggering autophagy and cell rejuvenation.
Fasting is not for everyone and there are many practical implications involved when trying to complete 48-hour fasts. An easier alternative is taking caloric restriction mimetics (CRMs) like spermidine supplements that, as the abbreviation suggests, mimic the effects of fasting in the body, tricking it into inducing autophagy. Considering that spermidine is found naturally in the human body and in whole foods, supplements combine high efficacy with zero toxicity. Taking longevity supplements like spermidine from today is an easy and accessible way to safeguard longevity alongside a healthy lifestyle.
Sleep and longevity
In the busy modern world, combing work, socialising and household chores can push getting a good nights sleep to the lower end of your to-do list. However, research has shown the rejuvenating power of a good nights sleep for health and longevity, so it should be prioritised every night. Sleeping is controlled by the circadian rhythm, our natural 24-hour hormonal cycle that responds to light and darkness. Ignoring the natural indicators of tiredness when prompted by our circadian rhythm can be detrimental to health. For example, getting less than seven hours of sleep every night (a bad habit common to a third of Americans) can hasten epigenetic aging as well as increase the risk of innumerable chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, mood disorders and possibly Alzheimer’s. Luckily, we can control our sleep habits and getting a good night’s sleep tonight can protect against disease.
DNA and NAD
NAD+ is a molecule found in every human cell. It acts as fuel for cells and is responsible for more than 400 cellular processes. One of these processes is transporting electrons between molecules, part of an essential metabolic reaction that generates energy. Our bodies need energy for everything we do, from growth and repair, to performing exercise. Unfortunately, as we age, our NAD+ levels deplete and by the age of 50 your body will contain half of the NAD+ levels it had when you were 20. This accelerates aging and can increase the risk of age-related diseases like neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Luckily, a solution in the form of NAD+ longevity supplements is available, and NAD+ supplements and boosters are among the most popular supplements out there. Regularly taking the precursor to NAD+ known as NMN has numerous health benefits including better sleep, faster exercise recovery time and increased energy, which can all be impaired as we age.
Additional longevity supplements to consider are SIRT6 activators. SIRT6, known as the longevity gene, is an NAD dependent gene that cannot function without NAD. When this gene is active it boosts DNA repair, helping alleviate the damage caused by aging. This may play a part in prolonging health and lifespan. Taking supplements to activate SIRT6 along with NAD supplements can maximise their longevity benefits.
Counting your biological age
Every year, we celebrate getting another year older. While birthdays are special occasions to be celebrated, what is more important is your body’s biological age. While average life expectancy has improved over the last few centuries to around 80-years-old, it still widely varies from person to person. New biological testing kits can measure your biological age and test how much it varies from your numerical age. This can be beneficial to know as around 80% of aging is determined by the effect of lifestyle factors on genes, or epigenetics, with the remaining 20% due to genetics themselves.