How can I slow down aging?

Eric Olsen

Anything we can do to reduce the number of free radicals produced in our bodies or consumed in our food and air, or anything we can do to enhance the body's natural repair systems, should, in theory, slow aging. These repair systems can be strengthened and aided through changes in health habits.

  • Exercise: Exercise may combat the effects of free radicals by stimulating the body to produce more natural antioxidants.
  • Stress reduction - The stress-reducing effects of exercise and meditation may also help reduce the harmful effects of free radicals. Japanese researchers have found oxidative damage to DNA produced by psychological stress.
  • A smokeless lifestyle: Each puff of a cigarette contains billions of free radicals, and so does each inhalation of second-hand smoke.
  • Vitamin supplementation - Vitamins C, E, and beta carotene may also help. These vitamins act as antioxidants and "scavenge" free radicals.
  • Diet: Some research suggests that caloric restriction -- what researchers somewhat euphemistically call "controlled undernutrition" -- may also slow the ravaging of free radicals. Cutting caloric intake to 60 percent of normal (but not nutritional intake) seems to increase longevity by as much as 50 percent, at least in lab animals.
  • Turn down the heat: Along the same lines as controlled undernutrition, research with fruit flies and fish suggests that living in a cold environment may promote longevity, perhaps by slowing the rate at which free radicals introduce "noise" or mistakes into the cell's DNA-based information system. Attempts to reproduce the effect in the lab haven't been as successful, however. And the relevance of findings involving fruit flies and fish to humans is an open question. 
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

More About this Book

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...
Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine
A great way to slow down the aging process is to eat healthy. This means no fast food, but consuming foods high in nutrients such as antioxidants. Furthermore, an exercise regime that is consistent and holistic. Meaning cardio, stretching, weight training etc. A little of everything is a great way to get the blood pumping. Also, engaging the mind in challenging activities such as puzzles, games, reading, or perhaps even just trying a new hobby. Lastly, I can never emphasize enough how important it is to live in a healthy positive environment with low levels of stressors.
Ariel & Shya Kane

We propose the idea that "old" is a state of mind. One way to slow down aging and feel younger is to not hold yourself as old. When we are young, the newness of the world and the first experiences we have with life are exciting and fresh. As we age, we absorb ideas such as turning 50 means you are "over the hill" and that being a responsible adult doesn't include expressions of boisterous enthusiasm for life that we let ourselves experience in our youth. However, when you are simply living your life and not judging yourself for the way you are, you are not defined by your age, or anything else.

In our award-winning book, "Working On Yourself Doesn't Work: The 3 Simple Ideas that will Instantaneously Transform Your Life," we discuss approaching your life with awareness. We define awareness as a non-judgmental seeing of what is. So rather than judging ourselves through the framework of age and how we 'should' be at a certain age, we suggest taking an anthropological approach, where you observe your thoughts, actions and feelings neutrally, without judgment, as if you are studying a culture of one: yourself. In this framework, you discover the being that you are, rather than the age. You discover that you are not your story or your thoughts.

Another way to slow the aging process - and that will maintain your enthusiasm and vitality regardless of your age - is having fun! As people are living longer these days (in a recent study, the life expectancy for babies born in the United States in 2006 hit a new record of 78 years), the ability to actually enjoy your life is key. In these complex times it's easy to forget to have fun in your life and many people may even feel it's irresponsible to have fun in such times. However, humor and laughter not only relieve stress and worry, they are anti-aging facilitators that support physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.