Age is just a number. Or is it? Every year we celebrate our birthdays and see the numbers getting higher and higher. This is known as our chronological age since it is determined by the number of years a person has lived for.
The biological age, however, is based on a number of lifestyle factors and choices which have an aging effect on the body, regardless of the number of years we have lived for. It is therefore a representation of our health, how we look and feel and whether there are any lifestyle decisions we are making which may reduce our life expectancy. While determining our biological age may not be 100% accurate, it still provides us with a good indication on what healthier choices we could make so as to improve our standard of living and ultimately live a longer life.
MSV Life explains some of the factors which affect biological age. Smoking, for example, is extremely detrimental to health. The more you smoke, the greater the probability that you are older (in biological terms of course), not to mention the higher risk of developing lung or heart disease in the near future. What begins as a social habit among friends may soon turn into an addiction, and there is a long list of health complications which may result. By quitting smoking, you will start to regain a sense of taste and smell, meaning that you can enjoy food more, and hopefully this will leave you more eager to try out healthier options rather than opt for a cigarette to satisfy your cravings.
Sleep deprivation is another age-inducer. Your body is not a machine and needs a certain amount of sleep each day. The less sleep your body gets, the more rapidly it begins to age, since it doesn’t get enough rest to naturally repair and rejuvenate itself. It is ideal to sleep around eight hours per night, however, if your lifestyle makes you unable to do so, try to take a few naps in the afternoon so that you feel rested and full of energy.
Then there is stress and anxiety – the trendiest of all symptoms. Let’s admit it, we all feel a certain amount of stress at one point or another. However, long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and speed up the aging process. Exercise and meditation are good ways to relieve some stress. Do not be afraid to speak to professionals who could guide you towards a less stressful lifestyle.
Looking into your diet is a good way to start. The type of food you consume certainly has a great affect not only on the shape of your body but also on its health (a thin person is not necessarily healthy if he/she has an unhealthy diet). Eating too many carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, or too much sugar can damage the skin’s collagen, which keeps your skin springy and reduces wrinkles. A regular intake of fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are good for your skin. As delicious as doughnuts and hot dogs may be (yes we love them too…), too much may lead to complications such as heart disease and diabetes.
Exercise is the other ally of a healthy lifestyle.Yes. Exercise boosts immunity and helps prevent chronic disease, which can help increase how long we live and improve our quality of life.
• It is common to see a progressive deterioration of the body’s functions as we age. However, research has shown that this deterioration can be slowed by enhancing our body’s ability to function by exercising. The heart can be strengthened with aerobic endurance training. Resistance training can improve muscular strength, and balance training can improve coordination and stability. Exercise helps you to boost immunity and prevent chronic disease which will enable you to add independent years to your life.
What they say is true: age doesn’t matter if you feel young at heart. Therefore, rather than worrying about how old you are getting, focus on living a better lifestyle, and on your next birthday congratulate yourself and look forward to another year full of healthier choices to make.
For more tips on how to stay healthy, visit MSV Life’s Facebook page. You can also contact MSV Life on Freephone 8007 2220 or via email at [email protected]
MSV Life p.l.c. is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to carry on Long Term Business under the Insurance Business Act, 1998.