Up for an extra 50 years as a vibrant Super Ager?
Are you an 80% Normal Ager, a top 20% Smart Ager or could you be a top 1% Super Ager?
We have come a long way from the concept of aging as frailty. As far back as 1961, the phrase ‘successful aging’ was coined by researcher Havighurst. He explained successful aging as ‘adding life to the years’. The goal is to add a level of joy and satisfaction to your lifespan.
Then in the 1980s aging researchers, Rowe & Kahn, found that simple diet, exercise, personal habits and social factors played a significant role in moving an ager from ‘usual or normal aging’ to ‘successful aging’.
Even in the last few years, the BBC documentary, ‘How to Stay Young’, measured the biological age of volunteers and demonstrated that simple lifestyle changes have a significant impact on the biological age of a person.
Based on the results achieved by volunteers in a short 12-week period, it clearly demonstrated that you can take control of your health and move from normal aging to successful aging or even super-aging. Smart aging is the process of taking control and deciding how you want to age.
We now know for sure that there are some things that Smart Agers know and do.
As a Smart Ager:
1. You are a non-smoker
Not smoking is a no-brainer. Research is quite definite that smoking represents an important accelerator of the aging process. It compromises life expectancy as well as quality of life. However, passive smoke can also contribute to aging. We are quite fortunate here in Australia that the government passed legislation to ban smoking where food is consumed. Unfortunately, holidaying in Europe is quite different. There you can’t avoid someone lighting up a cigarette or even a cigar next to your table in a restaurant!
2. You have carefully considered your diet and supplements
Scientists have studied Longevity diets for a long time. There is no definitive one diet fits all. Whether you subscribe to a Mediterranean, Okinawan, Vegan, Paleo or Keto diet, one factor keeps popping up – calorie restriction. Calorie restriction can occur in two ways – a reduction of daily caloric intake or fasting, which can take many forms. It could be 5:2, time window eating, religious fasting or more stringent fasting regimes.
Scientists have discovered that calorie restriction is more effective than medications at extending the total lifespan.
No matter which one you chose, you have educated yourself, considered the options and monitor what is working for you based on your relevant biomarkers.
3. You maintain an optimum body weight
Mounting evidence indicates that being overweight significantly reduces the probability of healthy aging. Many well-conducted studies across large populations consistently show that being overweight increases the risk of premature mortality. The lowest mortality is associated with a BMI of less than 25.
A recent study also considered obesity (BMI) impact on brain aging in 64-year-olds. “People with bigger waists and higher BMI were more likely to have thinning in the cortex area of the brain, which implies that obesity is associated with reduced gray matter of the brain,” notes study co-author Dr Tatjana Rundek. The study shows that a higher than normal BMI might speed brain aging by ten years or more.
As a Smart Ager, you have measured your waist and stepped on the scales. You probably also have Smart bathroom scales to measure muscle mass and body fat.
4. You are a regular exerciser
The long-term Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study established that endurance exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular function. It keeps muscle and arteries flexible, lowering resting heart rate, and boosting the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood. Exercise also results in lower blood pressure, a key trigger for several age-related diseases. Regular physical activity appears to reduce the overall mortality rate by more than a quarter and to increase the life expectancy by more than two years compared with the sedentary population’s average.
Smart agers know what their target zone for exercise is and are probably using a digital device to keep track of their exercise stats. Do you know what your VO2 max rate is?
5. You are strong, flexible and balanced
A Hawaiian program tested healthy men, average age 54, for handgrip strength. They tracked the men for 25 years. Of those who survived, they found that the men who tested strongest in middle age had the lowest risk of disability in older age. Often, reduced strength results in injuries which in turn can cause rapid aging, whether physically or mentally.
Have you measured your grip strength?
You’ve also measured the flexibility of your:
- Hip rotators
- Outer hips and spine
- Spine & neck
Take this test to find see how flexible you are.
Whether you prefer – Yoga, TaiChi or plain old stretching, measuring can help you focus and improve.
How’s your balance? Take this 30 second test to find out. Scientist are now testing wearable sensors to train a person’s ability to maintain balance and gait.
6. You optimise your cognitive function
You engage in some sort of activity that stimulates the brain. You might read widely, use a computer, participate in discussion groups, play bridge, board games or musical instruments. You may have high educational attainment and work in a complex career.
Physical activities improve cardiovascular function, which helps to supply blood to the brain. There is evidence that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain in addition to a cardio workout. Two for the price of one!
Socialising with family or friends as well as travel and cultural events all stimulate cognitive function.
How can you increase the complexity of cognitive activities to challenge yourself even more?
7. You make sleep a priority
You understand that aging presents some sleep challenges and are taking steps to get a good night’s rest so you can be ready for every day.
Mollie McGlockin, who created sleepisaskill.com, says that sleep is a skill. She discusses her strategies on this podcast with Elite HRVs Jason Moore. She has created a nine-step sleep reset program which optimises how people sleep through a unique blend of technology, accountability and behavioural change.
You probably measure your sleep using one of the many apps and devices available. How can you improve your sleep?
8. You screen your health regularly
- You have regular Dental check-ups
- You have Mammograms and Cervical Screening for women or Prostate Screening PSA test for men
- You have Bowel Cancer Screening
- You have Skin Cancer Screening
You also track stats daily. Counting calories or counting steps creates awareness of your health and whether what you are doing is improving it. You may even want to step up to measuring and monitoring your heart rate variability as an overall measure of your well-being. Check out EliteHRV Corsense monitor and app here.
You have a ‘Will to be Well’, and you oversee your health.
You probably work with a Functional Medicine practitioner. Your physician is your consultant, not your parent!
9. You have a circle of family and friends and stay in touch.
You are careful to avoid negativity. You probably don’t watch or engage in mass media. You seek uplifting conversations and media.
You love spending time with friends and family laughing and remembering good times as well as creating new memories for the future.
You are productive
Overall, as a Smart Ager, you will have developed good lifestyle habits. You will have an awareness of what is working for you and what isn’t.
You know that 120 is the new 80 and you have a plan for maximising these years. What are you planning to do with the extra years on offer? Could there even be time to start a new career at retirement age and spend 30-50 years engaged in a new purpose?
“No one is so old that he does not think he could live another year.”
Do you want to stretch to Super Ager, a big step up from the 20%?
You’d be Aging with Serious Attitude!
120 might be the new 80 but the first person to live to 200 has been born, and you’d like to have a crack. You are self-determined and know exactly WHY you want peak performance. You have a strong intention and love to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
You are most likely a biohacker or a quantified-self. You are happy to be a guinea pig (n=1) rather than waiting for science to catch up with large scale research.
You are read all the latest research on Telomeres, DNA and Epigenetics. You have read Lifespan by David Sinclair or have seen him on YouTube. You have considered or are taking NMN to test its antiaging effects. You follow Dave Asprey from Bulletproof or Ben Greenfield to see what their latest biohacking experiments have yielded.
You have tested Nootropics – Smart Drugs or Cognitive Enhancers to see if they have a positive impact on mental skills.
You know you have a Smart Body, and you are the programmer. What you tell yourself – matters.
There is no aging gracefully!
Welcome to the brave new World of Super Aging.
Join our growing band of Smart Agers – a community of people who see themselves at 100+, fit and healthy and making a difference in the world. We use technology to improve longevity and make every damn day count!
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