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Why Some People Age Faster (and How to Avoid It)

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Why Some People Age Faster Than Others (and What to Do About it)

Tip #1.

Have you ever seen your friends’ photos on Facebook, talking about how they got x age on their photos? These age predictor sites and apps are such a time-suck yet intriguing, and feed into the idea that some of us look older than our age, while others look not a day older than 18. Ugh. (And yes, I tried lots of a few photos. I got mostly 23, 24, which isn’t really convincing but pre-tty flattering nonetheless.)

Now a study led by researchers at Duke University proves that what we observed with our own eyes is in fact, scientifically true. They took biomarkers (biological measurements) from about a thousand 26-year-olds, then took measurements again at age 32, and then finally at 38. The biomarkers included: kidneys, the liver, lungs, metabolism, immune system, cholesterol, cardiovascular fitness, the length of telomeres (which indicates DNA damage due to aging), dental health, and blood vessels behind your eyes. (They really left no stone un-turned!). These were used to determine the biological age of the participant, as opposed to the chronological age.

And here’s what they found: The 954 participants’ biological age ranged from under 30 to almost 60. If you’re thinking “OOOOhhh noooo!! I knew I shouldn’t have gone out last weekend!!”, here’s the okay-news. Most of the people did age at an approximate rate of one year per year, which seems fair. However, the sobering news is that even if you score a biological age of 40 (just 2 over your chrono age), you’ve aged 1.2 years per year over the 12-year period (between 26 and 38). And to add salt to injury, these researchers asked college students to guess the ages of the participants, and it turns out your internal age is very directly correlated to how young you look on the outside.

The actual good news is that only 20% of aging is attributed to your genes. You can affect your aging through various external factors. Wouldn’t you like to be one of the lucky ducks who aged at a rate of zero years per year? Sounds good to me!

Adopt these simple habits to stay young and feel young!

1. Take up dancing.

Want to stay smart and sharp forever? Put on your dancing shoes! According to a now-famous study published on the New England Journal of Medicine, dancing was by far the most effective activity for reducing the risk of dementia, at 76% reduced risk. That’s more than crossword puzzles (47%) or reading (35%). Bicycling, swimming, and golf had no reduced risk–so if the music is good, just dance!

2. Eat nuts.

Another brain-helper you should think about is walnuts. Studies show that eating walnuts (rich in omega 3 and polyphenols) reduces inflammation and protects the brain. As pure anecdote, I was recently surprised when my cousin told me she’s eaten at least 4 walnut halves every single day for over 20 years–and she looks about 15 years younger than her actual age. That was pretty motivating!

But if you’re not a fan of walnuts (or their prices), consider incorporating peanuts to your routine. A recent study showed that peanut eaters had lower risk of death from any factor, and especially heart disease, than non-peanut eaters.

3. Drink less alcohol. 

I know, I know. What is the point of being/staying young if you don’t let loose and have fun once in a while? That’s a very philosophical question. But alcohol taxes your entire system, builds toxins in your liver, and dehydrates your skin. So proceed with caution.

4. Exercise regularly.

According to a recent study by the University of Maryland researchers, senior athletes report fitness age that are often 20+ years less than their chronological age. The average senior athlete’s age was 68, and average fitness age was 43. Fitness age here is measured slightly differently than biological age above, but it’s basically the same concept.

5. Practice proper sun-care routine.

Here is how to protect against photoaging and sun damage.

6. Have a young attitude. 

You are as young as you choose to be, at any age. I think it’s amazing to: keep your long hair after a certain age; challenge yourself to new physical activity; continue re-inventing yourself in your career; have a vibrant social life and romantic relationships, whether you’re 30 or 50 or 80. So keep reading new books, going to foreign places, falling in love, doing yoga–and most of all, do what makes you happy.

What’s your secret to staying young?

More anti-aging articles: Natural Beauty – 5 Tips to Look Younger

Anti-Aging Benefits of Resveratrol

10 Best Anti-Aging Foods and Beauty Tips

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Photo: Vincent Jarousseau via Flickr

 

Juhea Kim
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Juhea now lives in NYC with her Oreo cookie cat, Zeus. When she is not writing, she enjoys running in Central Park, yoga, and teaching Barre classes. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • Apparently my true age is 38, according to one of these things! 😛

    • Juhea Kim

      you look so young and people who are as petite and slim as you often look many years younger than their age.

      obviously the algorithm is broken! this is why AIs will not be ever as perfect as human eye and brain, sorry Ex Machina

  • Amparo I. Vazquez

    *Throws a cyber staying-young-forever party* Everyone’s invited :).

    • Juhea Kim

      is this a party where you get to pick your own age? I’ll pick 25!

      • Amparo I. Vazquez

        Heck yeah!! Mine hovers around 26-29! Though, TBH, I’m really looking forward to my thirties :o).

  • Have a child and age 10 years in 2 years :). Seriously though, we come from what I like to think of as a good gene pool. My whole family looks way younger. I was 25 and still had to produce identification when we went to clubs and bars because they did not believe I was 18. Then I had kids. I won’t say I look ancient anymore, but the lack of sleep with the youngest is really taking its toll. Still look younger than most people my age though. I attribute it to cruelty free living, kindness, yoga, and meditation. Even though the last 2 happen a little sporadic with the babes. I also stopped drinking alcohol, AND I absolutely believe in learning a new skill every year. Keeps the mind young, even if you learn something old lady-ish like crochet.

    • Juhea Kim

      🙂 It sounds like you’re still ahead of the game, Nadya!

  • Maria Lys Maclaren

    Growing up my mum would drill into me two things: drink LOTS of water and moisturise. She has beautiful skin so she must be onto something! I’d add keeping hydrated on this list if I could.

    • Juhea Kim

      I totally agree– great tip Maria! 😀

  • Lee Kaplan

    I just turned 61 two weeks ago. My two main secrets are: stay out of the sun and don’t smoke. Satchel Paige asked “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”. I’d be 36. (Don’t know if the pictures, taken two days ago, came out.)

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