I Don’t Want To Get Old, Is There a Plan B?
Can we stop aging? No, but you can increase your chances of staying “young” longer.
Telomeres, Schmelomeres Why Should I Care?
First of all schmelomeres is a nonsense word I made up. Forget it–this subject is complicated enough. Telomeres, however, are real. You’ve got them, I’ve got them and we want to keep them, we don’t want to shorten them. Also, we don’t want our telomeres too long. Like Goldilocks, we want them “just right.”
Telomeres “hang out” on the “ends” of our chromosomes. Their buddy, telomerase, the enzyme, hangs out with them, like a bodyguard. Eventually we run out of telomerase so it stops protecting the telomeres. Our cells are constantly replicating but each time they replicate, they leave off some telomeres. When you run out of telomeres you start losing bits of chromosomes or your DNA matter when cells duplicate. This is aging or senescence. I’m vastly oversimplifying but you get the idea. Think of this as Biology for Dummies. (Written by a dummy so, please you biology majors, cut me some slack!).
This YouTube video explains it with pictures and we know they’re worth a thousand words.
Well, What Can I Do About It? Everyone Gets Old.
True, you can’t stave off old age forever. Your antecedents have a lot to answer for if they handed down “bad” genes. Your environment and how you treat your body is a factor you control. Studies show that avoiding bad habits and developing healthy ones can help you stay younger and healthier longer. Below is a link to a study done by the NIH and a list of key points from the study.
• Telomere length shortens with age.
• Rate of telomere shortening may indicate the pace of aging.
• Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, exposure to pollution, etc. can potentially increase the rate of telomere shortening, cancer risk, and pace of aging.
• Dietary restriction, appropriate diet (high fiber, plenty of antioxidants, lean/low protein, adding soy protein to diet), and regular exercise can potentially reduce the rate of telomere shortening, disease risk, and pace of aging.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370421/
So tonight, instead of eating that lovely slice of chocolate cake, have some blueberries and go for a walk. Lay your burdens down, especially if those burdens include smoking and alcohol consumption. Moderation in all things, except smoking–just stop smoking. Let go of stress. If you are a caregiver, you are at high risk for increased stress and depression. Try taking this caregiver stress test. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784
Spend time in prayer and meditation or do those things that help you relieve stress. Be thankful for your blessings and get a good night’s sleep. Your chromosomes will thank you.
Have a great caregiving day,