Introduction to Anti-Aging
Are you one of the aging baby boomers in the US today? If the answer is yes, keep reading to learn more about what is affecting aging baby boomers, and what can be done to improve health. As baby boomers we not only want to look good, we also want to feel good. And “good’ usually means “young”. We see aging baby boomers, our elderly parents, suffer, and we want to avoid getting old as much as we want to avoid owning the wrong stocks. When it comes to advancing in age, the aging baby boomers are not willing participants. To this end, we buy exercise equipment and gym memberships, health and organic foods – all in a desperate attempt to stay looking and feeling good. Our body is made up of trillions of cells. Aging starts when cell death starts. An effective anti-aging program must, therefore, address the cell as the starting point. If we can defer cell death, we are in effect deferring the impact of age upon the aging baby boomers.
Only a century ago, the average life expectancy was 42 years. But, our aging baby boomers have lived well past that age. Today, it has almost doubled. This is largely due to advances in medicine and technology. The definition of aging as a natural course of events of which nothing can be done has passed. Today we see healthy and active seniors well into their 90s. There are over 70,000 centenarians in U.S.A. alone and this number is expected to double in the next 5-10 years. In fact, those over 85 years old represent the fastest growing segment of the population in the world.
What is Aging?
Those familiar with anti-aging medicine and research now define aging as nothing more than a disease state characterized by 3 phases:
1. Sub-Clinical Phase, ages 25 to 35:
Most hormone levels start to decrease. Growth hormone level, for example, has already fallen approximately 14% by age 35. Environmental pollution, poor diet, and stress cause free radical formation and cellular damage not visible to the naked eye. Outwardly, there are few clinical symptoms. While you may look and feel good, internal cellular damage is already happening. Like cancer in its early stages of development, there are no detectable signs and symptoms by conventional standards. You look and feel “normal,” but in reality you are in the sub-clinical phase of this disease, whether you like it or not.
2. Transition Phase, ages 35 to 45:
By age 45, production of many hormones have fallen by more than 25%, and biomarkers are beginning to show signs of aging. Clinical symptoms such as decreased visual acuity, graying of the hair, increased pigmenting of the skin, and decreased strength and energy are making their presence felt on the outside. On the inside, cellular damage by free radical continues, where the rate of damage depends on your lifestyle. If not controlled or slowed, mutational changes may lead to cancer.
3. Clinical Phase, ages 45 and above:
Most hormone production continues to decline, including DHEA, Melatonin, growth hormone, and male and female sexual hormones. The rate of decline accelerates as we get older until age 70 or thereabouts. Outwardly, early signs and symptoms of aging seen during the transition phase worsen. The skin is further dehydrated and thinned as collagen fibers break down. We call these irreversible lines “wrinkles.” Musculo-skeletal joint degeneration becomes painfully obvious as arthritis sets in. Fatigue and loss of energy follow us everywhere. Chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes became very apparent as organs begin to fail. Inwardly, as our cells succumb to assaults, mutation and cancer can arise. Cancer has now overtaken heart disease as the number one cause of death.
Protocol for Aging Baby Boomers
How do we make sure our cells stay healthy from within? Exercising and following a healthy diet are good starters. However, cutting edge science tells us there is more. There are actually 5 areas to a successful anti-aging program. These 5 areas practiced together can unquestionably help us baby boomers fulfill our passion to defy the effects of time.
The 5 pillars of the eAnti-Aging System are:
- Precision Anti-Aging Exercise
- Balanced Anti-Aging Diet
- Anti-Aging Stress Reduction Techniques
- Natural Hormone Enhancement
- Optimal Anti-Aging Supplementation
I. Precision Anti-Aging Exercise
People who exercise know that they will be stronger and healthier. What people may not realize is that exercise can also make you younger.
Precision Anti-Aging exercises incorporate 3 important components:
- Flexibility Training for our joints.
- Cardiovascular Training for our heart.
- Strength Training for our muscles.
By the time that you are 60, you may have lost up to half your muscular strength, half of your lung capacity, and a good percentage of bone density that accompanies aging. By incorporating a precision anti-exercise program, you can prevent these losses. Have you ever shook the hand of a 65 or 70-year-old person? They have no grip strength and are so frail that you may be worried that shaking their hand will hurt them. Exercise can help maintain that strength for a firm handshake.
How do strength training and aerobic exercises exhibit anti-aging effects? They stimulate the body to produce growth hormone, a hormone that has been shown to reverse the aging process and rejuvenate aged cells. Stretching exercises help to keep your body lithe and limber enabling you to twist and turn like a young person, without a backache or other pain. A good aerobic workout stresses and strengthens the heart.
In addition, there are many cross benefits. Properly performed, strength-training also maintains and builds muscle mass. Since muscle is more metabolically active than fat (meaning that muscle burns more calories than fat), your metabolism will increase and you will ultimately burn more fat.
Aerobic exercise improves your lung capacity. Keeping your aerobic exercise intensity to no more than 65% to 70% of your maximum heart rate will avoid over oxidation. Your personal target heart rate is determined by subtracting your age in years from 220 and multiplying the result by 0.65 or 0.70 to give you 65% or 70% of your maximum heart rate. Keep your heart rate at this level for 20 continuous minutes at least 3 times a week.
II. Balanced Anti-Aging Diet
The acronym SAD for the Standard American Diet could not be more appropriate. The high fat, high sugar, and high salt combination of the average diet has negatively affected our brain and organs so much that our body has a hard time recognizing what’s good and what’s not.
The problem with most diets is that they are so extreme that they are impossible to follow for more than a short time. You will be delighted to know that together with your commitment, the Anti-Aging diet is safe, enjoyable, and will help you reach or maintain your anti-aging weight, which is 5-10% less than your ideal body weight. For men, the ideal body weight is 106 lbs for the first 5 feet of your height, plus 6 lbs for every in inch after that. Ladies, your ideal body weight is 100 lbs for the first 5 feet of your height, plus 5 lbs for every inch more.
The general rule of thumb is that a balanced anti-aging diet should be comprised of a 50/25 ratio of carbohydrate, protein, fat. The carbohydrate should be in the form of fruits and vegetables. Protein should preferably be from plant sources such as beans and tofu, with maximum one-third from animal sources like meat. Fat (mostly poly and mono-unsaturated) should come from olive oil and nuts rather.
Another tip is to not eat when you’re not hungry. 5-6 small meals throughout the day are better than 1-3 big meals per day. If you really crave food during the period your stomach is adjusting to smaller meals, eat a piece of fresh fruit. Avoid refined sugar, which can be found in many junk foods including donuts and soft drinks. As you may not be aware of, refined sugar is the worst enemy in your fight against aging as it increases the production of cortisol, an age-inducing hormone.
III. Anti-Aging Stress Reduction Techniques
Stress is a “silent Killer.” Why? Stress increases the levels of cortisol production in your body, which accelerates the aging process.
Most stress relief modalities fall into 3 broad categories: (1) Mental, (2) Physical or (3) Functional.
Mental activities for stress reduction include music, reading, meditation, singing, praying etc. Physical activities include exercise and sports, Taisho, Yoga, Tai Kwon do, bicycling, window shopping, walking, swimming etc. Functional style activities include massage, Qigong and hydro-therapy.
These methods can be mixed and matched. Find out that works best for you and make stress reduction a habit.
© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.