When I was getting into fitness and health I read a lot of books. One of the most interesting ones I ever read (and have ever read to this day) was one called Ageless Body, Timeless Mind by Deepak Chopra. Now, whether or not you believe in metaphysics or not, one of the principles of his anti-aging formula was the fact that your mind ultimately controls your body. I tend to believe in this, so about twelve years ago I decided that age was just a number and that I was going to do my best to simply stop aging.
There is a confirmed difference between chronological age (the age on your birthday cards) and your biological age. Your body tissues can either age faster or slower based on what they receive in terms of nutrients and stress. Obviously things like smoking, eating unhealthy foods or having a high level of stress is going to age you faster. That’s why your friend in the cubicle behind you who might be a year or two younger can look like they are about to keel over and have to retire while you remain relatively the same.
I’m now going to reveal something that some of my readers may not know. I just turned 40 years old. Not a massive milestone in terms of age, but I also know a lot of forty year olds with hair loss, wrinkles around their eyes and who can barely climb up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath.
So I’m going to show some interesting pictures that I have – note these were taken over 10 years apart:
I’m not doing this to brag, and if you looked closely at those pictures you would see the streaks of grey in my hair (although I still have all my hair unlike many of my 40 year old compatriots). But the point I’m trying to make is that I think we are all capable of arresting time and our physical well being if we are smart about it.
By the way, in terms of fitness level, I’m about the same as I was in 2005 – maybe even a bit better in some respects only because I have gotten away from heavy lifting and severe long distance training. I can still pick up 200 pounds without throwing out my back and squat and do pullups and bench press the same I could ten years ago. I can jump on the highest plyo box I can find several times. I can run a 22 minute 5k even though I had a heart problem that seems to have resolved itself over the past year. My clothes are the same size and so is my scale weight. As long as I keep an eye on it, my body fat is relatively the same as well. I am injury free. Some people would say it means that I haven’t improved, but our bodies after 30 are always in a constant state of decline, so 10 years later to be able to do the same or more than I could is actually quite ahead of the game.
My grandmother turned 101 about a month ago. Before you jump on the genetics bandwagon, however, my grandfather from the same side died of a heart attack when he was in his 50’s and both of my other grandparents passed away in their 70’s. I often wonder how my Grammie managed to live so long, and I can only pinpoint one specific thing – she lived a relatively stress free lifestyle. I try my best to do that as well.
So can we reverse the aging process or arrest it? More evidence is coming into light that the answer is yes – as recently as November 2014 scientists reversed the aging process in mice and it has shown potential for human trials as well by gene manipulation. However, gaining technology towards reversing your age isn’t going to happen any time soon. We can all take responsibility for our lifestyles and how they impact the again process.
My take on it is that we should all strive to lead a lifestyle that allows us to live with as minimal stress as possible, and this means even things that are considered positive activities like over exercising, dieting to extremes and working until our bodies start to break down. There is a fine balance to all things in life. Also remember, adding things into your daily routine like extra sleep, meditation and just doing things that you enjoy or get good feelings from (an example for me would be music) can also help with staying young.
Feel free to throw in your two cents on the topic, and who knows – maybe I’ll post another picture in ten years and see how things are coming along!