What Do I Need to Do to Reduce My Biological Age and Achieve Healthy Longevity?

Is it possible to reverse the aging process? Turning back the hands of time might seem impossible, but as it so happens, consistent and incremental improvements to your lifestyle can change your cells on the epigenetic level and lead to a moderate improvement in biological age.

While immortality and the fountain of youth aren’t quite on the cards yet, being able to grow old gracefully with mobility and mental function fully intact is nothing to sneeze at.

Every year, users of myDNAge® take on the “New Year, New Me” global challenge, and commit to making certain lifestyle changes to reduce their biological age over a 6-month period. The result? A vast majority of the participants were able to see a reduction in their rate of aging after they implemented healthy lifestyle interventions, positively extending their health span and quality of life.

How To Get Started Improving My Biological Age

Decades of scientific research have uncovered a few general principles that you can reliably use to live a long and healthier life:

Eating Well

Optimizing your nutritional intake is one of the first and most effective things you can do to improve your biological age. Beyond improving the quality of what you eat, how much and when you eat can also have an impact on your lifespan.

One of the most widely studied diets in aging is a simple caloric restriction, as numerous studies have shown it can extend lifespans and improve overall health across humans and various other organisms[1]. In humans, this usually looks like eating 10% less than your recommended daily intake. Another is intermittent fasting, where you eat only within a set amount of daylight hours and fast the rest of the time. A major caveat: Although these diets have significantly enhanced longevity for some test subjects, others experienced a shorter lifespan. What works even for a majority may not work for everyone.

Whichever way you choose to improve how you eat, make sure to check with your doctor to ensure it is safe and you are getting the nutrition you need to thrive.

Exercising In Moderation

As it turns out, there’s a Goldilocks zone when it comes to exercise. Too little, and you miss out on the anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, not to mention the brain and mood-enhancing impact it can have. On the other hand, too much exercise, including an elite athletic lifestyle, can actually age you much faster[2].

Mix up moderate-intensity workouts like swimming and yoga with vigorous activities like kickboxing and high-intensity interval training, but don’t forget to give your body time to rest and recover afterward.

Reducing Stress

The scientists at myDNAge® have noticed that the aging rate of retirees tends to be lower than those still running their own business, which is in line with numerous studies that show chronic stress accelerates aging[3].

This is a tricky one to deal with for a lot of people, because modern-day stressors like work pressure, financial burdens, and media overload cannot always be easily set aside. How we manage our stress can help to minimize its effects. Being able to quiet our brains[4], whether through mindfulness meditation or better sleep, can help you live longer.

Building Strong Relationships

Study after study has consistently shown that people who have strong and satisfying bonds with friends and family don’t just live longer but are healthier and happier too[5]. In contrast, those without many meaningful relationships, or whose relationships were neither healthy nor supportive tended to suffer more from age-related diseases like cardiovascular issues[6] or cognitive decline in later life.

Strengthening your ties with your community can be done in a myriad of ways. Engage in activities that bring joy like gathering with loved ones in nature or reaching out to an old and dear friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. However you choose to foster the most meaningful relationships in your life, keep at it and it will pay dividends in the long term.

Staying Optimistic

Researchers from Harvard have determined that higher levels of optimism are linked with exceptional longevity[7]. Over 159,000 women across racial and ethnic groups were tracked, and the most optimistic were 10% more likely to live past the age of 90. Other studies across cohorts of men and women showed similar correlations between optimism and longevity[8], and still more link greater optimism to lower risks of developing chronic diseases of aging[9].

When you’re asked to look on the bright side of life, do so and remember it can also help enhance your health span.

Which Intervention Will Reduce My Biological Age Most Dramatically?

We get it. Living a moderate and healthy lifestyle just doesn’t sound as sexy or impactful as using telomerase to extend your telomeres (It can also substantially increase the risk of developing cancer) or injecting yourself with the blood of the young (Creepy! Also, potentially harmful). These everyday habits are the things that will do the most for the vast majority of people.

There are no guaranteed shortcuts to a longer and healthier life, but whether you choose to try a new diet, or perhaps one of the drugs scientists are studying for their anti-aging benefits like metformin and rapamycin, it’s important to be consistent with it. And because everybody is different, what works wonders for someone might not be beneficial for you, which is why period testing with an accurate epigenetic test like myDNAge® matters.

Wishing you a long and healthy life!


References

[1] Martin B, Mattson MP, Maudsley S. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: two potential diets for successful brain aging. Ageing Res Rev. 2006 Aug;5(3):332-53

[2] Spolnicka M, Pospiech E, Adamczyk JG, et al. Modified aging of elite athletes revealed by analysis of epigenetic age markers. Aging (AlbanyNY).2018; 10(2): 241-252.

[3] Hughes A, Smart M, Gorrie-Stone T, et al. Socioeconomic position and DNA methylation age acceleration across the life course. Am J Epidemiol. 2017; 187 (11):2346-2354.

[4] Zullo JM, Drake D, Aron L, O’Hern P, Dhamne SC, Davidsohn N, Mao CA, Klein WH, Rotenberg A, Bennett DA, Church GM, Colaiácovo MP, Yankner BA. Regulation of lifespan by neural excitation and REST. Nature. 2019 Oct;574(7778):359-364.

[5] Zaraska, M. Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. 2020

[6] Liu H, Waite L. Bad marriage, broken heart? Age and gender differences in the link between marital quality and cardiovascular risks among older adults. J Health Soc Behav. 2014

[7] Koga, HK, Trudel-Fitzgerald, C, Lee, LO, et al. Optimism, lifestyle, and longevity in a racially diverse cohort of women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022

[8] Lee LO, James P, Zevon ES, Kim ES, et al. Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and women. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019

[9] Kim E. S., et al., Optimism and cause-specific mortality: A prospective cohort study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 185, 21–29 (2017)

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