Reversing the Aging Process

Reversing the Aging Process

by Young Ki Park, DO Westview Center for Integrated Medicine and Thomas L. Hardin, CMT, CFP Managing Director at the Canterbury Group

If someone asked how old you were, you'd probably do what most people do: recite the chronological age printed on your driver's license. A more significant measurement is biological age, which indicates how well your physiological systems are performing in your body. Chronological age is irreversible, but biological age is not. When it comes to biological age, you can turn back the clock - in five easy steps.

The first step to reversing the process is to change your perception of time and age. If you're with the wonderful love of your life, two hours may feel like a minute. If you're being tortured, a minute may seem like eternity. In the same way, your perceptions of aging affect how you feel.

Step two involves living a more balanced life. Not long ago, nature provided the balance. Workdays ended when the sun went down. Families talked, laughed, and warmed themselves in front of a cheery fire. Today, technology lets you work longer hours, take your computer on vacation, and stay in constant contact with your office. One way to reclaim balance is through restful sleep. Go to bed early, get up when you feel like it, and don't use an alarm clock every day. Another way is by eating a balanced diet. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, and grains while minimizing caffeine, sweets, dairy products, and meat.

The third step, balanced exercise, yields both physical and psychological effects. With exercise, your body releases self-healing chemicals and eliminates harmful oxidants. Your heart functions better, your digestive systems move more efficiently, you think more clearly, and you feel a sense of well-being. Balanced exercise means choosing a style that complements your life. People with sedentary jobs should exercise at least one hour a day. People with more physically demanding jobs will find balance in relaxation-type exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching.

Step four: You must reduce stress. Studies have shown that a stress-free person with "good genes" could live 180 years. With stress, your sympathetic nervous system constantly fires. Blood vessels constrict, your heart beats faster, blood pressure and blood sugar go up - every area is under attack. Of course, you can't totally eliminate stress, but you can minimize it. Take at least five minutes every morning to meditate or do some deep breathing. When you're under a lot of stress, take 15 or 20 minutes for tai chi or other calming activities. One researcher visited a Russian village where most people live to be over 100. When he asked them the secret of longevity, their answer was, "Relax."

The fifth and final step may sound strange coming from a doctor and a private wealth manager, but doing good for others is probably as important as all the other steps we've described. When you share your love, when you do good things, your body releases endorphins. You feel satisfied. Isn't that what longevity is all about?