Turning back the biological clock is just the stuff of science fiction, right? Not quite. Recent studies have found that you can literally make yourself younger and increase your lifespan by making certain simple lifestyle choices. You can start doing some right now, right where you are. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
A study recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may reverse the aging of cells and muscles in older people. “Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process,” says Sreekumaran Nair, MD, the study’s lead author. “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”
He added: “We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits.”
Danish researchers recently found that regularly playing certain sports could extend your life expectancy by years—in one case, by nearly a decade. The top contributors to longevity: tennis (9.7 years), badminton (6.2 years), and soccer (4.7 years). The 25-year study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, noted that all three sports are highly social—potentially reinforcing previous research that’s found social isolation and loneliness are associated with chronic illness and a shorter lifespan.
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This summer, researchers at Columbia University published a study that found gray hair really is caused by stress—and aging might be paused or even turned back. The scientists observed stressed-out people with graying hair; they found that hair regained its color when the source of stress was removed. “Our data add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human aging is not a linear, fixed biological process but may, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed,” said Martin Picard, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral medicine.
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And on that note: “People who are in happier, more satisfying relationships live longer,” Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, told CNN recently. The study, which has been ongoing for nearly a century, tracks the effect of various life changes on longevity. One major finding: “The most important predictor of who was going to be a healthy, happy octogenarian was how satisfied they were in their relationships,” said Waldinger. Experts say you should consider social interaction to be as important to your health as diet and exercise.
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