Could you be aging faster than you should? What are the risks?
Welcome to yet another month. As we begin to wind down the year, I would like to ask you how your health has been over the last couple of months. Have you taken the steps that you would have liked to lead you towards your health goals? Have you really prioritized your health or has just another year rushed by and left you wondering how to balance a busy life, a full schedule with some healthy habits and choices that will make difference for your future?
As you ponder on that, I would like to congratulate all that have made positive strides but also encourage those that feel they could have done better. The year is not over, we still have more than 6 weeks to Christmas so you can and should try and jump start whatever goals you have not yet accomplished. It takes about 40 days to see significant results so we all still have time to enjoy yet our healthiest Christmas ever. You can still drop those 10kgs or some of that nagging waist line, get off that uncomfortable medication, get fitter or even be able to achieve your goal or running the MTN marathon.
However, have you really stopped to think about the word we call “Age”. Many of us associate our age and aging with the number of years we have been on the planet, what we call our chronological age. While that is true, our bodies actually age at different age from our chronological age. Our bodies can age much slower but also much faster than our real ages? And this is what we call our biological age or the concept of body age. Could you be aging faster than you should? Read on to learn more.
The best way to determine how you are aging is to actually look at how your body is actually functioning at any particular time. This is because if your body is functioning well, it is likely to have less damage, use less resources and be more likely to be functioning more efficiently.
Your biological age (or body age) is a measurement of how well your physiological systems are functioning and hence how our body is aging and this age may be much more or less than your chronological age.
It is possible that your body is aging quite rapidly without you even being aware, but you could have begun to feel older than you think you should feel at your chronological age. What causes this?
Our bodies have biological markers or biomarkers of body function or aging. These can be measured and then compared against what has been scientifically shown to be normal for people of a similar chronological age as you are.
The biomarkers that are used to assess this function include;
Easy to measure parameters such as your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, amount of body fat, muscle mass percentage, metabolic rate and cholesterol and lipid levels
But other parameters that can also be used to support assessment of body age include the less commonly measured parameters such as aerobic capacity, auditory and visual thresholds, bone density, hormonal levels, immune function, temperature regulation, inflammatory markers and antioxidant levels.
The ones mentioned first, the weight, body fat etc. are really sufficient for you to get a good indicator of how your body is functioning and fortunately they are very easily measurable.
These biomarkers can be measured and compared against what is normal. If your results are better than what is known to be normal, that is a good sign and a sign that your biological age is better than your chronological age but your results may show that your body’s functioning may not be so good. Your body or biological age can be very different from your chronological age. A 40-year-old who takes good care of themselves can have his body functioning as that of a 25-year-old but alternatively a 40-year-old who has not paid much attention to their health may have the biology of someone even 70 years or more.
Many of you have had the opportunity to get a simple assessment of your body age. Was it what you wanted it to be? Did it surprise you? Has it improved.
Do you know your body age? If you don’t take time and get a body age assessment.
You can do a simple assessment or a more comprehensive one but whatever your body function or biological age is today, I believe it is important that you are aware of it. For many this serves as a serious reality check especially if you find that you have a body of someone old enough to be your parent and can also be a good motivator to inspire change.
So, are there any risks of having you body age faster than it should? The best way to answer this is to ask you to think about a car that is not being taken care of as well as it should. Over time it will begin to function at a less efficient level and will eventually begin to have frequent break downs and frequent visits to the mechanic for repair. The same goes for your body. It can actually age much faster than it should and lead to premature health challenges such as memory loss, high blood pressure at an early age, back pain, fatigue, early greying of hair, joint problems, diabetes and even poor sleep.
But it can also age gracefully, much slower and allow you to enjoy a youthful look, feeling and state of health even as your real age increases. The good news is that while you cannot control your chronological age you can influence and even begin to slow down the aging process or even reverse your biological age.
By first of all becoming aware of your body age vs your real age and then learning and applying the habits and practices that keep your body functioning well, I believe you can alter and reduce your biological age quite quickly and for as long as you continue to make your health a priority.
Over the next couple of weeks and even in the new year, we will be sharing principles that we believe will make you healthier, feel better and even look younger.
I encourage you to share these emails with everyone who can benefit and encourage them to sign up to receive these newsletters.
I wish you a healthy month and encourage all those who have some unaccomplished health goals to get up and do something about it.