Chances are, when you were young and visited with older aunts and uncles, grandparents, or family friends, they seemed to be very old. However, now that we are adults, we know that the people who seemed “old” to us as children may have only been in their 40′s or 50′s! The perspective of being an adult does seem to shift our views on aging, but there is some startling new information that shows that we may be aging faster than previous generations! With all that we know about preventing aging and taking care of ourselves, how is this possible? And can we reverse this trend?
According to an April paper in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, the metabolic health of today’s 45 year-olds is similar to the metabolic health of 60-year-old people from previous generations. This study measure the way people’s bodies used insulin to process blood sugar, and took into account all aspects of metabolic health, including obesity or overweight, and body mass index. What the study found is sobering. The three areas were all higher in 20 and 30 year olds of today than people in the past, and the results were the same for both men and women. The data showed that younger people are more likely to be overweight or obese a decade from today than people who are older, and at an increased risk for things like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other conditions that can continue to accelerate aging and poor health.
Does this spell doom and gloom for our generation, or is there something we can do to prevent this accelerated aging pattern? Of course there is! Taking care of your healthy by making smart decisions regarding eating and exercise are the best things you can do to avoid aging faster. Exercising the minimum recommendation, or 30 minutes a day for five days a week is a great place to start. If you’re already doing that, keep it up and add interest and challenges through trying new activities or increasing pace, distance or weight. Exercise is the best way to fight inflammation, which accelerates aging in the body, and it will help you keep your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check.
Eating right is the other component to a healthy body and lifestyle, and the new information just keeps coming to underscore how important this is. You already know what to avoid: the sugar, red meat, empty carbs, salt, trans fats and cholesterol laden foods. Instead, focus on filling up with a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean meats, and allow yourself pleasurable treats like dark chocolate or red wine. A major contributor to poor health is soda…it doesn’t matter if it’s diet or regular, it can still wreck your health by delivering loads of sugar, chemicals, and empty calories in just one small can. Many experts think that the sweeteners in soda cause us to crave more sugar, plus artificial sweeteners can cause us to develop insulin resistance and more of that aging inflammation!
Don’t allow yourself to look as old as you remember your elders looking when you were a kid. Follow a common sense approach to healthy living, and instead of looking older than your years, you’ll have children complimenting you on your youthful good looks!