I don’t want to live longer because I am taking drugs and relying on a respirator to keep me alive. I want to be healthy, like really healthy. Beat my grandkids up the stairs healthy. Turn heads on the beach at 80 healthy, and for all the right reasons, not because at 80, I may just wear a speedo because I can. I want to make the best of the time I have on this earth, and the best news is that there are lifestyles we can model, and new research that is definitely proving we can keep our bodies functioning far beyond what most people think is possible!
The (Brief) Science on Aging
As we age, cells in our body continually go through life cycles. They grow, divide, and damaged cells die. Inside each of our cells is DNA, which codes information unique to us, and at the ends of those DNA strands are segments called telomeres. Telomeres, namely, telomere length, are one of the most important factors of our body’s true age. As our cells divide and as we age, these telomeres shorten, eventually to a length that our cells cannot divide anymore and die. This is the literal way we age. We are not as old as our drivers license says, we are as old as our telomeres are short.
The Essentials for Anti Aging
While there are ever newer research methods on anti aging science, there are core practices that we can all begin implementing today that will absolutely keep our bodies healthier longer! These come from studying the “Blue Zones” of the world, which are areas that contain more centenarians (people over 100) than any other geographic location and new research on epigenetics and human physiology.
Repairing your Body with Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important ways your body recovers! Research shows people who sleep 7+ hours per night live longer!
Not getting enough sleep causes, among other issues:
-problems with heat and cold regulation
-a decline in immune function
-an increase in cortisol, catecholamines, and other stress hormones
-imbalances in appetite and blood sugar regulating hormones
-increased levels of inflammatory hormones such as interleukin and C-reactive protein
Sleep research shows:
Maximum bench press drops 15% after four days of restricted sleep.
With proper sleep, tennis players see a 42% increase in hitting accuracy.
Sleep loss means an 11% reduction in time to exhaustion.
Perceived exertion increases 17–19% after thirty hours of sleep deprivation.
Best positions for sleep:
Sleep on your back for healthy spinal posture, especially with the cervical spinal molding rolls!
Side sleeping is best for detoxification, allowing your lymph nodes to drain properly.
Best Tips for Getting Better Sleep
- Get large amounts of natural light during day.
- Darken your room at night to sleep
- Make sure you turn off artificial/blue light emitting devices, or buy blue light blocking glasses.
- Move during the day, stay up and active with low intensity exercise (walking, moving), and perform strength training or high intensity interval training 3-4 days/week.
- Room needs to be cool before bed – we sleep best when our body temp drops 1-2 degrees F off its normal 98.6. Shower/bathe 1 hour before bed, helps temp drop.
- Sleep in silence or cloud out irritating noise with ambient sounds.
Supplements for the Best Sleep:
- 300-500 mg Magnesium before bed. This helps to relax your muscles, and calm your body.
- 5-HTP Helps your body create serotonin if you’re burning the candle at both ends too often, not sleeping enough, and your adrenals are wearing down. Taken with a B Vitamin, this works very well to help to produce serotonin to help you relax.
- GABA, or Gamma Amino-Butyric Acid. When taken with inositol and glycine, can help to calm overexcited brains in the evening. Spinach, liver, sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables.
- Probiotics. GABA is produced in part in the body by your gut. High probiotic foods like kefir or kimchi, or a probiotic supplement have been shown to help people sleep more soundly and wake up feeling more rested.
Chronotype yourself here to understand your circadian rhythms better! https://chronoquiz.com/
1.Eat lots of different wild plants. The people inside blue zones often eat more than 100 different species of plants, whereas, the average American eats only around a dozen. Different plants can help to detoxify our body (dandelion), build our gut microbiome (oregano and thyme), and up our antioxidant production (acai). Joining a Crop Sharing Alliance, juicing, or taking Max Greens daily is a great way to make sure you are getting the variety of vegetables you need!
2. Consume Legumes. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are great sources of protein, and are known in the nutrition world as a slow-carb food. They do not spike your insulin like grain or a candy bar will. Many long lived societies consume a high amount of legumes, but sprout or soak them before to remove any impurities. You can find a list of how long to soak legumes, nuts and seeds here.
3. Cut the bad fats, and increase good ones. I would rather you eat lots of sugar than regularly consume unhealthy fats. Yes, I said it. Your body has a pathway for metabolizing sugar. You can workout to burn sugar off. Bad fats, which consist of hydrogenated or rancid oils, like canola and vegetable oil, are not well metabolized by the body. Your body does three things with bad fats: 1.eliminated as unusable, 2. stored as fat, 3. And this is the worst one… your body uses the damaged fat to create cells in your body. Imaging building a wall in your house with rotted, damaged 2×4’s. That is what you’re doing when you eat damaged fats. You’re literally creating damaged, unhealthy cells, increasing inflammation, and asking for problems.
Consuming copious amounts of healthy fats is the best way to keep yourself healthy long term from a nutritional standpoint. Fats rich in omega-3 should be a staple of your diet. These foods include flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Grass fed beef, dairy products, and organ meats are rich in this as well, along with nuts like macadamia, walnuts and pecans. The importance of this cannot be overstated. There are more than 50 studies showing that overconsumption of fats rich in omega-6 fatty acids, like corn, peanut, and canola along with a deficiency of intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with an increase in arthritis, degenerative disease, and early death.
4. Keep your insulin spikes few and far between. Research shows the more often you spike your blood sugar to very high levels, the more it puts your body under oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what ages your cells, causes cholesterol to oxidize and lead to arterial damage, etc. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have sugar, but that your intake needs to be offset with good physical activity, or with healthy insulin sensitivity in the body. Meaning if you stay active, walking right after meals, exercising 3-4 days a week (like I will write about in the fitness section), you can still consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates in your lifestyle (I’d recommend highly the good ones like sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and berries) and not create insulin problems.
Tips for keeping insulin balanced:
- The pre-meal workout. Not a true workout – 60 seconds of high intensity exercise right before a meal increases your body’s ability to breakdown sugar and keep your insulin spike from a meal containing carbs low! Out at a restaurant? Think 60 seconds of air squats in the bathroom stall. Yep. Sounds weird but works. Now for explaining to the people at the table when you come back why your face is red.
- Consume cinnamon, green coffee, apple cider vinegar as part of your diet. Both of these have been shown to help regulate blood sugar and promote healthy glucose metabolism. A teaspoon of cinnamon a day, glass of green tea or in supplement form in a smoothie is a great way to stay healthy!
- Walk after your workout. Research shows that walking after a meal for 15-60 minutes reduces your insulin spike and leads to less fat storage in your body! Can’t walk? Standing rather than sitting also has shown to help!
- Keep your cortisol low. Cortisol is a stress hormone increased by emotional stress, a poor diet, and, although rare, too much exercise (more than 90 minutes a day). Ashwaganda, an herb, has been shown to lower cortisol production. You can find a great supplement containing Ashwaganda, decaffeinated green coffee bean extract, along with aminos shown to improve cellular recovery here!
Lean muscle mass to body fat % is a big predictor of longevity, and overall muscle strength is associated with longer lived people. Having a higher amount of muscle mass and lower amount of body fat as your body composition is ideal for longevity. Muscle also helps your body produce testosterone, which naturally declines as we age.
A combination of low-intensity and high-intensity exercise is best.
Low intensity is moving throughout the day, walking, light lifting, stretching, yoga, stairs. It helps to build your aerobic fitness capacity. Also, it can help regulate your metabolism, drain your lymphatic system, hydrate your spinal discs, and pump cerebro-spinal fluid into your brain.
High intensity is short durations of high intensity exercise followed by rest. It can entail lifting weights, sprinting, fast body weight movements like pushups, sit-ups, and squats. It helps to build your anaerobic fitness capacity or your body’s ability to burn energy without oxygen. It helps to build muscle, burn body fat, increase fast-twitch muscle fibers, increase metabolism, balance stress hormones. It burns so much energy in an anaerobic state that it causes your body to burn fat for the next 24-48 hours!
Examples of high intensity interval training:
20 seconds of air squats, performed as quickly as possible, followed by 20 seconds of rest, repeated 4-8 times.
Sprinting as fast as possible for 20-30 yards, repeated 10 times.
What your weekly workout protocol should look like:
3-6 High intensity exercise sessions! Great examples are from MaxT3, our at home workout program!
1-2 strength training sessions. Lift heavy weights in a safe manner! Squats, Dead Lifts, Bench Press, Pushups.
Walk 30-60 minutes every day!
Challenge your balance a few minutes per day. Challenging your coordination keeps your brain sharp and increases mental clarity.
Your spinal alignment is a huge predictor of longevity. Just like your body should have a normal heartbeat, pulse, or blood pressure, your spine has to look a certain way. It needs to be straight up and down, if looked at from the front. From the side, there should be three curves in the spine. We develop these curves when we learn to crawl and hold our head up (neck), sit up on our own (mid back or thoracic), and walk (lower back or lumbar).
Trauma, accidents, falls, all can shift or misalign our spine. The more our spine misaligns, the faster it begins to breakdown. This is a law called Wolfe’s law, which states that your body will adapt to pressure placed on it by remodeling itself. With bones, when too much stress is placed on them, or abnormal stress, they begin to compress. This type of breakdown in the body is known as arthritis, which is prominent cause of early disability, especially in America.
We know that poor posture predicts early death. You have a 144% greater risk of mortality with poor posture, rounded shoulders, and increased thoracic kyphosis (curve in the middle back)
Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community‐Dwelling Men and Women: A Prospective Study, 23 September 2004, Deborah M. Kado MD, MS
Conclusion from 2007 study: Many older adults who are most affected by hyperkyphosis do not have vertebral fractures. Hyperkyphosis may be independently associated with an increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including impaired pulmonary function, decreased physical function capabilities, and future fractures.
Improving the health of your spine.
- Move daily! Research shows that sitting for 8 hours or more increases your risk of heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and cognitive disease (alzhemier’s, dementia).
- Get adjusted with corrective care. Receiving adjustments is a great way to keep your spine mobile, functioning, and feeling great. Corrective care goes beyond adjusting to help the ligaments and muscles around the spine hold the spine in a more neutral, better aligned position. This has been shown to help improve posture, reduce the rate of arthritis formation in the spine, and can even improve neurological health and brain function!
- If you have to sit, keep your butt higher than your knees. This maintains healthy alignment in your spine and prevents your back from breaking down and your posture from getting worse. If you have to sit, take breaks often! No more than 30 minutes sitting at a time! Get up for 30 seconds, walk around and stretch out. This has been shown to help prevent spinal degeneration!
Helpful Life Hacks!
Stressing your body in a healthy manner is the key to longevity! Basically, you’re telling your body,”Hey, you need to keep working hard to keep me alive, I am still needed!”
Hot/Cold Exposure. Extreme heat like in a sauna increases the activity of heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins produced during heat stress are important for basic cellular maintenance e.g. preventing harmful accumulations of unhealthy proteins. Flies repeatedly exposed to heat stress had a significant increase in lifespan, correlating with higher levels of heat shock proteins (Hsp70). Cold exposure increases the metabolic activity of your brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue is your metabolically active fat, and controls storage and burning of fat in your body!
Get sun! Sunlight exposure increases Vitamin D levels in the body! Low levels of this cause a myriad of problems including depression, increased cancer risk, digestive problems, and skin. Generally speaking, you need about 1,000 IU per 25lbs of lean body mass to keep a healthy Vitamin D level.
Detoxify your body. Toxins in our world lead to an accumulation of toxins in our body, which are stored in adipose tissue and some organs. Aiding your liver in detoxing with a gentle detox consisting of chlorella, detoxifying herbs, and charcoal once every three months can greatly help your body regulate itself better, and stay healthier longer.
Fast. Going periods of time without eating has multiple benefits related to gene expression, hormone regulation, and cellular health. During fasting, your body experiences a 2-20x increase in HGH, or human growth factor, which at higher levels than normal is associated in studies with reduced aging. Higher HGH leads to better muscle preservation, decreased body fat, and increased bone density. After 16 hours of fasting, your body begins a process called autophagy, where damaged cells and dysfunctional proteins are broken down and removed. Autophagy has been linked to a lower risk of alzhemier’s disease and cancer.
Have Gratitude. It is impossible to harbor anger and gratitude at the same time. Having gratitude or being grateful improves stress levels, improves sleep, strengthens and helps form new social relationships. It has even been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Prioritize social relationships. Loneliness is the newest negative effect of a society increasingly dependent on technology and social media. The longest lived cultures place a large emphasis on having tight social circles, with the elders being respected, included, and playing an important role in a community.
Medications. Reduce your medication use to as few as you can.
June 2013, “Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, their study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. [https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619132352.htm].
In the 2013 article it reads, “Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” Dr. St. Sauver says. “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature.”