How old is that person? It’s a question you’ve probably asked many times before. A new study shows that many factors contribute to the aging process and that many of these factors are under our control.
The study, which was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, looked at the rate at which people age. The goal was to find out how to slow down the aging process and develop more effective anti-aging treatments.
The study involved 1,000 American adults, all of whom were 38-years of age. Although all of the participants had the same “chronological age,” many of them appeared to be vastly different ages. Researchers examined many different factors– including organ function, dental health, and brain functionality–to determine a more realistic age for every participant.
Researchers discovered that the people who appeared older tended to score worse when it came to intelligence, strength, and balance tests.
So, what made people look and feel older than they are?
Researchers say there are many factors that contribute to the aging process, starting with diet and exercise. Smoking can also have a huge impact on aging, both inside and outside the body. Health experts generally recommend a proper diet, regular exercise, and sleeping at least 7-hours each night to those looking to slow the aging process.
Of course, experts acknowledge that many things are out of our control–like family history and environmental factors (such as living in the city versus the country).
Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital, says it’s never to late to make lifestyle changes that can affect how you age. “You can certainly stop smoking, you can get your vitamin D level to normal, you can go to the gym, you can get proper rest…7-hour sleep, you can have good nutrition that doesn’t emphasize sugar and fats and looks more at fruits and vegetables and healthier foods,” he said.