The Age Science Says You Need to Begin Interventions to Delay Mental and Physical Aging
Aging doesn’t occur suddenly when people reach their sixties; aging is a life-long process. Research findings now suggest you should take action to treat the diseases of old age by the time you celebrate your 45th birthday. When interventions are taken before an individual reaches 45 years old, it helps treat aging issues and mental/physical problems before they escalate.
Researchers have numerous ways of measuring how quickly people age. They can estimate your brain age, as well as your physical age based on cortical anatomy, cardiovascular health, fMRI readings, and your perception of aging, to name only a few. Some individuals age at a rate that is much slower than average for their chronological age. These slow-aging participants look younger (have fewer wrinkles and other signs of facial aging); they also remain mentally sharp, have good cardiovascular health, and continue to be mobile and walk at a brisk pace. (How individuals walk is a strong marker of aging.)
On the other end of the spectrum are individuals who age more rapidly. These individuals look older, show signs of cognitive decline as measured by IQ scores, feel less healthy, and tend to have pessimistic attitudes about aging. By midlife, individuals who have aged more rapidly were already at risk of developing frailties that impair physical and mental independence.
The interventions needed to decrease the rate of mental and physical aging are not new. Sleep, exercise, healthy eating, stress reduction measures, and living a meaningful and purposeful life are only a few interventions that help slow down the mental and physical aging process.
ML Elliott, A Caspi, RM Houts, A Ambler, JM Broadbent (2021). Disparities in the pace of biological aging among midlife adults of the same chronological age have implications for future frailty risk and policy. Nature Aging, March 2021.
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