Did you know genetics only accounts for about 25% of how you age? The rest is really in your hands. We all do things that age us, both internally and externally. The good news is avoiding these three major offenders is pretty easy and within your control, for the most part. Adding them to your daily habits may help you stay healthier and look younger for years to come.
Here’s a little science for you. At the end of every cell in your body is something called a telomere. Everytime the cell divides, the telomere pulls back from the end of the cell. Over time, telomeres completely wear away. When this happens, the cells stop splitting and die off. The reduction of cell production plays a huge role in how we age and may even lead to the development of some cancers. The good news? Exercise can slow the deterioration of telomeres, increasing your lifespan in the process.
Doctors also look at the “immune risk profile” of their patients when attempting to predict their health and lifespan. The lower the IRP, the higher your risk of developing cancer and other diseases. The less you exercise, the lower your IRP is bound to be. Even worse? The older you are when you start exercising, the less of an impact your movement will have on your IRP.
2. Lack of Sleep
There’s no way around it — you need to sleep. Studies have proven sleep gives your brain the chance it needs to clear away the plaques that can lead to Alzheimer’s, which means sleep deprivation could even be a contributing factor in its development. A lack of sleep may also increase your risk of weight gain or of developing heart disease.
3. Neglecting Your Teeth
Oral health can tell doctors a lot about your general health. A healthy smile can make you look younger and even impact the way you feel as you age. Unhealthy gums and teeth can literally poison your systems as bacteria makes its way through your bloodstream, while a healthy mouth allows you to continue enjoying the foods you love. Your oral care routine also decreases the amount of bacteria that lives in your mouth, reducing your risk of heart disease or stroke.
While your genes supply the roadmap, you’re ultimately in charge of the route you take with your health. By taking control of the factors within your control, you can help yourself age as gracefully as possible. We all can.