Is It Possible That Lifestyle And Health Behaviors Can Affect The Aging Process?

September 20, 2021 By

By Connie Limon

Many people feel life expectancy is all in our genes and the aging process is little affected by our living habits. However, several scientific studies have looked at the aging processes of twins who were reared together and apart to see what contributions genetics vs. living habits had toward longevity. In two famous twins’ studies it was found that aging was less related to genetic factors than to lifestyle and health behaviors. With the results of these studies we can with a fair amount of confidence feel that we can affect the aging process with our lifestyles and health habits.

We need to try and understand why we age. No one entirely understands why we age. Many of the theories of why we age propose the biological basis of aging. Many of the theories fit into two categories of aging theory:

–The first of these categories is stochastic theories of aging, which basically states that age is a result of random damage to cells and organs over time;

–The second category is programmed theories, which state the aging and death of cells is genetically determined.

A lot of studies demonstrate an association between excessive weight and shorter life spans. However, to say that the thinnest people live the longest has not been proven.

Studies do indicate that the lowest mortality rates are associated with a body mass index in the 21-22 range. To calculate your own BMI:

1.Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.

2.Multiple your height in inches by 0.0254 to get your height in meters.

3.Multiply your height in meters by itself.

4.Divide the answer to #1 by the answer to #3.

In the New England Centenarian Study researchers investigated what helps people to live a long and healthy life by studying people who had successfully survive into ‘old old age.’ The group of men and women studied had remained physically healthy and mentally alert well into their nineties. Among the personal attributes that were common to a great majority of these survivors were:

–Low levels of depression;

–Striking ability to cope with, and adapt to, stress and loss;

–High levels of intellectual stimulation;

–Frequent use of humor as a coping mechanism;


–High levels of social interaction and support;

–Nearly universal lack of obesity, excess alcohol, and smoking.

What can conclude and learn from the study and these successfully aged Bostonians? To a large extent it is possible that lifestyle and health behaviors can help us to escape the aging hardships of time and live longer lives.

There are a number of ways to promote active, independent life into late life and beyond. It is more in our control than we probably realize.

First of all secure yourself a trusted personal physician and make yourself his assistant/partner in your healthcare. Start with the following:

–Get the most out of your doctor visits. Advanced planning can help you get more out of your visit.

–Keep a personalized healthcare book. In your book list your symptoms. Doctors are trained to recognize disease states by the pattern of symptoms the disease creates.

–If your doctor visit is the direct result of an illness the question you want answered is: What is wrong with me? Your goal should be to help your doctor as quickly and effectively as possible answer this question. Before your visit list the following questions and answers:

1.How long has it been going on?

2.How has it changed over time?

3.What was the first thing you noticed?

4.What did it feel like?

5.What other symptoms appeared?

6.What were you doing at the onset of symptoms?

7.What made your symptoms worse?

8.What made your symptoms seem to get better?

9.When did the symptoms start (as related to a new medicine, stress or injury)?

10.Where did the symptom move?

11.Where did new symptoms appear next?

Another dreaded part of aging for many is losing memory. If you stop and think for a minute, without memory, we are pretty much lost to all things and activities around us. Many people believe senility is inevitable and are afraid when they experience memory problems. There are ways that can perhaps help us to fight or prevent this type of mental decline.

Some theories are that we can build brain reserve to keep our memories healthy and possibly delay dementia. It has been proven there is a lower incidence of dementia in highly educated people. Higher education probably does not prevent Alzheimer’s disease as there have been many brilliant people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Optimistic studies that look at the effects of aging on learning suggest that if elderly persons are taught to learn information in more efficient ways, using techniques such as categorization and patterning rather than rote learning, their information retrieval improves. It has long been understood and known that most old people maintain the same overall level of intelligence, but their ability to retrieve information stored in their memory changes. With the results of these new studies we can conclude elderly persons can be taught to learn in a different way to improve their memories.

Here are some ways to help you prevent memory loss:

–Maintain good health;

–Don’t smoke;

–Take an aspirin a day;

–Use alcohol in moderation;

–Take note of medication reactions;

–Maintain psychological health. Psychological health is important to optimal brain function. Depression and other psychological problems can produce a lack of motivation to engage in intellectual stimulation necessary to maintain good brain health.

–Ask your doctor about vitamin/herbal supplements;

–Stimulate your brain! This is probably the most important step of all. You need to actively stimulate your brain in a fun and enjoyable way throughout your older years. Practice the following methods of stimulating your brain:

1.Stimulate hearing by listening to music and talking with friends;

2.Stimulate your vision by reading, and enjoying art or new sights;

3.Stimulate your sense of smell by appreciating the smells of nature;

4.Motor senses: Stimulate your motor sense by physical activity.

5.Crossword puzzles are excellent brain challengers;

6.New activities such as learning to play a musical instrument or an art activity you have never tried before. Learn a new language.

Do something you have always wanted to do, but never had the time to do. You will find pleasure, increased social interactions and a renewed sense of achievement, which all stimulates better brain function.

And don’t forget about Albert Einstein who took up violin late in his life. Winston Churchill started painting. There is something everyone can find in life to stimulate brain function. Be adventurous, you have nothing to lose and only brain health to gain, which all contributes to a better memory in everyday life.

In conclusion, I do believe we have more control over the aging process than we realize.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

About the Author: Connie Limon, Trilogy Field Representative. Visit

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