Chronological VS Biological Age
Myles will be 44 on Thursday. He was born in 1979- so his chronological age will be 44 in just two days' time. However, what is his biological age? Given his lifestyle choices, most likely much younger than this chronological age. What is biological age, you may be wondering? It is the process of using physiological markers to gauge the health of your cells and tissues in your body. Scientists are measuring telomeres (parts of your chromosomes associated with aging) and other biomarkers to predict your biological age. If you want to get further into the weeds, you can check out a new book by David Sinclair, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Lifespan: Why we age and why we don't have too, and geek out all you want. According to several studies, someone who exercises, eats well, gets adequate sleep and maintains generally "healthy" lifestyle habits will have a lower biological age then someone who smokes, sits on the couch (or at a desk all day), and eats take out 5 days a week. In theory, you could be a 60 year old chronologically, but have the "body" of a 40 year old..... or something like that. You get my gist. Why is this important? First, age is simply a number, it really doesn't mean anything. Just because you are 50 doesn't mean your body should be feeling like you are 50. You can do things to counteract your biological aging, and in a sense- grow younger physically as you grow older chronologically. That's a trippy thought, eh?
We all know those people on either end of this spectrum. For example, Myles's grandmother is 93 and she is as spry as ever- slowing down no doubt, but he took a walk with her the other day and he was surprised and enthused about her brisk pace. We all know these types of people that are well into their 80's and even 90's and we just can't fathom how they are still doing all those things! The reason is of course, because they are biologically younger than those years suggest. Most likely they have been active, healthy people for most of their lives and now into their later years, their body doesn't need to slow down, it feels pretty good actually- since they took care of it for so long!
And then on the other, less flattering side, we have seen/known those people who look much older then they actually are chronologically. Most likely they are hunched over or have poor posture, they may have skin that is off-color or aged, they don't move much but when they do it looks like it hurts---- a lot! You might think to yourself, it looks like they lived a hard life, or I wonder if they were a heavy smoker. Aside from illness or disease (which can ravage people's bodies as well), these types of people usually have not spent a majority of their lives nourishing their tissues and cells, and therefore their outward appearance and mobility suffers. I'm going to assume we all want to end up as one of the examples in scenario 1 as we age. So how do we go about keeping ourselves biologically young?
Walking. Yes, walking- 10 minutes a day at a brisk pace can shed 16 years off your biological age one study found. It's really that easy- but you have to walk fast. No dog walks with 30 sniffs per 10 feet, but more like, I'm late walking to catch a bus or train sort of pace. Of course, the more you do the better it is, but as little as 10 minutes per day can have a profound impact. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are any number of bio-hacks out there that are purported to help clear dead cells and boost your vitality. Here are a list of more things you may or may not have tried:
Hmmm, it feels like we harp on these things quite often, and as the years go by, more and more scientists are studying these types of interventions and they are coming up with some staggering support for doing all these things. As with everything we suggest, we are merely the messengers, you get to decide what you want to do or not do, and how you want to live your life. We are just hoping you choose to do some of these things to help you stay biologically young for as long as you can. And by the way, I would be remiss not to mention that Myles will still happily point out that I am chronologically older than him to anyone who asks (however, I may be younger than him biologically..... just sayin' Myles!)