Many people assume that most of the ageing process has to do with genes. But, no. The huge chunk (70 to 80 % ) of aging process is influenced by environmental factors.
According to Professor Rose Anne Kelly, Professor of Gerontology, things regarding ageing are within one’s control. “I think we all pretty much know that diet and physical activity make a difference to a healthy, longer lifespan. But unexpected factors might surprise you. For example, friendship is important for healthy lifespan,” says Professor Kelly.
The quality of friendship and the frequency of engaging with friends is important for one’s well-being. It slows down biological ageing. Hence, befriend those who are trustworthy, supportive, jovial, humorous and produce positive vibes.
Another factor that slows down biological ageing is laughter. Children laugh something like 400 times a day, a research says. But as we get older, we don’t laugh as much. Having a good laugh can actually reduce stress levels, both autonomic system-related, that’s nervous system-related stress levels and hormones, circulating stress hormones and actually can decrease, in people who have had a heart attack, the recurrence of subsequent heart attacks. So make an effort to have a good laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.
It’s important to try and get a good night’s sleep. Usually between seven and nine hours. Too little or too much is not good for brain and heart functions. Now, sleep is more disrupted with ageing but there are ways we can manage sleep and help to ensure we get a better night’s sleep. And, it is really important. During sleep, our immune system, through a sticky agent called integrin, is released. And that helps killer T-Cells to fight viruses which might be attacking us at that time. So sleep helps at a biological level.
A cold shower or cold water swimming, actually wakens our biological system through a process called hormesis, which is very beneficial for slowing down negative or toxic ageing process in the cell and stimulating positive biological pathways in the cells. So if you can, a cold water shower every morning will make a difference and helps with immune responses to infections, as well as reducing the consequences of depression and helping you have a lighter, better mood. In doing so, we can have a longer, happier, better quality of life. (with inputs from BBC)