This is how you futureproof your body
Author: Hayley Alexander
Strengthen your immune system
I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever?”
The lyrics by Alphaville in the 80’s hit Forever Young open up the notion that when it comes to longevity, we have choices – and truth be told, we do.
Advancements in hygiene, food supplementation, preventive medicines and health screening technologies are life-extending factors that have become far more accessible, affordable and widespread.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine published a study in the journal Nature that laid out evidence for an expanding human lifespan, highlighting that there are more centenarians living today than ever before.
According to the authors of the study, the possibility of living well beyond 110 years is far greater than ever before, noting that the oldest people alive today have only had recent access to these advancements.
While we can’t predict natural disasters and unforeseen traumatic events, we can make every effort to futureproof our bodies by looking after our health. Health|Insite experts, Dr Denis Cronson and Dr Jedd Myers, discuss the factors that may contribute toward longevity.
1. Blended training
It is widely accepted that cardiorespiratory fitness is one of the key predictors of longevity, but having a healthy heart is not the only factor when it comes to prolonging your lifespan.
According to Dr Cronson, “a blended training approach” that challenges all components of fitness – being strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, as well as cardiovascular exercise – is ideal.
“As one ages the body changes and we often see old people falling,” says Dr Myers, relating causes of injury to musculoskeletal tissue, balance, posture deterioration and neurological factors. A blended training approach, suggested by Cronson, may help prevent some of these injuries.
Another incidental indicator of longevity is dental hygiene, particularly favouring those who floss.
According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Research, “brushing teeth before bed, using dental floss daily, and visiting the dentist” were all considered to be significant mortality reducing factors.
Dr Myers says, “generally if one looks after their teeth, it’s assumed that they also maintain adequate hygiene practices extending to other areas of life, preventing infections that can lead to disease”.
Sleep hygiene is also important not just for your mental health but for your future self. Cronson adds that “following a routine by establishing a regular sleep-wake cycle helps build resilience”.
There are also lifestyle choices we make that can be detrimental to our longevity. “Being a non-smoker, avoiding narcotics and practising safe sex are extending non-negotiable behavioural factors that will have an impact on longevity,” Myers adds.
4. Nutrition and supplementation
It goes without saying that having a healthy diet will have meaningful effects on anti-ageing. “Eating foods that are high in antioxidants and supplementing with pre-and probiotics helps decrease inflammatory responses in the body and are great for maintaining healthy skin too,” says Dr Cronson, stressing the importance of good nutrition.
If you are proactive about wanting to live to a ripe old age, don’t forget to go for regular health checks. This includes testing blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels, cancer screening (mammograms for women over the age of 45) and prostate examinations (for men over the age of 55), as well as vaccinations.
Dr Cronson concludes that “if you are not in surveillance mode for preventable illnesses – you are taking a risk”.
There is no magic pill or suit of armour when it comes to preserving life. Futureproofing your body is a commitment only you can make. That said, take action today and perhaps you’ll be ringing in the year 2121.