Aging, something that we can’t escape. No one really knows why it happens. 30 years ago, a Russian biogenterologist (someone who studies aging) counted some 300 theories around why we might age, and the numbers haven’t shrunk since.

Aging is the process of single cells within an organism which have ceased dividing or reproducing.

Aging represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time and can encompass physical, psychological, and social changes. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while memories and general knowledge typically increase. Aging increases the risk of human diseases and of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, and about two-thirds die from age-related causes.

So how can we combat the aging process?

You can halt aging without diets or costly drugs. You just have to wait until you’re 105!

The odds of dying stop rising in people who are very old, according to a new study that also suggests we haven’t yet hit the limit of human longevity.

As we get older, our risk of dying soars. At age 50, for example, your risk of kicking the bucket within the next year is more than three times higher than when you’re 30. As we head into our 60s and 70s, our chances of dying double about every 8 years. And if you’re lucky enough to hit 100 years, your odds of making it to your next birthday are only about 60%.

Timeline of aging

At 24 you stop growing and are considered capable of fully adulting.

At 25 skin starts to age.

At 30 collagen levels are starting to decline, joints may start to ache.

At 40 hormone levels start declining by 1 percent a year. For women this happens rapidly but for men the process is slower and more gradual.

Women start showing signs of perimenopause around their 40-50’s, and it seems regular exercise can bring this process on sooner, but exercise can also relieve menopausal symptoms.

There are 34 signs of menopause. The most common being weight gain, fatigue, irregular periods, night sweats, anxiety etc.

Irregular periods can be a sign of many things – so ladies when it’s your period take iron supplements and do exercise through your period week. Not only will this combat the discomfort of a period, but it is the week where you are most like a man when it comes to sexual hormone profiling therefore are much more likely to hit a PB…. just think on that ladies! Follow Dr. Stacey Sims for more info around this.

The symptoms of menopause can be quite complex, and research shows that women have to visit their GP around 8 times before they receive treatment for their symptoms. What can you do in the meantime? Exercise regularly, include HIIT training for those hot flushes. Eat a nourishing diet that keeps you at a healthy weight.

Fellas, you don’t get off Scott free – you also start to experience andropause. This is the cessation and lowering of your hormones – yes, it is a thing. Unfortunately, testosterone starts to decrease, slowly with age, causing hair loss, lower sex drive, erectile function issues and that classic belly fat.

Also, as men age, not only does the body start making less testosterone, but also the levels of another hormone called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) begins to increase. SHBG binds to some of the available testosterone circulating in the blood. This means there is less testosterone doing what it should do causing weight gain, erectile function issues, higher risk of prostate cancer, grumpy man syndrome, mood swings and fatigue. What can you do about this? Lose weight, eat a high protein diet and exercise regularly.

At 50 you start to lose muscle at a faster rate – up to 3% of your muscle mass per year if you’re not trying to combat this. With this decreasing level of muscle comes a slower metabolic rate, reducing the number of calories you require and making you more susceptible to temperature changes. This decrease in muscle mass is called sarcopenia and it is your fast twitch muscle fibre you lose first; these fibres cannot be replaced once they’re gone so your job is to preserve as much of your fast twitch muscle fibres as possible, how? By including HIIT style training. Not only will this get you fit fast it will also help retain fast twitch muscle fibres which help keep you looking young!

HIIT, true HIIT, is fast 100% uncomfortable goodness, explosive movements done for around 20 seconds, followed by a short rest period and for no longer than 20 minutes 2-3 times a week. In fact, recent research shows that 10-minute HIIT protocols are as effective as a 1-hour workout.

At 60 your bones start to show signs of aging and it gets harder for your body to keep renewing cells. But it is not all doom and gloom! By this age you are generally, happier, more satisfied, and wealthier.

So, what’s been the common theme around combatting the aging process?

Eat a diet that maintains a healthy weight and exercise regularly, include HIIT style training.

Today, dietary interventions remain the most applicable and cost-efficient means of preventing and treating a wide variety of age-related diseases.

The most recent guidelines suggest a Mediterranean diet or anti-inflammatory diet is the way forward.

Reducing sugar, alcohol, red meats, processed foods, high saturated fats, and refined carbs.

Make sure your diet contains protein from beans, fish, and soya products such as tofu, gentlemen, tofu needs to become your new best friend for your prostate health. Learn to love it.

Include plenty of green veggies. Resistance starch from potatoes and kumara. And keep the skin on your veggies where possible.

Drink plenty of water. Most adults I see in my clinic are dehydrated. 8 glasses – 2 before breakfast, 2 between breakfast and lunch, 2 between lunch and dinner, 2 after dinner.

Another interesting piece of research and aging is around the benefits of fasting or calorie restriction. This has really grown in popularity over the years and does show some significant benefits.

Food restriction seems to be one of the key factors in combatting aging. Specific parameters around this are yet to be completely decided on but some kind of restriction in calories seems to be the way forward. So being in a calorie deficit is favourable as we age.

Some fasting options include:

  • 5:2 – 2 days very low calories, 5 days virtually normal calorie intake
  • Intermittent fasting – A period of hours where you consume only water during that time
  • Protein sparing modified fasting
  • Extreme or uncontrolled intermittent fasting can affect your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and lead to anxiety, insomnia, and sugar cravings – hello, weight gain!

Thank you for listening. Please do reach out if you feel you need help with your exercise, nutrition, or both.