CHRONOLOGICAL AGE vs. BIOLOGICAL AGE
That is the answer.
Aging is, at its simplest description, a biological process, and it happens with any organic object whether that be a piece of fruit, a flower, an animal or humans.
Some people look older than they are while others the same age may look considerably younger, due to differences in the acceleration of their biological age relative to their chronological age.
Consider the differences.
What is Chronological Age?
Your chronological age is the number of years from birth to the present. It is the number we recite when someone asks us how old we are.
What is Biological Age?
Your biological age describes your body?s physical development based on biomarkers, which are recordable cellular and molecular processes in the body. It is also determined by the length of one?s telomeres, which are caps at the ends of DNA strands. Telomeres affect how the body?s cells age.
So, not only does a person with a younger biological age look younger, they are younger for all practical purposes (biologically).
The saying that ?age ain?t nothing but a number? holds true in this context for chronological age. Think about it. Look around. You?ll see it?s true.
You might ask: How does one slow down the biological aging process? Can it be done?
The answer is: YES!
You can slow the rate in which you age OR you can speed it up, depending on the choices you make.
Granted, there are factors that contribute to aging that are beyond our control like exposure to air pollution, genetic factors and time. But?there are many things that are within our control that we can alter to affect the way we age.
5 OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTORS THAT AFFECT BIOLOGICAL AGING
#1: Exercise vs. Little to No Exercise
Fitness is a major player in staving off the effects of aging. Why? Because staying fit involves moving the body and can include high-, medium- or low-impact aerobics or anaerobics, walking, running, resistance training, stretching exercises, Pilates, yoga, playing sports, practicing martial arts, dancing, etc.
Moving promotes good circulation, stimulates digestion, strengthens the heart, helps release body toxins and a host of other good benefits that help decrease inflammation in the body, which is associated with aging and disease.
If you?re sedentary, then you promote a build-up of toxins in the body and inflammatory responses that can lead to such negative effects as auto-immune disorders and other diseases.
Research shows that exercising at least 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week will keep your body fit.
#2: Cigarette Smoking vs. Not Smoking
One of the worst things you can do to abuse your body is smoke cigarettes. An article on the Mayo Clinic website states that smoking can accelerate the skin?s normal aging process. Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide (a poison) and over 4,000 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). The American Cancer Society reports that cigarette smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths generally and 87% of lung cancer deaths, specifically.
Other Bad Effects of Smoking
- One negative effect of smoking is skin wrinkling and age spots, due to narrowed blood vessels and reduced blood flow to the skin caused by nicotine consumption.
- Another bad effect of smoking is that it depletes oxygen in the bones, which can contribute to osteoporosis (brittle bones).
- Cigarette smoking can lead to hair loss, psoriasis, cataracts, dental problems, sagging skin, asthma, COPD and host of other conditions.
- Smoking cigarettes has a negative effect on the body?s organs, particularly the lungs and heart and can lead to blood clots, due to narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
All the above and more can age you biologically and make you look significantly older than you are.
If You Choose Not to Smoke
- Not smoking, on the other hand, significantly reduces many of the risk factors associated with diseases caused by cigarette smoking.
- Not smoking or quitting improves how you look because blood flow in your body is increased, your body and skin receives more nutrients and oxygen, which are essential to looking younger and being healthy.
Smoking is a modifiable risk, which means it is a habit that can be changed. Studies show that 45% of deaths due to cancer were caused by modifiable risk factors. This means that these deaths did not have to occur and could have been prevented by a lifestyle change.
#3: Bad Nutrition vs. Good Nutrition
The old saying, ?You are what you eat? has some truth to it, if you really think about it. Or, maybe it should say ?You look like what you eat?.
Another saying that is not so true is ?Beauty is only skin deep?.
The truth of the matter is: Beauty stems from the inside out and runs deep.
Many people do not realize how food plays a role in their appearance. Unhealthy eating habits cause you to age inside-out, not to mention gain weight. Check out this quote from Experience Life:
Nutrition, not age, determines the body?s internal chemistry, which in turn affects the quality and resilience of virtually every organ, cell, and system in the body.
Examples of what a bad diet consists of:
- Fried chicken
- Hot dogs
- Potato chips
- Burgers & fries
- Bacon & sausage
- Soda pops
- Fried pickles
Examples of what a good diet consists of:
- Lean meats (e.g., chicken, fish), grilled or baked
- Baked potatoes
- Healthy fats (e.g., olive oil)
Eating healthy most days of the week can have a significant positive affect on how old you look and how quickly or slowly you seem to age.
Why is this?
The reason the bad stuff is bad is because it is full of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and other toxic ingredients, such as MSG, trans fat and nitrites, to name a few. Heavy consumption of bad diet choices will take a toll on your appearance and cause you to look haggard, old and sick. Additionally, bad nutrition leads to diseases and conditions in the body that make a person look old and cuts years off the person?s life.
#4: Too Much Sun Exposure
Don?t get me wrong, some sun exposure is good for your health because it is the best way to ensure that your vitamin D levels are where they need to be.
However, overexposure to the sun is detrimental to the skin and too much sun can damage skin cells, causing the skin to develop age spots and become badly wrinkled, saggy, baggy and leather-like in appearance, which in turn makes you look a lot older.
Skin fibers called elastin become damaged over time by the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is why too much ultraviolet radiation from direct sunlight or tanning beds is the #1 cause of skin cancer as well as a major contributor to premature aging.
Sun tanning can result in damage to skin cells at the epidermis, which is sunburn. But even if the skin does experience a sunburn, what happens is skin pigment (or melanin) is increased during tanning and the color change on the skin is actually a sign of damage.
#5: Inadequate Water Intake
You?d be surprised by how simply drinking 6?8 glasses of water a day will change how you look and feel.
Think about it.
What happens to a plush field of land if it suffers a drought for a significant period of time? Right. It turns desert-like. Everything dries up. And when that happens what would you see if you looked around? The plush grass and plant life and trees and leaves would all be dry and brittle and changing colors and dying.
Conceptually, it is the same with our bodies, if we don?t drink enough water.
The body needs adequate water intake to function properly. Water is well-used by the body. It regulates metabolic and chemical reactions in the body and maintains body temperature to sustain the body?s systems and functions of all its organs, tissues and cells. Water also helps transport nutrients throughout the body and help flush out waste and keep the skin healthy.
Now, with all that being said, everything that water does for the body has much to do with how the body ages. If the skin, cells, organs and tissues are not adequately hydrated, they will begin to dry out and malfunction.
Premature aging occurs when you don?t take in enough water, among other adverse effects, because the body is constantly losing water and must be adequately rehydrated. Water is lost by sweating, digestion and breathing.
So drink plenty of water and eat foods that contain water (i.e., whole fruits) daily!
The condition of your health, particularly how it relates to how healthy your brain, bones and connective tissue, is influenced by what you eat and drink and determines how fast you age.
Regular consumption of good diet choices (most days of the week), not smoking, exercising. drinking plenty of water and reducing sun overexposure helps to keep you healthier and looking younger.
Another Way to Look Younger
Have clear, acne-free skin. If you or someone you care about is having trouble getting rid of acne.
So, there you have it!
This is one explanation of what causes some people to look older than their age and others to look younger. These are preventable, but there are other preventative factors as well.
Information in this article was sourced from the sources listed below AND based on my own personal experience AND observation. The article is not medical advice and should not be looked at as such. Please consult your physician before trying any of the suggestions in this article.
American Cancer Society | Information and Resources about for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Skin
Better health, Everyday Health: Trusted Medical Information, Expert Health Advice, News, Tools, and Resources
Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging
Smoking: Does it cause wrinkles?
WebMD ? Better information.
Why Water Is Key for Anti-Aging | Heart MD Institute ? Dr. Stephen Sinatra?s Informational Site
Images Sources: Creative Commons