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Slowing Down Aging and Keeping your Heart Healthy

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Avid Netflix fans will be familiar with Grace and Frankie, two seniors in their 70s who are living their life to the fullest. In their early 70s, both went through divorce and picked themselves up to kickstart not just their romantic lives but also their careers as well. As Grace Hanson, played by Jane Fonda, says it best, “Before when I was young, there was this big oak tree in the backyard, I could shoot up that sucker faster than any boy in the neighborhood, the best part was getting to the tippy top and looking down at the world. When I was up there, I feel like I could do anything. Inside, I still feel like that little girl.”


So how can you also imitate the same feisty and youthful attitude that both Grace and Frankie exude? Science explains us both the why and the how.


Researchers from South Korea published the first study showing why seniors who feel younger than their age feel the way they do. The study found that these seniors tend to score higher on memory tests and have lower chances of showing signs of depression because they exhibited fewer signs of brain aging and have more gray-matter in certain areas of their brain. Now you’re wondering, is it a matter of genetics or attitude?


Biology gives us a hint. The cells in our bodies comprise of chromosomes, which has telomeres attached on its tips. Telomeres are protective nucleotides that prevents chromosomes from deteriorating. As you may have guessed, seniors on average have shorter telomeres. The goal is then to slow down the deterioration of telomeres. To do so means changing some old habits to make time for better ones.


Making time for exercise everyday or a couple of days a week will help maintain a healthy resting heart rate. According to Harvard Health Publishing’s Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Howard LeWine, M.D., your resting heart rate is a good signal of future heart problems. A study published in the Journal of the American Association observed 29,000 people over a decade and concluded that those with resting heart rates increased from under 70 to over 85 has 90 percent more chance of dying during the course of the study. While that sounds overwhelming, note that that means between 8.2-17.2 deaths for every 10,000 people per year. To combat this, one way to decrease your resting heart rate is through exercise. If you reside in one of the many 55+ Apartments in Kansas City, KS, they should have programs that encourage physical activity.


Reducing stress is another method found to be effective in reducing your resting heart rate and slowing down aging. You can keep your stress levels low by practicing meditation, tai chi and yoga among other things. If you happen to live in one of the independent senior apartments in Warsaw Town, NY, activities like such would be available to residents. Scientists from UC San Francisco has verified it and published their studies on The Lancet Oncology. Their pilot study found that stress management coupled with diet, exercise, and social interaction is the magic combination that will result in longer telomeres, the same parts of chromosomes that affect aging.


In that same study, they found that the group who made significant changes in their diet, stress management, group support, and exercise ended up with longer telomeres--about a ten percent increase! This may mean reducing one’s chance of having one of the many age-related diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes among other things. Take advantage of the programs your community offers you and check their meal plans and physical activities. Even if you are in one of the retirement communities in Pittston City, PA, you should be able to find a home that offers these to you and more!