Healthy ageing is so important
Generally speaking, ageing is the collection of changes in your body over time. And it is something we will all experience.
At the molecular level, damage accumulates with time on DNA, proteins and lipids. This build-up of molecular changes eventually affects physiological processes, which may compromise your body’s ability to maintain a stable internal environment. That’s why healthy ageing is so important.
Consequently, as we age, we become more susceptible to the long-term effects of oxidative stress, where your body has too many free radicals. For those who don’t know, free radicals are unstable molecules generated by your body. Excess free radicals can lead to damaged cells. Factors including age, lifestyle, stress, cigarette smoking, illness, dietary habits and pollution can all cause free radicals.
Better Nutrition and Exercise Can Help
Have you heard of telomeres? They are the tiny caps on the end of DNA strands. Often compared to the tags that protect the tips of shoelaces, telomeres do a similar job with your DNA – they help protect it from damage. The rate of telomere shortening can be either increased or decreased by specific lifestyle factors. Stress, poor lifestyle habits and a lack of antioxidants can lead to increased free radical damage and more risk for damage to telomeres. As general ageing takes its toll on telomeres, you want to do all you can to help preserve them. Hence better dietary choices and exercise is needed as you grow older. This can help minimise the wear and tear of ageing. Intensive exercise and better nutrition has great potential to reduce the rate of telomere shortening or at least prevent excessive telomere attrition, leading to delayed onset of age related diseases and increased lifespan.
The best way to maximise your chances of experiencing good health as you get older is to follow good health practices throughout your life. Fortunately, it is never too late to start.