Aging and inflammation go hand in hand. Learn what most of us are doing every day to make the process worse, and what we can do to fix it.
The visible effects of aging are different for everyone, which is super unfair, if you ask us.
Aging affects us on a genetic level.
But rather than lament early crow’s feet or thinning hair, we decided to ask doctors what aging really is—what causes declining health over time—in the hopes of learning how we can slow down the unpleasant bits of growing older while enjoying the wisdom and greater clarity that often show up around the same time as your first gray hairs.
What we found out suggests that our lifestyles need to seriously change if we plan to keep a youthful look well into our golden years.
So if you want to get carded at the gas station for the rest of your life, watch out for these things, which have all been associated with wear and tear on our bodies themselves:
1. Your Contemporary Job
The sedentary lifestyle is literally killing us. Studies suggest that women who spend at least six hours a day in a chair are 34 percent more likely to die early, and their cancer risk increases by 10 percent. The risk of early death for similarly sedentary men is 17 percent.
One study even indicated that standing up every 30 minutes throughout the day can have similar health benefits as quitting smoking.
Either way, the picture is bleak.
And the problem goes deeper than a simple lack of exercise, says Heather Hamilton, MD, a family medicine physician at Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Houston.
“This is not just about getting regular exercise, but also pertains to prolonged periods of sitting,” Hamilton tells HealthyWay. “Recent studies show that sitting too long can lead to higher mortality and early death. One study even indicated that standing up every 30 minutes throughout the day can have similar health benefits as quitting smoking.”
Maybe you’ve heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” That’s pretty much what this study says, just with a lot more data and hard-to-read scientific lingo. There’s no shortage of studies showing how important it is to get off of our heinies every once in awhile.
But it’s not that simple. So many of our jobs require us to sit at computers for eight hours a day. What can we do to mitigate the damage our careers are dealing to our bodies?
Reporting by the Washington Post that included interviews with doctors, researchers, and biomechanists offers a few solutions. Sit on an exercise ball at work, they say. When you’re watching TV, get up and walk around every time there’s a commercial.
Whatever you do, make sure you get up and move every half hour, as Hamilton mentions. If you have one of those seat-warming jobs, do whatever you can to get out of the chair, she recommends.
“This is applicable to many people with sedentary jobs,” Hamilton says. “People can simply stand and move at [their] work station, walk down the hall, or take a bathroom break.”
These are small things, but they add up over a lifetime—which may be considerably longer if you follow these suggestions.