Last week, Joe Biden became the oldest president in American history, a title previously held by Ronald Reagan who was 77 when he left office. President Biden, who turned 78 on Nov. 20, was born in 1942 during World War II.
With the inauguration taking place just last week, it’s a great time for men to take a look at their lifestyle habits to ensure they’re setting themselves up to age gracefully and live their best lives at any age.
Dr. Myles Spar, an expert in integrative men’s health and the Chief Medical Officer of Vault Health, has outlined four science-backed tips for men to age gracefully.
“We all want to believe that we get better with age, but growing older can often make a man feel more like a broken-down beater than a classic car. Luckily, it is possible to handle the process with strength and integrity. Try a modern approach to aging gracefully with these four steps,” says Dr. Spar.
1. Keep Moving
You lose 5-7 pounds of muscle mass every 10 years starting in your 30s, and this number only goes up after 50, according to Men’s Fitness. Your metabolism also slows down, making it harder to keep your weight in check, and your aerobic capacity decreases. Want to stay toned and trim but don’t have a ton of time for exercise? Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A recent study found this type of vigorous exercise may stop or even reverse the decline in the cellular health of your muscles that accompanies aging. Just make sure to give yourself enough time to stretch. “I probably don’t need to tell you that we lose flexibility as we age, but even a few minutes of light stretching every morning can make a difference,” says Dr. Spar.
2. Eat Well
Do you find yourself struggling to hit the gym as hard as you used to? Are you having a tough time keeping up with the younger guys at work? The solution to these problems may be as simple as adjusting your diet. As Dr. Spar explains here, the right foods can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing heart disease and other illnesses that tend to become more of a concern as you get older. Not sure what constitutes eating well? Research suggests eating whole foods (with an emphasis on plants) is one of the best ways to improve your health—and possibly extend your lifespan. Forks Over Knives reports that, according to a soon-to-be-released Harvard study, approximately one-third of early deaths—almost 200,000 per year—could be avoided if people switched to a plant-based diet. And many experts believe that intermittent fasting can lead to increased longevity, among other benefits.
3. Take Care of Your Skin
Your skin is one of the first things people notice about you, and the way it looks plays a big role in how people perceive your age (not to mention your overall attractiveness). While you’re smart to be skeptical about products claiming to make you look twenty again, there are many options out there that have been scientifically proven to smooth wrinkles, reduce sun damage, and more. For example, topical use of hyaluronic acid may “plump” skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles by retaining moisture.
It’s probably a given that loneliness takes a toll on your mental health, but did you know it can actually affect your genes—and maybe even shorten your life? Research suggests being lonely can have a negative impact on telomeres, the segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes that shorten each time a cell divides and may indicate how long we’ll live. Longer telomeres are associated with slower aging, fewer age-related diseases, and generally greater life spans. In a study of African grey parrots in captivity, those who were housed alone had shorter telomeres compared to those who lived with a companion bird. This finding supports a growing body of evidence showing that social isolation and other stressors can be detrimental to our telomeres. Loneliness can also increase your risk of depression, cognitive decline, heart disease, and other serious conditions in ways similar to obesity and smoking. Schedule a dinner or Zoom call with a buddy you haven’t seen in a while or consider volunteering in your community, which gives you a chance to help others while you interact with them.
Visit vaulthealth.com/consumer-health for more tips and resources.