Death is the eternal challenge of science. Since the time of Qin Shi Huang, aging has been thought to be something that cannot be conquered, but surprisingly, the science of aging is developing at a very rapid pace.
A child born today will live on average three months longer than its older sibling born last year. In 1800, life expectancy was 40 years, but in 200 years it will more than double, and you can easily expect to live to be 85 years or older. Humanity is winning repeatedly in the war against aging.
Rose Ann Kenny, a Trinity College physician and professor of gerontology, has been at the forefront of research into the science of aging for 35 years. She argues that if we break away from superstitions and start practicing based on science, we can escape the curse of aging and spend the last year of our lives in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
This book explains the biological, social, and psychological foundations of the aging process and analyzes various ways to defy aging, including exercise, sex, mindfulness meditation, diet, human relationships, and active participation in life.
Blue Zone is a place that will unlock the secrets of aging. Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, California, USA, Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Ikaria, Greece. This area is all by the sea, and has the highest proportion of people over 100 years old. Not only do they live longer, but they also have better stamina and are less likely to get sick. There are many cases of people here living healthy and physically active lives even beyond the age of 100.
Blue zones have several things in common. Having purpose and curiosity in life, enjoying diversity, laughter, friendship and belonging, and having close and strong relationships with friends and family over meals and drinks. Another thing is a clear purpose in life. In Okinawa, there is research showing that having a purpose in life, called ikigai (生きがい), increases lifespan by about 7 years.
The author deepened his research based on the knowledge gained from Blue Zone. He led the Irish Longitudinal Aging Study by tracking over안전놀이터 9,000 adults aged 50 and older and published more than 400 papers. The bottom line is that aging is caused by a combination of many factors, but about 80% of them are within our control.
In fact, biological aging begins very early. Starting in your 30s, the aging process takes root within your cells. Biological age and actual age are very different, and a study in New Zealand tracked 1,000 young adults aged 38 and found that their aging clocks were 20 years different. Moreover, the rate of biological deterioration was evident in all organ systems, including lungs, teeth, heart, kidneys, and bones. Acceleration of aging occurs universally. It suggests that there is a common mechanism that explains aging, and that an ‘elixir of youth’ can also be created.
In fact, research through genomes has become a ‘game changer.’ DAF2 has the greatest impact on the aging process by studying chromosomes in our body.The gene was found. It was discovered that the activity of this gene controls cellular aging. It also regulates the activity of insulin and growth hormone. In linear animals, making even a small change to this gene doubled lifespan.
Scientists who set out to find the elixir of youth are also introduced. David Snowden’s 1991 longitudinal study tracked the health of 678 nuns and even studied their brains after death. An important fact was revealed through a study of a homogeneous group of people who were all unmarried, had no children, had worked as teachers all their lives, and had similar income, diet, and environment. The attitude and temperament of one’s youth are important. When all the nuns wrote letters at age 20 and compared their aging status 60 years later, they found that the nuns who expressed more positive emotions lived on average about 10 years longer and had a lower rate of dementia than the less optimistic nuns.
Friendship also plays a big role. Even among animals, studies have shown that sociable species such as baboons, dolphins, and rats live longer on average. Friendships also help relieve stress, heart disease, and inflammation. Friendship is innate and stimulates the brain, improving cognitive abilities.
The relevance of sex life is also underestimated. For most couples, sexual activity has a deep correlation with quality of life. People who are sexually active have a better quality of life even in old age. They were less likely to consider themselves old and less likely to believe that aging would have negative consequences.
The value of a good night’s sleep is also emphasized. In the author’s aging study, those who slept less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours a day after the age of 50 had problems with memory, concentration, and learning ability. During sleep, the spaces between brain cells are filled with cerebrospinal fluid, flushing out toxins accumulated during the day. This is a key prevention method for dementia.
The most important lesson of this book is that attitude is important. The younger you feel, the younger your biological age becomes. Eileen Ash got her driver’s license in her 80s and continues to drive at the age of 105. Every day she takes a brisk walk and does yoga. Armed with courage, her belief in herself, and an optimistic attitude, she lives a passionate life. The author also derived research results showing that people with a positive attitude toward aging live 7.5 years longer.
Living to 100 years is not far away. In the end, muscles, sleep, laughter and love are the best medicine.