I’ve got great news for you: it’s time to stop worrying about your longevity.
Research shows we’re living significantly longer — heading toward triple digits — and that’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing.
Instead, focus on your healthspan. While age is just a number from a psychological standpoint, enjoying those extra digits in good health is worth working on in advance.
This isn’t news to Further readers. To #keepgoing, you know it’s all about diet, exercise, and purpose. Now for the even better news: in the next five to 12 years, there may be medicine that effectively prolongs your lifespan and your healthspan.
It’s all thanks to senolytics, the emerging science that’s tackling age-related decline. And it’s our generation that will be the first crop of seniors to stay younger, longer.
The science of anti-aging
While aging itself isn’t a disease, it is a gateway to disease and decline. The older you get, the more you accumulate senescent cells, which don’t reproduce or divide naturally and cause inflammation and tissue dysfunction. These so-called “zombie” cells release a variety of lethal substances that infect healthy cells — making you a frail, easy target for age-related illnesses.
Leading research on the impacts of senolytics has shown that “genetic tricks” to eliminate senescent cells can dramatically extend life and healthspan in mice. Based on this success, a company called Unity Biotech is now raising funds to develop medicine that will work in humans, with current clinical trials targeting age-related issues such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and pulmonary diseases like emphysema.
While promising, it’s going to be a while before anti-aging wonder drugs are ready for us humans. Until then, no time to rest on your laurels.
Don’t cell yourself short
Knowing that senescence and “epigenetic” issues (related to reading genetic code in your cells) are wreaking havoc on your body as you age, there are research-backed ways to create senescent effects.
Harvard geneticist David Sinclair, for example, talks about “hormesis” — the practice of inducing metabolic stress through short, intense exercise or intermittent fasting.
Sinclair says it well:
Every day, try to be hungry and out of breath.
In other words, if you want to increase your healthspan, maybe it’s time to get serious about HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and eating only during specific window of time. That’s the fast track to ensuring you stay young at a ripe old age.
- The science of senolytics: how a new pill could spell the end of ageing (The Guardian)
- Can We Live Longer But Stay Younger? (The New Yorker)