Taking steps for a
By Michael F. Roizen, M.D.
MOST OF US TEND TO have the same view about the way people age: As
we grow older, we start losing things. We lose some hair, lose our minds, lose
our balance, lose our eyesight, lose a little of this and a lot of that—until we
eventually wither away into a hunched-over senior who takes 3-inch steps
and eats dinner at 4 p.m.
But thinking that a life of frailty is an inevitable outcome of aging is a mistake. In fact, thinking that you have to age at the same rate as your neighbor
is the first myth to forget. After all, you have the power to change your rate
of aging by making smart choices about the way you live. Here are the main
principles for living younger—and better (and happier and healthier and …
aw, you get the point).
Aging fact 1: You can choose your age
Whether you look at clocks, calendars or hourglasses,
time doesn’t stop. It ticks and tocks at the same pace day after
day, minute after minute, second after second.
Everyone ages at the same rate with
birthdays every year—that’s your calendar
age. But you have the power to turn your
clock faster or slower with the lifestyle
choices you make regarding what you do
with your body and what you put into it. For
example, a 50-year-old who douses her lungs
with nicotine and builds her food pyramid
with chopped liver and sausage actually may
have the body of a 65-year-old because of the
destruction she’s doing, while a 50-year-old
who eats well, stays away from toxins and
takes care of her body with moderate physical activity could have the body
and health of a 36-year-old.
That is, the actual age of your body—your RealAge—can be many years
older or younger than your calendar age. (You can determine your RealAge
for free at www.realage.com.)
To show you the power you have, consider this: You control more than
70 percent of how well and how long you live. By the time you reach 50, your
lifestyle dictates 80 percent of how you age; you largely get to control your
genes (more on that later).