How to Avoid Aging Poorly, According to Doctors
A longevity expert reveals four habits to help you age better.
Unfortunately, no doctor in the world has figured out how to stop aging altogether. However, medical experts do have some insight on how to slow the process and avoid aging poorly. Neil Paulvin, DO, a New York-based doctor who specializes in longevity and anti-aging medicine, is revealing his four secrets to healthy aging – and you might be surprised how easy it can be.
According to Dr. Paulvin, there are two factors that impact how someone ages. The first is genetics, he tells Best Life. "It's estimated that about 10 percent of your lifespan is determined by genetics, meaning that we can see the impact of aging by looking to our immediate family members, like our parents."
The second factor, which is much more controllable, is lifestyle. "When it comes to lifestyle, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, nutrition, and UV exposure all play a role in aging," he says.
To avoid aging poorly, Dr. Paulvin explains that it's important that you're building healthy daily habits. "I call it the 'Core Four,'" he explains.
Participating in regular exercise and stretching will help to extend your mobility, as well as improve your overall health, explains Dr. Paulvin. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Getting enough sleep – "ideally 7-8 hours a night," he suggests – is key for longevity. What are the health benefits of sleep? According to the Sleep Foundation, getting enough z's is a mood booster, promotes heart health, regulates blood sugar, improves mental function, restores your immune system, helps relieve stress, and aids in weight loss.
The fourth habit is hydration, "drinking lots of water," he says, and diet. Dr. Paulvin suggests eating a diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains that "will help to keep your body nourished." One thing to avoid? Processed foods.
Lastly, make sure you're taking care of your mental health. "Reducing your stress and increasing happiness is one key to longevity," explains Dr. Paulvin. "Not only will working on your mental health increase your quality of life, studies suggest that those who are happier may even live longer."
How will doing these things help prevent aging poorly? "These habits will strengthen your muscles and mitochondria, leading to a more healthful life," concludes Dr. Paulvin.