The science of longevity, is there such a thing?
PerformancePro founder and director, Daniel Boulle, reflects on his own health and wellbeing, sharing his thoughts on how to navigate the mid-life years.
Good health and a long life are at the forefront of most people’s minds, usually those of us who are over the age of about 45.
The penny finally drops! All the years of keeping your nose to the grindstone, accumulating material wealth and a great pension only to face a health scare or worse, when you should finally feel free to enjoy the fruits of your labours.
Ok, I’m painting a pretty grim picture, but this is the reality for many people. So, what can we do about it?
The science of longevity
The science of longevity isn’t unequivocal, but I’ve taken what I believe are a few sensible steps to help ensure I’ll be around a long time to enjoy life.
- I’m continuing to work on an 8 hour window to gain 7 hours sleep. Sleep really is the great healer. It’s known to reduce the levels of cortisol, a highly anabolic hormone that can lead to obesity, amongst other things. Sleep is also key for good mental health and may well help reduce the chances of diseases associated with mental decline.
- I’m looking at my diet closely and trying to increase the variety of brightly coloured fruits berries and dark greens. In addition, I’ve reduced my caloric intake from meat-based protein and I’m also trying to take in fermented foods including sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar. This helps promote better gut health, thought to be hugely influential on brain health and chronic inflammation. As the scientific community continue to unlock the secrets of the microbiome in our gut, I believe the importance of gut health will form the central part of people’s efforts to remain healthy in years to come.
In conjunction with my changing food regime, I’m also doing 2 x 24 hour fasts per week. This has had a positive impact on my weight management, I’m down to my teen years weight. In addition, I have noticed improved mental acuity, behind the scenes I’m hoping to stimulate physiological changes too.
- Driving my body to repair and recycle mode whilst helping regulate my hormonal system, I’m hoping my body will improve its ability for glyconeogenesis – breaking down of fats to produce glycogen for energy and also autophagy whereby the body starts to clean up and recycle dead cells and debris. Along with these positive up regulations, I should also experience an increase in HGH (human growth hormone) and BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) both of which are super important for good brain health.
- As for exercise, well that’s changed too. With a body full of metal and arthritis I’ve moved almost exclusively to body weight exercises. However, my primary aim is to improve my VO2 max, basically my aerobic and anaerobic capacity. I’m slowly trying to move it towards an ‘Elite’ level. It’s not easy…BUT…it is postulated that having an elite level VO2 max (for your age group) may reduce your chances of morbidity from anything by up to a factor of 5. As Pete Attia, a leading physician focusing on the applied science of longevity, has said ‘no drugs can deliver those kind of results.’
So how am I getting on with the changes?
Not bad. My sleep is better and is definitely better whilst fasting. This leads to better productivity during the day and, all round, I just feel sharper. My body feels less achy and, on a day to day basis, I do feel I’m moving more freely.
Finally, I’m a lot leaner and the person I see in the mirror has a six pack again…well maybe a four and a half pack! But, all round at the age of 52, I’m feeling a step change mentally and physically. I’m embracing the science of longevity and I’m looking forward to receiving my telegram from whoever sits on the throne when I hit 100!
Check out PerformancePro Insights for more on sleep, nutrition, strength and conditioning.
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