Many of my friends will remember when last year I made everyone sit cross-legged on the ground, and then try to get up without using their hands. One’s ability to perform this task, and to balance while doing so, is a surprisingly accurate indication of longevity.
I heard about this experiment while watching a BBC television series called ‘How To Stay Young’. This show presented the most up-to-date research around which lifestyle choices will increase longevity, and which will age us prematurely. It was both incredibly interesting and affirming; providing verifiable data to support what my family and I have intuitively known for years.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been watching the next instalment of ‘How To Stay Young’. Season 2 focuses on a group in the UK (50 to 80 year olds) who volunteered to be part of the study because they were worried they were aging ‘badly’. We watch as each participant is put through a number of physical and psychological tests to ascertain whether their birth age (their actual age) differs from their body age, and the results were incredibly disturbing. Every single person had a body age far above their birth age; the disparity between the two was 40 years for one participant!
Diet, fitness, stress levels and sleep patterns all affect how we age, and individual participants were used as case studies to showcase the effect of each on our health and longevity. What really boggled my mind was that in a period of only 12 weeks, participants could shave decades off their body age by fixing whatever aspect of their lifestyle was aging them prematurely.
The information presented in this documentary-series is engaging and relevant for all viewers, not just those in older demographics; from as early as 25 years old, your body/brain health shape your ultimate longevity. It is never to early, or too late, to make a difference.
There is only one more episode of this season on the ABC (next Tuesday, 23rd of January, at 8pm), but as the presenters explain the premise behind the show at the start of every episode, watch it if you can.
For the full season, go to ABC iview.
And in the meantime; stay young, look after yourself, live well.