Everyone hopes to age gracefully and while there’s no miracle anti-ageing treatment quite yet, there are still plenty of things that everyone can do to keep themselves looking and feeling a bit younger for longer. In fact, a recent study by the American Heart Association has revealed the eight ways that people can slow their body’ ageing process by up to six years.
The best part of the study is that almost anyone can do it! The findings of the study, which are based on data from more than 6,500 adults with an average age of 47, are being presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference in Philadelphia.
Good cardiovascular health has previously been linked to better health outcomes in later life and the positive effects of things such as exercise on the human body are already well studied. However, this study posits that taking positive measures to preserve cardiovascular health can slow the overall biological ageing of the body.
The eight measures that the study posits as being able to slow ageing were:
While these measures have been recommended plenty of times before, the quantifiable effects may be enough to make even the most unwavering neglectors reconsider.
Researchers found that the people in the study with the best cardiovascular health were about six years younger biologically (which is the pace at which they have aged for each year alive) than their chronological age. The eight measures focused upon in the study are known as Life’s Essential 8, which is the AHA’s assessment tool for cardiovascular health.
“These findings help us understand the link between chronological age and biological age and how following healthy lifestyle habits can help us live longer,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, the chair of the writing group for Life’s Essential 8.
To measure a person’s phenotypic (biological) age, the researchers examined their metabolism, organ function and inflammation. Phenotypic age acceleration is the difference between one’s biological age and chronological age, with higher values indicating faster biological ageing.
Even after accounting for social, economic and demographic factors, researchers found having a high Life’s Essential 8 score, which indicates good cardiovascular health, was associated with a biological age six years lower than chronological age amongst study participants.
The senior study author Nour Makarem, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre had this to say about the findings of the study:
“We found that higher cardiovascular health is associated with decelerated biological ageing, as measured by phenotypic age. We also found a dose-dependent association – as heart health goes up, biological ageing goes down.”
For example, the average chronological age of those with good cardiovascular health was 41, but their average biological age was 36. The average chronological age of those with poor cardiovascular health was 53 but their average biological age was 57.
“Greater adherence to all Life’s Essential 8 metrics and improving your cardiovascular health can slow down your body’s ageing process and have a lot of benefits down the line,” said Makarem.