Aging affects major systems of an organism through a complex series of regressive processes. Scientists believe that to achieve longevity all core degenerative mechanisms should be affected simultaneously. Gerontologists are always searching for a deeper understanding of the dynamics of longevity for seniors or the elderly. They wonder whether there is a biological limit that no one can surpass regardless of optimal living conditions or presence of favorable genes. Scientific insights help people make twilight years more healthy, independent and active. Some experts say a number of aspects concerning vitality and overall health are influenced by the genes and the behavior of mothers during pregnancy. Additional aspects include weight, diet and physical fitness; they play a key role in determining longevity. According to a report published by the BBC, studies have shown that unborn babies are affected by lifestyle choices of mothers; highly stressed mothers may give birth to child that will not be able to handle stressful situations well. While, alcohol abuse can have a negative impact on the child’s memory and physical condition. Scientific research shows that poor diet during pregnancy alters the baby’s DNA, which in turn increases the risk of obesity. Smoking pregnant mothers also put the health of the unborn baby at risk. Scientist also believe that a happy childhood has the capacity boost lifespan; unhappiness is linked to greater risk of heart disease as adults.
It is common for some people to use anti-aging therapy as a means to counteract degenerative processes. The therapy is designed to halt cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with aging. It restores neuroendocrine regulation to youthful levels and revitalizes tissues. However, the more practical reasons behind longer lives focus on a healthy lifestyle. Experts recommend getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air and sunlight, which is a source of vitamin D. Medical practitioners say every one in four children is faced with vitamin D deficiency. The nutrient promotes healthy bones by improving the absorption of phosphorus and calcium. Exercise minimizes the chances of developing cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Regular exercise helps individual manage stress, depression and anxiety by bolstering mental health. It becomes easier to maintain the ideal weight and minimize the risk of developing diabetes. Runners enjoy improved capacity to protect themselves against osteoporosis by boosting bone density. Recent studies also link loneliness or lack of an active social life to shorter lives. On the other hand, researchers say married people generally live longer than those who prefer to stay single. Experts attribute the phenomenon to better social support networks. Avoiding junk food is another vital component to longer healthy lives. Food with high levels of carbohydrates (sugars) or fat can lead to obesity.
Some studies link longer lives to economic status; higher paid workers tend to live longer due to improved access to better healthcare. Sir Michael Marmot, professor at University College London is convinced that social standing contributes more to longevity than good healthcare and diet. He says it is not about money but greater control over one’s life and playing a meaningful role in society. He recommends that governments must invest in quality education to increase life expectancy of citizens. Sir Marmot says people should feel they are part of the community and hence the need to strength all levels of communities. He attributes Japan’s higher life expectancy on social cohesion as evidenced by its smaller prison population and lower crime rates. On another note, researchers in Boston discovered that siblings of centenarians generally live longer and have an increased chance of reaching 100 years. This has led scientists to believe that people who live longer lives possess genes capable of protecting them from diseases.