“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”
As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!
As we age we all think about many health tips we have learned along the way. But, emerging research suggests that taking care of our telomeres should be our top priority!
Elizabeth Blackburn is a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who studies telomeres. “If you think of your chromosomes (which carry your genetic material) as shoelaces, telomeres are the little protective tips at the end,” Blackburn explains during an interview with The Guardian.
“Telomeres wear down during our lives, and when they get too short they can no longer protect our chromosomes. These chromosomes then become inactive. When this occurs, there is an increased risk for major conditions and diseases of aging, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” explains Meghan Routt ANP/GNP-BC, AOCNP, who is the Director of Physician Services and the nurse practitioner in the Schafer Clinic at Wesley Glen.
Blackburn’s work surrounds her belief that we can lengthen our telomeres, or at least stop them from shortening, in order to stay healthier longer.
So, how may you protect your telomeres?
In summary, it’s the same message we’ve all been talking about lately – we need to improve our lifestyle by managing chronic stress, exercising, eating healthier, and getting enough sleep.
Blackburn suggests incorporating a combination of various exercises, such as walking, swimming, yoga, and weight-lifting, to increase telomere health. One interesting finding of the study is that moderate exercisers keep their telomeres as well as marathon runners.
According to Blackburn, a balanced diet centered around whole foods has a “quantifiable effect” on telomeres when compared to a diet high in processed foods.
It is good to remember that the daily choices we make impact the quality of our cells. So, make healthy food choices, get moving, and try meditation to reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep.
The cells you save may be your own.