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How to Turn Back the Clock on Aging, Say Experts

Start right now.

Turning back the biological clock is just the stuff of science fiction, right? Not quite. Recent studies have found that you can literally make yourself younger and increase your lifespan by making certain simple lifestyle choices. You can start doing some right now, right where you are. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Exercise This Way

woman in hiit class

A study recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may reverse the aging of cells and muscles in older people. "Based on everything we know, there's no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process," says Sreekumaran Nair, MD, the study's lead author. "These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine."

He added: "We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits."


And Play These Sports

woman serving the ball while playing a mixed doubles tennis match

Danish researchers recently found that regularly playing certain sports could extend your life expectancy by years—in one case, by nearly a decade. The top contributors to longevity: tennis (9.7 years), badminton (6.2 years), and soccer (4.7 years). The 25-year study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, noted that all three sports are highly social—potentially reinforcing previous research that's found social isolation and loneliness are associated with chronic illness and a shorter lifespan.

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Reduce Stress

Thoughtful businesswoman taking a moment to relax leaning back in her chair staring up into the air with her hands behind her head

This summer, researchers at Columbia University published a study that found gray hair really is caused by stress—and aging might be paused or even turned back. The scientists observed stressed-out people with graying hair; they found that hair regained its color when the source of stress was removed. "Our data add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human aging is not a linear, fixed biological process but may, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed," said Martin Picard, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral medicine. 

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Maintain Strong Relationships

Two mature women in conversation while walking with bicycle at park. Happy beautiful senior women walking in the park with bicycles in a spring time. Friends holding bikes and talking to each other.

And on that note: "People who are in happier, more satisfying relationships live longer," Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, told CNN recently. The study, which has been ongoing for nearly a century, tracks the effect of various life changes on longevity. One major finding: "The most important predictor of who was going to be a healthy, happy octogenarian was how satisfied they were in their relationships," said Waldinger. Experts say you should consider social interaction to be as important to your health as diet and exercise.

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Brush and Floss

middle aged bearded gray haired man brushing his teeth

Might be time to reschedule that dentist's appointment you've been avoiding for two years. According to a study published in the journal BMJ Open, people with high levels of dental plaque are 80 percent more likely to die prematurely of cancer than those who have a small amount of plaque—even after adjusting for other major risk factors. The potential culprit: Bodywide inflammation, which can start in gums irritated by plaque. Cancer isn't the only potential danger—inflammation is so linked with the aging process that it's spurred the nickname "inflammaging."  And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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