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2 Simple Ways to Slow Aging

Here in the greater Toronto area, I am noticing more traffic on the roads.  It appears that most countries are well on their way to systemically opening up non-essential services.

Chances are high that COVID-19 will linger and even spike again in the months ahead. Wearing a face mask when we go out and cleaning our hands with sanitizer or soap and water whenever we return home are prudent habits to maintain over the next year or three, and for the elderly and immuno-compromised, these habits should be maintained as a way of life during colder months, as they markedly reduce risk of experiencing a respiratory infection.

Anyone who doubts the efficacy of utilizing face masks to lower rate of spread should take a close look at the R0 value of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City vs. Seoul, Korea, two cities with similar population size and density. In South Korea, few people think twice about wearing a mask while out in public during cold and flu season, so the masses have been diligent about wearing masks as COVID-19 has spread globally. As of May 6th, 2020, Seoul had 2 reported deaths from COVID-19 while New York City reported over 19 thousand deaths attributed to COVID-19.

One reader asked for additional measures that we can take to stay healthy over the long term.

Beyond prioritizing getting restful sleep, taking time to breathe slowly from our diaphragm, and spend a few minutes daily opening up our spine, shoulders, and hips by hanging from a stable overhead bar, two other measures that clearly support longevity are:

1.  Eating less and reducing our window of eating on a daily basis, also called time-restricted eating.

For grown adults around the world, countless studies point to the strong correlation between a lower-than-average calorie diet and lifespan.  It's simple:  when we eat less overall food and allow ourselves to be truly hungry before we eat most of our meals, we lower our risk of all degenerative disease including cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Reducing the window within which we eat every 24 hours also lowers our risk of developing degenerative disease.  I generally suggest striving to eat within an 8-hour window if possible.  For example, to eat the first meal of the day at 11 am or 12 pm, and having a final meal no later than 7 or 8 pm, thus preserving 16 hours out of every 24-hour period for internal rest and rejuvenation.

In my experience, healthy fluids like water, herbal tea, vegetable juices, green food juices, etc. are fine to take outside of this window.  Even a cup of coffee without sugar is fine to take before the eating window begins.

For those whose circumstances are such that 8 hours is too small a window, I suggest aiming to have a 10-hour window.

2.  Regular exposure to uncomfortable temperatures that don't cause any lasting damage.

Spending some time in a sauna or taking cold showers force our bodies to activate balancing mechanisms via endocine and nervous system regulation - science clearly shows that this lengthens our telomeres, which are sections of DNA that lie at the ends of chromosomes that protect our cells from aging.  

Our telomeres gradually shorten with each passing year, but we can proactively lengthen and prevent shortening through intermittent exposure to hot and cold temperatures.  Even spending a few minutes in a cold or cool shower or 10-15 minutes in a sauna lengthens telomeres.  

Not surprisingly, we also protect and lengthen our telomeres when we get more sleep, exercise moderately, engage in mindful breathing, and avoid overeating.  

For some guidance on taking cool or cold showers, you can visit my blog post on this topic here:

https://drbenkim.com/health-benefits-cold-showers.htm

 
 

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