In a number-obsessed world, even with 40 being the new 30, hitting bigger numbers each year can give pause for many people. What if your real age isn’t the number of candles on your birthday cake, but closer to the “You are as young as you feel” motto?
The age we (usually) tell people is our chronological age – the number on our birth certificate. How old we really are is our biological age, our real age.
The term RealAge© was popularized in 1999 by Dr Michael Roizen and Dr Mehmet Oz (yep, that Dr Oz…aka Oprah’s Dr Oz) who wrote the “You” book series. Around Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be? sprouted the whole “new” idea that we can make a dent in our chronological age by living well.
What we eat, how we eat, who we eat with, and how often we eat are some of these factors. But it’s not only about dietary or exercise trending or even the usual family medical history we get questioned about. It’s also our support group, our outlook on life, and our emotional wellness. “Staying upbeat can make your RealAge 5.2 years younger.”
Unlike our chronological age, we have control over whether we are aging faster or slower than the calendar. It’s entirely possible to keep de-aging or at least stabilizing at a certain age. In fact, one Real Age© Test taker was 19 years younger than the chronological age!
We all now know the powerful effects of the mind. In the Biology of Belief, Dr Bruce Lipton shares with us how it isn’t our DNA that is the final determining factor in our biological destiny. The expression of our genes is dependent on the environment. It is our interaction (and perspective and beliefs) that packs the punch. How we age is tied into our countless beliefs surrounding that and the process of aging is not a linear march down the timeline.
Our biological age reflects our current level of health and is not on a constant trajectory. Health is not merely the absence of illness, but the well-being of mind, body, and spirit. It’s not only about fueling our body but also nourishing every aspect of our being.
Life is active and complacency ramps up our biological age. One key measure is flexibility, on all levels. How resilient we are and how optimistic we feel make a significant difference in our wellness. It’s not about being nimble enough to dodge all of life’s curve balls but understanding that life does throw us some doozies and knowing that we are in control and can move forward. We adapt. We figure it. We are able and supported.
This is how we close the gap between our chronological and biological age, and then widening it again as the number for our biological age drops.
The RealAge© website offers a plethora of tests, including the RealAge© Test. With new research findings and thinking on the importance of emotional well-being, the RealAge© Test has been updated, an overhaul that took two years in the making. According to The Science Behind the Test, these changes make the test more accurate in pinpointing your real age. The test takes into account genetics, lifestyle, medical history and status, and other factors such as your emotional state, stress levels, and yes, even your sex life. Knowing your stats (blood pressure and cholesterol) would generate an even more accurate result.
The real bonus is the analysis of what’s aging you and what’s de-aging you so you know what you are doing “right” and what you could look into improving. Some, like having a regular healthy breakfast, are well-versed and some, like “maintain your sense of purpose”, are good reminders. Here’s what the test had to say about this:
Keep feeling good about what you’ve done in the past and what you hope to do in the future. Having a sense of purpose gives your health and longevity a big boost.
Here’s why: Understanding your key goals in life and trying to reach them can help you live longer.
Studies suggest that your well-being is directly affected by the fulfillment you get from the activities you spend most of your energy on, whether it’s going to a job each day, raising kids, working in the garden, or volunteering.
According to the Real Age website, a daily 30-minute walk and “if daily walks help keep your blood pressure at 115/70, that alone can make your RealAge up to 12 years younger.”
But the old adage of “you are as young as you feel” or “you are only as old as you think you are” are only good indicators. Because after all, no test can standardize the progress of human processes nor quantify your level of happiness and contentment. The key? Do more of what you love!