If you are someone who feels younger than the age indicated in your driving license, a new survey suggests that you may not only be in your head.
According to a recent CNN report, Yale Medical School experts say people have two ages: a chronological age, your age based on when you were born, and a phenotypic or biological age, which is the age in which your body works.
In other words, you may have 80 years, but have health at the age of 65.
"In my laboratory, we are working on many different types of aging measures," said Professor Yale and researcher Morgan Levine on CNN. "One of the latest is based on the blood measures you receive when appointing your normal doctor. We basically take them and combine them using different algorithms to get what we call someone's phenotypic age or biological era."
Levin explained that this testing reveals how your body works compared to the average physical or health levels for your age.
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"People of the same chronological age are not all with the same risk of developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying," Levin said. "What [the biological age] in fact, gives us a better idea of where someone stands for their age. "
Dr. Michel Sirel, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and author of Retirement and dissatisfaction: Why will not we stop working, even if we can, agrees that people can have a biological age that differs from their real age.
"In maturity, the chronological era is really good at predicting your next birthday and some health problems," she told Global News. "But there is great variability in adults, especially when it comes to physical, functional abilities.
"In my work, I have seen retired Olympic athletes in their 70s, whose strength and ability to move is more than 20 years of age and others who stopped practicing completely when they withdrew from the podium, so that in the 50s their biological era is probably much closer to the 80-year-old. "
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How can you determine the biological era?
Yale researchers identified "nine biomarkers taken with a simple blood test that seemed to be most influential in their lifespan," CNN reported. These include blood sugar, kidney and liver measures, and immune and inflammatory measures.
The team then enters the data of a person in a computer and the algorithm determines their biological era. Levin says people with a biological era lower of their real age have a lower mortality risk, while those with older biological ages are more at risk for health problems and disease development.
On top of the physical risks, Silver said that if someone's biological age is greater than their real age, it can affect their mental well-being.
"It can also mean that they do not move, nor do they look good as their peers," she explained. "So [if] their physical abilities are less than optimal, psychologically they may feel less capable, which can lead to a downward spiral. "
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What affects aging?
So if the key to living longer is a lower biological age, what factors influence your ability to keep the young?
Silver said factors such as genetics, the environment in which you live, lifestyle, exercise and exercise habits play a role in how you age. She stressed that stress also affects aging, because chronic stress can lead to an increased risk of illness and mental health problems.
"Being physically active and socially engaged in later stages of life can affect how we age," added Silver.
How to "slow" aging
A good thing in the biological era is that it can often be changed.
"Life definitely plays a role in aging," said Silver. "Factors such as eating and how often you move on a daily or even hour basis is important at every stage of your life."
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Silver acknowledged that the older we receive can be a difficult movement. Despite this, she said that people should create opportunities to be physically active to what is possible.
"For most of us, sitting on a table for the greater part of maturity is not good for the aging process," she said.
And while the physical movement is the key, mental and social engagement also helps to "slow down" the body drop. Silver said that seeing others and maintaining connections is important, just as we stay in touch with reading or listening to news helps us stay sharp.
"One starter top that links [my advice] collect a public library card together, go to the library (try not to choose the closest to you), get some books, read them, repeat them, "she said.
"Maybe he joined a book club, too."
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