Most of us worry about getting older. Will our health deteriorate? Will we become dependent - or even burdensome - to others? Ensuring wellness and vitality during your golden years starts with establishing a healthy lifestyle that will prevent future illnesses.
First, a quick anatomy lesson: Whether "youth" is defined as physical strength, appearance or the sharpness of one's mental facilities, it all begins on a cellular level. Telomeres are located on the cell's DNA and play a crucial role in the creation of new cells.
As we age and grow, new cells are created - and each and every one needs some of your DNA's telomeres. When there's none left, that's when our DNA starts to fray causing many of the problems we associate with old age like frailty, impaired memory and weakness.
But what if you could add years to your life, tap into a fountain of youth and beat the agony that comes with age? To do just that, Dr. Oz is sharing 5 tips that will increase your overall health and maintain our telomeres so that cells can continue to reproduce.
1. and 2. Exercise
You knew it was coming - and in fact, it's so important that it gets 2 of the 5 spaces on this list: one for weight training and one for aerobic exercise. While exercise might be something you dread, physical activity is more than a common-sense weight loss method. On the cellular level, exercise can elongate your telomeres.
A well-rounded fitness routine should include weight training and aerobic exercise 3 times a week. A simple way that you can test how old your muscles think you are is by doing push-ups. Click here for tips on proper push-up form and here for the YOU: Staying Young guide to optimal push-up performance.
3. Eat Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Exercise goes hand in hand with eating right - and the more colorful the fruits and vegetables are that comprise your meals, the more effective they are at preventing free radicals from aging you.
Flavonoids and carotenoids are plant-based anti-oxidants that remove free radicals from our foods. Their colorful skins protect them from the sun's ray that increase the release of the free radicals into food's systems.
A "carotenoid fruit bowl" includes those with colorful skins like apples, oranges, grapes and apricots.
4. Stay Sleek: Eat Just a Little Less
In a recent study done at the University of Wisconsin it was discovered that calorie restriction, even in a minor sense, could reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In the study, one group of monkeys ate as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted. The second group was fed 30% fewer calories every day. After 20 years, the evidence was clear: the monkeys on a restricted diet looked better and had less instances of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
For a normal 2,000-calorie diet, 15% less is only 300 calories. That's about a handful of tortilla chips! Eat consciously - when you are hungry and include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
5. Be With People You Love
Emotional health is a key part of longevity. Staying in touch with the people that are dear to us boosts our immune system. Surround yourself with the ones you love will keep your heart and spirit young. If you don't give your heart a reason to keep beating, it won't.
Click here to read excerpts from other books in the YOU series.
Excerpted from YOU: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz. Copyright (c) 2007 by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Oz Works LLC. Excerpted with permission by Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.