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Longevity and healthy ageing

Longevity has recently gained a lot of attention in healthcare as we aim to find the solution to live more healthily for longer. On one hand, longevity can be defined by lifespan which is the number of years lived; however, current research and attention has shifted to focus on health span, the number of years lived in good health, otherwise known as ‘healthy ageing’. The promotion of longevity is a key pillar of a Preventicum assessment, identifying risk factors that can lead to disease and creating a personalised plan to optimise clients’ health span. 

Many strategies have been investigated by research centres worldwide but there are a few key lifestyle choices which have the most compelling evidence for promoting longevity including: 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight 
  • Limiting alcohol intake 
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Aiming for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night  
  • Never smoking cigarettes 

Maintaining a healthy weight

Multiple factors contribute to maintaining a healthy weight including dietary factors, exercise, sleep and alcohol intake. Research has shown that controlling your calorie intake and the timing of this can be an extremely efficient method of promoting healthy ageingOur Clinical Dietitian, Monika Siemicka shares her ideas to build dietary habits with long-term benefits here.  

“Rather than thinking about what foods you should avoid, try instead to think about what you can add in to provide your body with the variety of nutrients it needs.” Monika Siemicka, Clinical Dietitian, Preventicum

Exercising regularly

Regular physical exercise is a wellvalidated strategy to promote healthy ageing and increase health span. Many robust research studies have illustrated the significant health benefits of regular physical activity across multiple systems by reducing muscle loss, maintaining heart health, lung health and cognitive function and increasing metabolic activity. Exercise is a key factor in preventing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and the maintenance of brain health. Furthermore, a systematic review, which included 128,119 participants, highlighted that regular exercise was highly beneficial in improving symptoms of depression, anxiety and distress.

“Regular exercise is one of the key pillars for achieving optimal health that enhances physical health, boosts mood and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.” Dr Ying-Young Hui, Medical Director, Preventicum

Sleep

The latest research shows that sufficient hours of good quality sleep are essential in increasing lifespan and health span. The recommendation is for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night and studies have shown that young individuals with better sleeping habits were likely to live longer. Furthermore, sleep is important to maintain optimum brain function, memory consolidation, general immunity and psychological resilience which are key components to optimise wellbeing. Research has also shown links to increased risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer when sleep is reduced or of poor quality 

Brain health

The maintenance of brain health is key to the pursuit of maximising one’s health span. The following strategies have been shown to improve brain health, reduce the likelihood of developing degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and promote further aspects of longevity beyond brain health as they overlap with the factors previously discussed:  

  • Physical exercise improves brain functioning, increases brain volumes and lowers the risk of declines in cognition.  
  • Engagement in mentally stimulating activities such as memory games and learning new skills helps to maintain functioning and reduces the risk of age-related decline in cognitive processes. 
  • A varied, balanced and healthy diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and lowers inflammation in the brain. The avoidance of highly processed foods and a reduction in alcohol intake is also known to promote brain health.   
  • Stress reduction has been linked to reduced brain ageing. Meditation, Mindfulness and modifying your lifestyle to stress an be effective strategies to employ.  
  • Remaining socially active and connected to the community can help maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 
  • Achieving adequate hours of good quality sleep is shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and is vital to maintain good cognitive function.  

At Preventicum, you will have a comprehensive review of your lifestyle with your Preventicum Doctor. This is key to understanding potential areas of focus which can be addressed to optimise brain health and prevent cognitive decline. Our Optimal assessment includes BrainKey analysis, a 3D volumetric analysis of the brain using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) images and supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which gives insights to 25 regions of your brain, calculates your BrainAge (which has been shown as a determinant of risk for neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia) and provides personalised recommendations to optimise your brain health.  

The significant progress and volume of global anti-ageing research has shown the exciting potential to improve health and quality of life by encouraging healthy ageing and reducing the risk of age-related disease. Prevention is the key to enhancing health longevity and extending health span and at Preventicum, our world leading and pioneering assessments are a vital component for achieving this goal for our clients.   

References

Antiaging Strategies and Remedies: A Landscape of Research Progress and Promise 

Effectiveness of physical activity interventions for improving depression, anxiety and distress: an overview of systematic reviews | British Journal of Sports Medicine (bmj.com) 

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