By Tomlin Paul, 50 and living better
I recently found out that I am actually four years younger than my birth certificate says. And it's not as a result of any problems at the Registrar General's Department! After doing some checks, I was able to get a look at my 'real age'. What about you? Do you know how old you really are at this time? New science suggests that your body may be younger (or older) than you think!
At birth, the date and time are recorded. The difference in time between this event and where you are now is your calendar or chronological age. Apart from deciding when the next birthday party is, this view of age helps to decide things like when to do GSAT and when we get that retirement handshake. But looking at your age from a different angle can help you to live better and longer!
Which age clock are you using?
Age can be looked at as our body's resistance to the passing of time. Not everyone ages equally, so calendar age alone will not tell the whole story. How your body functions over time depends on a long list of things, including your genes, the condition of your environment and basically how you treat it.
You are likely to be ageing slower biologically than what the calendar says if you are making healthy food choices, exercising regularly and keeping your weight in a healthy range, to name a few things. On the other hand, there may be some big 'agers' in your life pushing you fast ahead of your calendar age. Notorious 'agers' are cigarette smoke, excess alcohol, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Take the RealAge test
In 1998, Dr Michael Roizen developed the RealAge Test which looks closely at your health history, habits, feelings, diet and fitness and comes up with a measure of where you are on the age spectrum. You can take this test at www.realage.com. Apart from getting a number to match against your calendar age, you will identify things which may be making you age faster of which you are unaware. You then have the opportunity to do things to make your RealAge younger!
Reducing your RealAge
Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to slow down the age clock. Keep active physically in whichever way you can, get a good night's sleep (six hours minimum), eat fruits and vegetables with each meal and again when you feel for a snack, take regular breaks from work and relieve your stress level, laugh out loud for real, not just on your bbm (lol!). Also, remember to keep a positive attitude, keep good relationships and romance in your life. Now the next time you have a birthday and they sing "how old are you now", you are not lying if you give them your younger biological age or RealAge! Check it out first, though, and see if it is really so!
Dr Tomlin Paul is a family physician at Health Plus Associates in Kingston; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.