Ever since visiting my grandfather at his elder care facility, my focus has been driven towards “anti-aging” and researching all the factors that account for degenerative aging.
Seeing how much he declined, and how rapid it was, its led me to question everything to do with degenerative aging.
The term “degenerative” is interesting.
Current medicine and social paradigms view aging as somewhat of an inevitability, but the deeper I research the subject, the more I realize that the roughly 50% of a human lifespan is spent in a heightened REGENERATIVE state.
Your body will recover and adapt, and then at around 50, this will slow to a RECUPERATIVE state.
You wont be able to adapt beyond whatever your baseline was, BUT you will be able to recover enough to maintain it.
This means that you can elevate your physiological function to VERY high levels, borderline elite levels even, and this can stall degeneration to such a degree that it almost does not happen at all.
Or happens so very slowly as you get older that making adjustments to ensure quality of life are much easier.
Speaking reasonably, that gives you 20-30 years to develop your physical capacities.
Degeneratipn is not a guaranteed unless you largely neglect much of your health.
I’ve been working to narrow physical degeneration to some key characteristics. I must give credit to the book “Biomarkers”. It expanded my scope on these, and the term itself sounds “smart” and has marketing appeal.
1. Loss of lean body mass (muscle)
-Officially called Sarcopenia, this negatively affects everything. Metabolism, bones, movement, mobility, bodycompostion, etc.
2. Loss of strength
–Strength decline leads to motor coordination decline, which leads to cognitive decline. This also leads to increased frailty, which increases risk of falls, bone breaks, and less activity
3. Decline in Basal metabolic rate-
-losing muscle & strength leads to metabolism declining, and aging is accelerated as a result. Body comp is likely to worsen as well, with increased fat gain.
4. Increased Body fat
-Fat is fatal. Beyond necessary body fat for health, any extra fat is damaging to metabolism and overall health on all levels. Fat gain is common with age, avoiding this is critical for health.
5. Decreased aerobic capacity (cardio)
-the worse your body is at using oxygen, the more unhealthy you will be. A low oxygen internal environment impairs metabolism at practically every level, and increases risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancers, and weakens immune system.
6. Elevated Blood pressure
-chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater stress on the entire body. It ages you faster, as your cardiovascular system is under continual stress.
7. Insulin insensitivity
-elevated insulin response and impaired glucose metabolism leads to diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome, increased bodyfat, and increases all-cause mortality risk.
-losing bone mass increase fragility, decreases mobility, and increases odds of premature death by way of accident, break, and hospitalization.
Bone health is also tied into blood health. Healthy bones=healthy blood (overly reductionist, but relatively true)
9. Lack of physical activity
-all the above are symptomatic of inactive sedentary lifestyle. You start aging as soon as you stop moving. The body is a use it or lose it system. And losing it is painful
10. Caloric Excess
-Tying everything together, excessive energy intake leads to many of the above conditions.
Overeating over a lifetime is bad no matter how you cut it.
Macros matter, micros matter, but energy balance does comes first. If you cannot do that, you will suffer for it.
The reverse of all the above would be the factors for Anti-aging, which I’ll cover in a future blog.