Chronologically speaking, well no. Unless we find ourselves in a time warp we will always continue to get older in numbers.
But biologically speaking – in terms of our cells and DNA, then yes we can. You read that correctly. But more on this later.
Many people (especially women) are reluctant to share their age, and although I am not the same (I’m 42 years young) I think it’s because society will automatically judge us on how we should look, dress and act at a certain age. Excuse my language, but bollocks to that. There are so many amazing people that continue to bust through archaic, ageist paradigms that I truly believe that you are only as old as you feel – and now science has proven as such.
I have shared the above images before on my social media account, but you will see that in the space of a month I have visibly aged backwards. To be honest, it’s not exactly a fair comparison as in the left photo I am situated outside, properly hungover and wearing no makeup – and in the right I am none of these things! But I had just completed a 21-day detox and felt better than I had for a very long time. I felt transformed and excited about what was possible.
A good friend of mine recently pulled me up about the use of the term “anti-ageing” and the wellness agenda of focusing on how we look. She has come across young girls talking about anti-wrinkle cream and being concerned about the appearance of a wrinkle. Sadly, not on their parent’s faces either I may add, but on their own adolescent, pre-pubescent faces.
Honestly, I have so much to say on this topic I could turn this post into a very lengthy one indeed. It is an unfortunate fact that society has us obsessing over our appearance, and social media only amplifies this at least a thousand-fold. As a woman, as a mother of two daughters and as a health coach somewhat reluctantly using social media (but finding it an excellent tool to engage with my community), I need to be mindful of the terms I use and how I portray myself.
At home I will never talk about the weight or appearance of a person (including myself) in front of my young daughters. It’s just not something I generally do anyway, although I must admit, since becoming a health coach I look at someone in terms of how healthy they look, but that’s my job.
My mission is to help people be the best version of themselves. For me, that means living optimally – fully functional and for as long as possible. I want people to know that they can remain youthful as they age and there are ways to keep a youthful appearance without taking to injections or surgery. I want my children to see that I am not afraid of getting older and that it is possible to remain active in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
I used the term “anti-ageing” to cover this topic as I didn’t feel that biohacking really fit in with what I am trying to achieve and the term probably doesn’t resonate with my community.
Using the word “anti” doesn’t completely sit well with me though – to age is a blessing and we should consider every day that passes as a gift. It goes without saying that the only alternative is to go six feet under!
Until I come up with something better, where possible I am going to stop using the term “anti-ageing” and replace it with “ageing well.” If you can think of a better term, I would love to hear it.
I don’t want to be fixated on looks, and it’s not my focus when I refer to ageing well. For me, the emphasis is on feeling your best. When you feel optimal however, the remarkable side benefit is that you look your best self too. People who have optimal health will often also look radiant and have a “glow” about them. I believe the most important factors come from our environment, what we consume, our stress levels and the emotions we feel. Put simply, these are all types of “information” we provide our bodies, and the data adds up over time, contributing to dis-ease or good health. Symptoms are signs that your body is heading to dis-ease and it’s time to look at what information you are providing your body.
So back to reverse ageing. Scientists have discovered that telomeres – think of them as caps that cover the end of our chromosomes – a bit like the end of a shoelace, are a way that we can measure a person’s biological or cellular age.
Ben Greenfield – the author, fitness guru and biohacker was the ultimate endurance athlete – competing in triathlons, marathons and ironman events. At 34 he measured his telomeres to discover he was biologically 37 years old. Even though he was ultra fit and had been voted personal trainer of the year in the US, his biological age was older! Upon this discovery, he completely changed his approach (focusing on more calming, grounding activities) and in three short years he was able to reduce his biological age down to 21.
I am yet to run this test myself and it’s not one of the functional labs I can provide clients, but I will be doing more research on this topic in future.
By changing the information we tell ourselves we can reverse the ageing process. It is possible and the first step is believing it. The next is getting in touch with me to see how I can help!
I hope this reaches you well, wherever you may be, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere, thank goodness spring has arrived!