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Dr Michael Mosley: How to have a longer and healthier life thanks to these simple lifestyle changes

In a recent survey by Kasetsart University in Thailand, more than 2,000 British pensioners, aged between 50 and 75, were asked to take a personality test and rate their level of satisfaction with life.

At 65 and a half, I’m fast approaching the age of retirement (for the men and women of my vintage, it’s 66).

While I’m happy to continue doing what I do (writing, making TV documentaries and podcasts), many of my friends are retiring – and most seem content with their new, less rich but more relaxed lives.

It obviously depends on your situation, but retirement is clearly suitable for many of us. A survey of 300,000 people by the Office for National Statistics in 2016 found that levels of “life satisfaction” and “happiness”, which were lowest among people aged 45 at age 59, peaked between ages 65 and 79, then slowly declined.

So it’s something to look forward to if you haven’t hit your 60s yet.

Your personality is also essential to enjoying your retirement.

In a recent survey by Kasetsart University in Thailand, more than 2,000 British pensioners, aged between 50 and 75, were asked to take a personality test and rate their level of satisfaction with life.

In a recent survey by Kasetsart University in Thailand, more than 2,000 British pensioners, aged between 50 and 75, were asked to take a personality test and rate their level of satisfaction with life.

In a recent survey by Kasetsart University in Thailand, more than 2,000 British pensioners, aged between 50 and 75, were asked to take a personality test and rate their level of satisfaction with life.

Those rated as “conscientious” or “pleasant” enjoyed their retirement the most, while extroverts struggled. The researchers said that’s likely because extroverts miss the social contact you get while working.

But enjoying your retirement also depends on having enough money and being in good health.

I’ve been thinking about healthy aging a lot lately, as I’m currently making a TV series about the super-aged – people in their 70s and 80s who have the brains and bodies of those decades younger.

A survey of 300,000 people by the Office for National Statistics in 2016 found that levels of

A survey of 300,000 people by the Office for National Statistics in 2016 found that levels of “life satisfaction” and “happiness”, which were lowest among people aged 45 at age 59, peaked between ages 65 and 79, then slowly declined.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with scientists about the aging process and why some people seem to age much more slowly than others.

What’s particularly fascinating is the work being done on ‘epigenetic’ clocks: these are tests used to measure your biological age – how old your body actually is, not just what it says on your passport.

The traditional view of aging is that it is caused by a slow accumulation of damage at the cellular level.

Just like a car, pieces of us break or wear out. The problem is that it is difficult to quantify this.

An epigenetic clock test, instead, measures what are called DNA methylation levels: the extent to which special molecules, called methyl groups, have clung to DNA in your cells.

You can think of methyl groups a bit like barnacles that attach to the hull of a ship and slow it down.

Our levels of methyl groups tend to increase very sharply as we age. The epigenetic clock test is a powerful predictor of healthy aging and life expectancy.

In a 2016 study, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) tested blood samples taken from more than 13,000 people before they died. Thanks to the epigenetic clock test, they were able to predict their lifespan with great accuracy.

More recently, the same scientists showed that this epigenetic clock test can predict the biological age and lifespan of all kinds of different animals, from elephants to kangaroos, rhinos and goats.

Dr. Michael Mosley: I've spent a lot of time talking to scientists about the aging process and why some people seem to age much more slowly than others.

Dr. Michael Mosley: I’ve spent a lot of time talking to scientists about the aging process and why some people seem to age much more slowly than others.

You can actually buy epigenetic clock tests online, but their real value lies in measuring the effectiveness of anti-aging therapies – the idea is that you would test before a procedure and then after, to see if that makes a difference.

Although it sounds gruesome, one of today’s most promising anti-aging therapies is being infused with young blood.

A 2020 study in the journal Science showed that donating blood from young, active mice to older mice made older mice smarter, more alert, and caused new brain cells to grow. In another study, recently published as a preprint (meaning it has not yet been officially accepted by a journal), UCLA researchers showed that this type of blood transfusion also improved the strength of your stomach. gripping old mice and rejuvenating their hearts, livers and memories. Amazingly, it also halved their biological age.

Research is currently underway to find out exactly what in young blood has these remarkable rejuvenating effects. But it is not yet used in humans.

Scientists are also using the epigenetic clock to test the anti-aging properties of everyday drugs.

For example, research published in the journal Cell in 2019 showed that taking a cocktail of common drugs can reverse people’s biological age.

In the study, nine healthy male volunteers between the ages of 50 and 65 took a combination of a growth hormone, metformin (commonly used for type 2 diabetes) and a drug called DHEA (a version synthetic of a hormone that our body produces naturally and which helps in the production of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen).

After a year, not only had their biological age dropped by an average of two and a half years, but their immune system was showing clear signs of rejuvenation. This was a small trial, so you can’t read too much into it, but a much larger study is now underway.

We’re not going to be consuming anti-aging drugs or infusing ourselves with youthful blood anytime soon, but certain lifestyle changes have been shown to make a difference.

In a study published last year in the journal Aging, 43 men were asked to follow an eight-week lifestyle program – which included intermittent fasting, 30 minutes of brisk exercise daily and breathing exercises two times a day to reduce stress – or act as a check.

After just two months, the men in the program reduced their biological age by an average of 1.96 years, while the control group had aged a little.

So if your job is stressing you out and retirement or part-time work isn’t an option, you might want to consider that. It could save you some time.

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