Joanna Bensz
By Joanna Bensz, founder and CEO, Longevity Center
Longevity pole



Ageing is a decline in the body’s ability to repair and regenerate itself, leading to a gradual deterioration of physiological functions and an increased risk of age-related diseases.

Despite huge progress in the area of ageing research and longevity, there is still disappointing news to anyone expecting a one pill or an easy solution to slow down or stop the ageing process any time soon. But did you know that longevity can be learned? It is never too late to change unhealthy habits, and it is a necessary beginning to extend the period of our vitality for many years.

What allows you to activate the longevity genes? These will include some types of physical activity. According to research, 7,000 steps a day is the most beneficial, intermittent fasting, low-protein diet, as is exposure to high and low temperatures. This is called hormesis. “The way I think about ageing is: picture in your head a 1940 pickup truck, which has been sitting in a yard, or the barn and not being taken care of,” says Dr Eric Verdin, president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing, California. “It is all rusty and it has lost its wheels, and is really damaged. So, this is an old truck about 79 years old. Picture in your head, the same truck which has been in the hands of a collector who has very carefully maintained the truck, taken care of replacing every piece that gets old,” Dr Verdin goes on.

“These two trucks are the same age. They’re both 79 but one of them is in pristine condition, the same condition as it was when it rolled off the assembly line. And the same goes for ageing. We know that as time passes, our bodies are constantly being rejuvenated and maintained. Our skin turns over every 20 days and bone turns over every 10 years. We are constantly being repaired and remade,” Dr Verdin adds. “And the thinking is that the ageing process is a reflection of the fact that these maintenance and repair systems are not perfect. So, every time your cells are dividing, they make a few mistake and the accumulation of these mistakes and this damage over time is what constitutes ageing. What’s the difference between ageing and getting old?

“Ageing is just time passing. You’re a day older than you were yesterday. But then the most important factor in ageing is how you use that time, based on the beliefs that you assimilate from your culture,” says Mario Martinez, founder at Biocognitive Science Institute, bestselling author of the book The MindBody Code. Everyday choices towards longevity “I simply do what everyone else does, I exercise regularly, I stopped smoking, I try to avoid diabetes by not eating too many sweets –  just the boring lifestyle recommendations that everybody knows about,” says Dr Steve Horwath, professor in Human Genetics and Biostatistics at UCLA. “They are boring, but they are clearly the most effective. Even our epigenetic clock study revealed that. So when we have applied grim age, to study lifestyle behaviours, we have definitely noticed that people who eat vegetables age more slowly, at least their blood ages more slowly. It is similar in people who smoke, they age much faster. People who are obese also age faster. Everything we know about healthy lifestyles is actually confirmed by the epigenetic clock,” says Dr Horwath.

Longevity tips:

  • Balance in everything
  • Diet 80% vegetarian with plenty of fresh produce
  • Do not overeat and stay away from sweets
  • Intermittent fasting helps me to regulate cravings
  • Regular exercise (30+ minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9)
  • No or moderate alcohol consumption – I actually prefer not to drink at all
  • Sleep min 7 hr (ideally 22.00- 6.00)
  • Healthy relationships – spend time with friends and people you enjoy
  • Find your own rituals and execute regularly
  • Don’t forget about regular blood tests and your biological age!