7 Things To Do Every Night To Support Healthy Aging

Falling asleep at the same time every night can support healthy aging. Image Credit: Sergey Dementyev/iStock/GettyImages

1. Keep a Consistent Bedtime

“Going to bed at the same time every night is part of good sleep hygiene and can help promote good sleep patterns and regularity,” Dr. Rivera says.

This nighttime routine can play a significant role in long-term health as “there are strong correlations between quality of sleep and healthy aging,” Dr. Rivera says.

For one, sleep supports the immune system, she says. In fact, quality sleep may enhance the effectiveness of your body’s T cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection, according to a February 2019 study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The opposite is true, too. If you log insufficient shut-eye, your immune defenses decrease. Meaning, you’re more likely to catch a cold and stay sick for longer when sleep deprived, per the Mayo Clinic.

Over time, lack of sleep can also increase your risk for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, thereby sabotaging the healthy aging process, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Poor sleep can even prevent your brain from optimal functioning, affecting mood, cognition and energy, Dr. Rivera adds.

Indeed, the structural and physiological processes that take place in the brain during sleep play an important role in memory consolidation and your ability to learn, problem solve and focus — all things necessary for your aging brain, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

2. Build Other Healthy Sleep Hygiene Habits

A consistent bedtime is just one piece of the sleep puzzle that promotes healthy aging. Other sleep hygiene habits are equally important if you want to age gracefully.

“Good sleep hygiene is essential to achieve the highest quality of sleep possible,” Dr. Rivera says. Her top sleep hygiene tips are:

  • Keep your bedroom environment cool, quiet and dark
  • Avoid TV, reading and work in bed as these activities are stimulating (the same goes for scrolling on your phone)
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine before bed

More Sleep Hygiene Habits

Already following the strategies shared by Dr. Rivera? Try these additional tips, per Harvard Health Publishing

  • Use eye masks to block light
  • Try white noise machines or earplugs to block noise
  • Incorporate a relaxing pre-bed ritual such as taking a hot bath or meditating
  • Ditch (or limit) daytime naps to ensure you’re sufficiently sleepy at bedtime
  • If you can’t fall or stay sleep, get out of bed and do something that may make you drowsy (like listening to calming music) for 20 minutes before trying to go back to sleep

Sleep hygiene becomes even more crucial as we age. That’s because the “physiologic changes that occur with aging that may affect sleep for older adults,” Dr. Rivera says.

Indeed, older adults are more prone to problems falling and staying asleep. In advanced age, we tend to spend fewer hours in deep sleep.

We’re ​also​ more likely to struggle with sleep disorders (such as insomnia or restless legs syndrome) or sleep-sabotaging discomfort/pain related to chronic illnesses, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

3. Eat a Healthy Snack Before Bed

If you normally get the munchies when the moon’s up, the snack choices you make can either help lengthen or limit your longevity.

For instance, a diet abundant in added sugars can contribute to chronic inflammation in the body, which is associated with serious health conditions like heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes, per Harvard Health Publishing. (Sorry to say, but you might want to reconsider that nightly ice cream cone or candy bar.)

Besides, sugary foods or those high in carbohydrates might negatively impact sleep, Dr. Rivera adds.

That’s exactly what an August 2019 study published in the ​​American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine​​ concluded. Researchers found that higher daily sugar intake was linked to lower sleep quality. (This study included 100 females between the ages of 19 and 23, however, the finding can apply to all ages.)

Tip

If your sweet tooth strikes before you hit the hay, Dr. Rivera recommends choosing healthier, nutrient-dense snacks such as fruit, nuts or low-fat yogurt.

4. Stretch

Stretching is a great addition to the nighttime routine that might ease the aging process.

Not only does a quick stretch before bed help reduce stress and increase relaxation (which are both beneficial for boosting sleep quality), but it can also aid in alleviating common aches and pains that come with age.

For example, “leg cramps are common complaints that often disrupt sleep for older adults,” Dr. Rivera says. In fact, nearly a third of adults above age 60 will experience at least one of these painful, involuntary muscle contractions in the calf, foot or thigh every two months, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Leg cramps are more common as we get older because our tendons — the connective tissues that link muscles to bones — shorten as we age, per the Cleveland Clinic. Stretching can help offset some of this tightness and help limit leg cramps.

What’s more, nighttime stretching can help lower your risk of injuries and falls, in particular. This is especially important for healthy aging since every year, a quarter of older Americans will take a spill, and a fifth of these falls will result in a serious injury, such as broken bones or head trauma, according to the CDC.

5. Practice Single Leg Balance While Brushing Your Teeth

Standing on one leg while brushing your pearly whites before bed? OK, hear us out: Though it may sound strange, the simple act of shifting your weight to one leg while brushing your teeth is a wonderful way to support healthy aging.

Standing on one leg demands a level of balance. In fact, many daily tasks — from climbing stairs to stepping over a puddle — involve single leg balance. So, even if balance is not a primary goal while you’re young, the skill will be fundamental for independent living as you age.

Balancing exercises — like standing on one leg while brushing your teeth — can also help reduce your fall risk, per the CDC. The exercise also requires multitasking and coordination, which can benefit your brain, too. And that’s super helpful for healthy aging. The more often you challenge your brain with new and engaging tasks, the longer it’ll continue to perform at its best, according to the University of Utah.

Tip

Remember to practice balancing for equal time on both legs (think: stand on one leg while you brush one side of your mouth, then switch to the other when you brush the opposite side).

6. Floss Your Teeth

While we’re on the subject of dental hygiene, flossing is another fantastic pre-bed ritual to add to your nighttime routine to promote the process of healthy aging.

Taking care of your teeth by flossing (and brushing twice) daily can keep bacteria that breeds in your mouth from reaching dangerous levels, which could cause serious oral infections, including gum disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How is this linked to longevity?

Overgrowth of bad oral bacteria, and inflammation from severe gum disease, may have harmful effects on overall health. More specifically, they may contribute to the development of diseases such as heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke, endocarditis (when the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves becomes infected) and pneumonia, per the Mayo Clinic.

Warning

If you experience pain and bleeding when flossing your teeth, you may have the beginnings of gingivitis or oral gum disease. Contact your dentist to make an appointment. Treatment may involve medicated toothpaste, rinses and soft-bristled toothbrushes.

7. Take a Walk After Dinner

Staying healthy in old age may simply require taking a few small steps — literally.

Going for short light-intensity walks after a meal can help decrease glucose spikes and improve blood sugar metabolism, according to a February 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis published in Sports Medicine. And we mean short — just aim for two to five minutes.

This is good news for people who must closely manage blood sugar levels, like those with diabetes or an insulin resistance. Just a small walk can work wonders for your cardiometabolic health and as a result, help to lengthen your lifespan.

Source: 7 Things to Do Every Night to Support Healthy Aging | livestrong

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4 Things Aging Experts Do To Live Longer and Feel Better

Mobility training is important for healthy aging because it helps make everyday tasks easier. Image Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/GettyImages

When you look into your future, who do you want to see? Someone who’s full of life and chatting everyone up, telling vibrant stories about your past? Still signing up for 10Ks well into your seventh decade? Someone whose doctor tells them they have the heart of someone decades younger?

It’s possible to live longer and feel better if you have the right habits. Here’s what internal medicine doctors, registered dietitians and certified personal trainers do to make sure they age well:

1. ‘I Switch Up My Food’

Variety is the X-factor when it comes to building a healthy diet for longevity, Angel Planells, MD, RDN, a Seattle-based national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

“Consuming a wide variety of foods — whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy and meat and non-meat protein — helps to fuel my body and have it running like a high-octane sports car,” he says. As Planells explains, variety beats boredom and ensures he’s getting a range of nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

That’s on display with his protein choices, where he toggles between chicken, fish, pork and lamb, as well as snacking on nuts and seeds. In addition to being used to build and repair muscles and maintain the strength of your skeleton, protein is also important for the health of hair and nails, too, he says.

2. ‘I Get Some Sort of Movement in Every Day’

Eric Goldberg, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health and senior director of NYU Langone Internal Medicine Associates, heads out for a run first thing in the morning.”Establishing a strong baseline for fitness at a younger age has been shown to lead to healthier aging,” he tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Movement has looked different for him during the pandemic, and he’s had to make adjustments that would benefit his health the most during the changes of the past year. “I started to run more days of the week — but shorter distances — in order to combat the stress of the past year and to have some intentional movement each day, especially with longer days sitting on a screen,” Dr. Goldberg explains.

Not only does this buoy his physical and mental health today, but it protects against the risk of frailty in the future. Frailty is a syndrome where loss of muscle leads to weakness, slowness, poor endurance and a low level of physical activity, per the Medical University of South Carolina. People who have frailty are more likely to fall, be hospitalized and have an increased risk of mortality — but frailty is not inevitable with aging.

The key, Dr. Goldberg says, is to get into the habit so that this daily movement becomes more automatic. “Habits generally take a month to build, so consistency is essential. Once integrated into your routine, they are easier to maintain,” he says.

3. ‘I Commit to Sleep’

One of the best pieces of healthy aging and longevity advice can be the hardest one to follow: Prioritize sleep as best as you can. Brent Agin, MD, founder and medical director at Priority You MD in Clearwater, Florida, aims for 7 to 8 hours per night. “Quality of sleep is more important than quantity in most cases, so I don’t try to achieve a sleep cycle that’s unrealistic,” Dr. Agin tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Sleep, along with a nutrient-packed diet and regular exercise, is what Dr. Agin considers the three essentials for a healthy lifestyle. “Lifestyle is the driving force behind healthy aging,” he says.

If you know you’re lacking the sleep component, a good place to start is to aim to sleep more than six hours and then incrementally add on 15 minutes from there until you get to a duration that feels good to you. Sleeping fewer than six hours per night is associated with a higher risk of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to the ​Journal of the American Heart Association​.

4. ‘I Exercise According to the 3 Pillars’

There is actually no one right way to exercise, but for the most benefit, you should mix it up. “To make sure I’m prepared for healthy aging, I stick to the idea that my training is diverse and it covers the three pillars that I always go by: cardiovascular training for your heart, strength training for bone health and flexibility, and mobility training for balance,” Aleksandra Stacha-Fleming, certified personal trainer and founder of Longevity Lab NYC, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

The end goal isn’t a specific look or body type, but to allow your body to move freely and do what you need it to do. “Everyone who’s active knowns how good it feels to be able to do everyday tasks without being out of breath, such as being strong enough to shovel the snow out of your driveway or carry groceries home from the store,” Stacha-Fleming says. “To simply do the normal stuff of living freely is aging gracefully with strength, and we should work on that every day.”

Source: 4 Things Aging Experts Do to Live Longer and Feel Better | livestrong

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Should We Consider Aging a Disease?


Canva

In 1851, blacks throughout the US were reported to suffer from a disease called “drapetomania.” The symptoms—a white physician argued—were bouts of “sulkiness,” followed by an inexplicable urge to flee plantations. The treatment, he wrote, was to have “the submissive kneebender (which the Almighty declared [‘the negro’] should be)” relatively “well fed and clothed,” occasionally “whipping them,” to “cure them from running away.”

For better or worse, no definition of disease exists independent of historical context. In 2022, an infertile woman may be said to possess a medical condition. In the 1600s, the same woman may have been burned at the stake, or said to bear “a wandering womb” (as medieval concepts of anatomy included “the womb being able to run around inside the body at will”). In 2065, still the same woman may be considered perfectly healthy, if childbearing becomes the job of artificial wombs.

This notion—that the term “disease” is not static—complicates the moral distinction between “therapy” and “enhancement.” Some bioethicists argue that therapies should be pursued which prevent human suffering. Yet human suffering does not fall categorically outside the boundaries of early-21st-century conceptions of health. In 2022, one can both suffer and be considered healthy—or, as one definition of the absence of disease suggests, one can be on “the normal functioning path of the organism.”

If a person lives to be 100 years old, they are almost certain to develop cancer. Indeed, 96 percent of all cancers occur in patients aged 35 and older. This means that cancers are often not a deviation from “the normal functioning path of the organism”—and yet we treat them as abnormal. Human aging is not yet widely considered a disease, but can be perceived as the primary cause of suffering in our century. Scientifically, aging can be understood as the source of all the leading causes of death in 2022, including COVID-19—around 90 percent of all US deaths from the virus were patients over 60.

Economically, the gradual decay of our unprecedentedly long-lived populations costs the US nearly half its federal budget every year. It’s no wonder that the most well-funded pre-seed biotechnology startup in history—Altos Labs, which boasts an impressive list of Nobel laureates and enjoys funding from Jeff Bezos—is committed to the idea that aging, even if normal to our species, is also profoundly harmful. It’s unsurprising, too, that the Saudi royal family is planning to donate a billion dollars a year to aging science.

A growing number of scientists suggest that aging is the (treatable) disease of which most cases of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer are symptoms. Over the past century, we engineered more than a doubling in average life expectancy, but average health-span has hardly changed throughout the history of humankind.

Aging therapies are often deemed superfluous because, through the myopic lens of early-21st-century morality, they constitute “enhancement”: a deviation from the sick-care model of therapeutics whereby diseases are only named—and treated—retroactively.

Is aging an essential part of our design?

Today, human aging and being human are often conflated as a single process, aging being comprehended as a mystico-teleological phenomenon designed by tenderhearted gods to furnish human life with meaning. When cancers were first documented in ancient Egypt, they were similarly thought to be a product of celestial ingenuity: as the American Cancer Society writes, “Ancient Egyptians blamed cancers on the gods”—but their theology was consistent with this proposition.

In 2022, if we choose to accept post-Enlightenment evolutionism, reality is far more grim: when it comes to longevity, as David A. Sinclair writes in Lifespan, “individuals look out for themselves.” We have been painfully slow to revise Aristotle’s unscientific—and highly influential—theory that older adults die to make way for the young. Now, several biologists dispute the notion that aging and its ailments exist for a reason special to us. They reject the belief that what Yuval Harari has called “the human spark” could ensure biological processes exist to advance human ideals.

Humans, unlike other primates, have a fondness for mythological narratives of grandeur and heroism—often, at the expense of comprehending the more humdrum or capricious reasons for why things happen. Cancers, like the processes of aging, constitute not one, but several diseases. They develop not so civilizations may prosper and flourish, but as happenstance features of haphazardly conceived systems. Biologically immortal species (like the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii) offer good evidence that aging is not inevitably beneficial to life, and may well be considered a multifactorial genetic disease, the universality of which in humans makes it more—not less—harmful.

Concerns that this shift may provoke ageism ought to be addressed by preventing older (not younger) individuals from enjoying excessive perks, such as holding onto a job for 80 years. And even if calling aging a disease is a conflation of cause and effect, language only works because it allows for such imperfect generalizations, with far-reaching effects in the real world.

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker reminded us that natural selection is “morally indifferent”: no engineer is tasked with guaranteeing that the survival of specific genes aligns with human aspirations. To think, as the philosopher Hans Jonas does, of “the organically programmed dying of parent generations to make room for their offspring” is to subscribe to the gawky mishmash of a creationist-secularist view—accepting the callousness of a godless universe, while hoping, still, for teleological protection from our designer-gods.

Absent effective aging drugs, one of humanity’s most pressing problems by the year 2100 will be the contraction of the global population. Without young immigrants, the United States would already be experiencing negative growth, and Japan is set to lose 21 million people by 2050.

The current global population of nearly eight billion people (better fed and sheltered than at any time in human history) is proof that large populations in themselves are not the problem. Indeed, as Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler argue in The Future Is Faster Than You Think, an unprecedented number of well-nourished minds working towards human flourishing is what made feats like the Enlightenment possible.

But, to most early-21st-century humans, there remains something deeply unsettling about the treatment of human bodies as high-tech mechanical devices to be tweaked. Should we be striving for this kind of limitless “enhancement”? Could human life be purchased, like silicon devices? What about our very special spark?

When we discard teleological narratives of almighty gods—which in the past (as in 1851) served as heuristics for profoundly irrational and immoral deeds—the facts become clear. If evolution had our flourishing in mind when it produced the processes of aging millions of years ago, this benefit is no longer valid. And if we choose to treat Alzheimer’s or fund retirement programs, then the preventative treatment of the fundamental processes of aging is not simply a pet-project for future, more stable civilizations, but an ethical imperative if civilizations wish to become more stable.

Who will receive treatment?

Today’s aging therapies are far from equitably distributed. Those with some arguable benefits—including NMNs and metformin—even when offered at a low cost, remain unsought by lower-income populations due to systemic barriers. Further, governments rarely fund fundamental aging research (only 0.54 percent of all National Institutes of Health funding is devoted to it), which delays at once the democratization of existing therapies and the advancement of clinical safety studies for more effective ones.

But just as safe and affordable cancer treatments are not yet here, and champions of a cure for cancer are untrained in the science and economics of promising drugs, so too, one need not agree on the nuances of aging therapies to find their potential success—including safety and affordability—ethically permissible.

As Sinclair writes, “effective longevity drugs will cost pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of treating the diseases they will prevent.” If we decide to name the fundamental processes of aging a disease, governments and average individuals would incur fewer costs, freeing up capital for other important human aspirations, such as wider access to medical therapies.

Yes, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Peter Thiel stand to make vast profits from the sale of human life and health. And yes, they are sure to benefit from aging therapies far sooner than my family in rural Brazil. But if their funding can advance these therapies towards clinical safety, helping to save billions of lives while unburdening our healthcare systems, this would be a just distribution of capital-for-output.

In the end, it’s up to us whether or not we think of aging as an essential part of the human condition. Science, we must remind ourselves, advances not one funeral, but one hard-working, living human at a time. There is hardly a belief more harmful than that biological decay is a mystical, kind, or dialectical force, guiding humanity towards its predetermined and unalterable telos.

It is human agency—with the sweat, faults, and capriciousness of the living—that engenders progress. It is our own ever-ungainly understanding of terms like “disease” and “health” that designs the future of our species.

By: Raiany Romanni

Raiany Romanni is a Harvard Kennedy Fellow in Effective Altruism, A360 Scholar, VitaDAO Fellow, ODLB2, and bioethicist.

Source: Should We Consider Aging a Disease?

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Cardio and Strength Training May Help You Live Longer, Study Says

A consensus is building among experts that both strength training and cardio‌ are important for longevity. Regular physical activity has many known health benefits, one of which is that it might help you live longer. But what’s still being determined are the types and duration of exercise that offer the most protection.

In a new study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that while doing either aerobic exercise or strength training was associated with a lower risk of dying during the study’s time frame, regularly doing both — one to three hours a week of aerobic exercise and one to two weekly strength training sessions — was associated with an even lower mortality risk.

Switching from a sedentary lifestyle to a workout schedule is comparable to “smoking versus not smoking,” said Carver Coleman, a data scientist and one of the authors of the study.The paper is the latest evidence in a trend showing the importance of strength training in longevity and overall health.

“The study is exciting because it does support having a mix of both aerobic and strength training,” said Dr. Kenneth Koncilja, a gerontologist at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study. “That is definitely something I talk with my patients about all the time.”

For the study, researchers used National Health Interview Survey data, which followed 416,420 American adults recruited between 1997 and 2014. Participants filled out questionnaires detailing the types of physical activity they had been doing, which included specifying how much moderate or vigorous exercise, along with how many sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises they did in a week.

After adjusting for factors such as age, gender, income, education, marital status and whether they had chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, researchers found that people who engaged in one hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity a week had a 15 percent lower mortality risk. Mortality risk was 27 percent lower for those who did three hours a week.

But those who also took part in one to two strength-training sessions per week had an even lower mortality risk — a full 40 percent lower than those who didn’t exercise at all. This was roughly the difference between a nonsmoker and someone with a half-a-pack-a-day habit.

Experts say it has been difficult to study longevity and strength training because so few people do it regularly. Even in the recent study, just 24 percent of participants did regular strength training (as opposed to 63 percent who said they did aerobic workouts). “Even with huge cohorts like we had here, the numbers are still relatively small,” said Arden Pope, an economist at Brigham Young University and one of the authors of the paper.

However, research is starting to catch up. In a recent meta-analysis, published February, also in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers were able to quantify the effect of strength training on longevity outside of aerobic activity.

They found the largest reduction was associated with 30 to 60 minutes of strength training a week, with a 10 to 20 percent drop in the risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, as Haruki Momma, a sports scientist at Tohoku University and one of the authors of the study, points out, there needs to be more research done to find the optimal amount of strength training.

Even though more research is needed, experts generally agree that regular strength training can have important benefits for healthy aging, including maintaining a high quality of life.

“You will function at a much higher level, for longer, if you have good muscle strength,” said Dr. Bruce Moseley, an orthopedic surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine.

Muscle strength is required for a number of daily activities, such as getting out of a chair, opening a jar of pickles, carrying groceries into the house or doing yardwork. However, “we progressively lose muscle mass as we age,” said Monica Ciolino, a physical therapist at Washington University at St. Louis.

This muscle loss usually starts in a person’s 30s and progresses with age. However, “we can absolutely fend off the negative effects” with regular strength training, Dr. Ciolino said. And it’s never too late to start. Research shows even septuagenarians with mobility issues can benefit from a regular strength-training program.

Dr. Moseley suggests aiming for a consistent strength-training schedule and easing into it to avoid overuse injuries.

“Keep it at a light and easy level at first,” he said. “Once your body starts getting adjusted, then you can start increasing.”

If you are still uncertain about certain exercises, he recommends seeking out expert advice through an exercise class or consulting with a personal trainer. The important thing, he said, is to get to started and to make it a habit. Not only can this help you live longer, it will improve your quality of life.

“When I ask people, ‘What does successful aging mean to you?’ people say they want to be independent, they want to maintain their function and quality of life, they want to do the things that they want to do,” Dr. Koncilja said. “It’s not necessarily just living as long as possible.”

Source: Cardio and Strength Training May Help You Live Longer, Study Says – The New York Times

Critics by Tara Laferrara, CPT

Choose an activity and make sure it’s something you actually like or, if like is too strong of a word, at least feel comfortable doing, which will help keep you motivated.1 This can be anything that involves some kind of continuous, rhythmic movement that gets your heart rate up.

Ideas include home cardio exercises and workouts, walking, running, cycling, home workout videos or online fitness videos, cardio machines such as a treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, or elliptical trainer, exergames, organized or casual sports,Hate cardio? Anything that gets you moving can count: Walking around your house, dancing in your basement, strolling the mall, etc. Make it your own.

Choose the Days and Times You’ll Exercise

General guidelines suggest moderate cardio for 30-60 minutes most days of the week, but start with a) What you actually have time for and b) What you can actually handle. If you’re not sure, start with a basic program that’s 3-4 days a week.

Figure out how much time you’ll exercise. Again, this is based on how much time you actually have (not how much time you think you should have) and what you can handle. One reason we fail to stick to exercise is that we don’t work with our schedules as they actually are.2 If you really only have 10 minutes a day, then that’s what you use for your workouts.

Schedule and Prepare for Your Workouts

Put your workouts in your calendar just as you would any appointment. Treat it like something you would never miss such as a doctor’s appointment or a massage. Plan ahead and start to prepare for your workout well in advance. If you workout in the morning, gather your things the night before. If you like to workout in the evening, or after work, be sure to prep in the morning. You should have everything you need – Clothes, shoes, water, snack, heart rate monitor, phone, etc. ready and waiting before your workout. If it’s not, you’ll have one more reason to skip your workout.

Start Where You Are and Check-In Weekly

If you can’t do 30 minutes, do 5 or 10 or whatever you can do, and progress by adding a few minutes to each workout until you can go continuously for 30 minutes. Make notes of any difficulties you’re having and deal with them right away. If you’re finding it hard to fit in workouts, think of ways to do short bouts of exercise throughout the day.

Strive to work at a moderate intensity, in the low-middle end of your target heart rate zone. Don’t worry too much about working hard during the first few weeks, but do try to work at a level that feels like actual exercise.

Signs of Overtraining

Overtraining is a common problem with new exercisers.3 You may tend to do the amount of exercise you believe you need to lose weight or improve fitness and forget your body isn’t necessarily ready for that amount.

Pay attention to these warning signs of overdoing it such as loss of motivation to train, feeling more sore than usual, a higher resting heart rate, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mood changes.

How to Prevent Overtraining

If you begin to experience signs of overtraining, back off of your workouts. At the very least, cut down on the time and/or intensity or give yourself a few days off completely.3 Backing off on frequency and intensity in a structured way is called a deload. Deloads are an important part of any workout program.

When you’re ready to return to your regular training, ease back into it, but keep things a little lighter than before. Pay attention to how your body feels before, during, and after your workouts. If you feel drained for the rest of the day, that may be a sign you need to lighten up on the intensity.

Another option when you are feeling overtrained is to try something different. Try yoga or just simple stretching as a way to relax, reduce the stress on your body and heal. Rest and recovery are key to success and this includes getting the proper amount of sleep and consuming enough calories to support your training.

A Word From Verywell

Starting a new cardio program can be exciting, and planning ahead can surely help you be consistent and successful. Choosing enjoyable, sustainable forms of activity and tracking your progress can help ensure you stay motivated toward your goals. Remember to go easy on yourself. It takes time and practice to build endurance for cardio workouts. Listen to your body and pay attention to what it needs.

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Mutations In Animals Shed New Light on The Process of Aging

Genetic changes – known as somatic mutations – occur in all cells throughout the lifespan of an organism. While most of these mutations are harmless, some of them can impair normal cell functioning or even start a cell on the path to cancer.

Since the 1950s, scientists have speculated that these mutations may also play a role in aging processes. However, due to technological limitations, they could not properly test this hypothesis.

Now, a research team led by the Wellcome Sanger Institute has analyzed the genomes of 16 mammal species – ranging from mice, rats, and rabbits to horses, tigers, and giraffes – in order to shed more light on the role of these genetic changes in ageing.

They found that, despite huge variations in lifespan and size, different animal species tend to end their natural life with surprisingly similar numbers of somatic mutations. However, the results suggest that the longer the lifespan of a species, the slower the rate at which the mutations occur, thus lending support to the hypothesis that somatic mutations may play a crucial role in ageing.

“To find a similar pattern of genetic changes in animals as different from one another as a mouse and a tiger was surprising. But the most exciting aspect of the study has to be finding that lifespan is inversely proportional to the somatic mutation rate,” said study lead author Alex Cagan, a postdoctoral researcher on somatic evolution at the Wellcome Institute.

“This suggests that somatic mutations may play a role in ageing, although alternative explanations may be possible. Over the next few years, it will be fascinating to extend these studies into even more diverse species, such as insects or plants.”

“Animals often live much longer in zoos than they do in the wild, so our vets’ time is often spent dealing with conditions related to old age. The genetic changes identified in this study suggest that diseases of old age will be similar across a wide range of mammals, whether old age begins at seven months or 70 years, and will help us keep these animals happy and healthy in their later years,” added study co-author Simon Spiro, a wildlife veterinary pathologist at the Zoological Society of London.

Nevertheless, understanding the exact causes of ageing remains an unsolved question. Although somatic mutations appear to play a fundamental role in ageing, other processes such as protein aggregation and epigenetic changes are also likely to contribute to the molecular damage in our cells and tissues that is a well-known marker of old age. Further research is needed to compare the rates of all of these processes across species with different lifespans.

By Andrei Ionescu

Source: Mutations in animals shed new light on the process of aging • Earth.com

Critics:

By Catherine Barnette

Mutations can occur during the life of an animal (acquired—affecting only a single cell) or can be inherited from a parent (present in all of the body’s cells). When a cell is affected by a mutation, all cells arising from that cell are likely to carry the mutation. In the case of an acquired mutation, this may be only a small number of cells. In the case of a reproductive cell, the mutation will affect all of the offspring’s cells.

The effects of mutations depend on the size and location of the mutation. Much of an animal’s genetic code consists of what is called non-coding DNA. These non-coding regions do not contain genes that code for protein production. Mutations in this area may have no effect on the animal or its offspring.

If an acquired mutation occurs in a coding region of DNA, the effects will vary depending on the mutation. Perhaps the most concerning effect of an acquired mutation is the formation of cancer. For example, solar radiation damage can lead to cell mutations that may result in squamous cell carcinoma or other cancers.

Inherited mutations are mutations that occurred in a parent animal’s reproductive cells. These mutations are part of the genetic code that is found in every one of the offspring’s cells. For this reason, inherited mutations can have significant effects if found in vital, coding regions of the DNA.

A marker is a specific segment of DNA with known characteristics. While the specific sequences may vary between individual, there is enough consistency in the genetic code at that particular site on the genome to allow comparison between individuals. Markers are often located in non-coding areas of the DNA where a specific base pattern repeats many times and these repeating segments are known and mapped.

When a mutation occurs in a marker region, the mutation can be easily identified because the normal pattern of the repeating segment is known. Even if the marker region is located in non-coding DNA and the mutation has no visible effects, analyzing the marker region will allow scientists to see that a mutation has occurred.

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