The 8 things that make you age FASTER, according to science

The 8 things that make you age FASTER, according to science

NONE of us know how long we will live.

But if we can help it, the goal is a long and healthy life.


The clock is always ticking, but are your daily habits accelerating how fast is it moving?Credit: Getty

There’s no escaping the inevitability of an aging body: wrinkles, creaky joints, etc.

But there are ways to prevent aging faster than our chronological age.

No one wants to look emaciated “before their time.”

But in reality, much of the aging the body goes through is invisible as it determines our risk of disease and therefore death.

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The daily habits we have, and the choices we make every day, build and determine our health.

Some factors related to our risk of death are unchangeable, or even just bad luck.

Others that are adjustable are described below…

1. drink

Drinking does nothing for health, that’s no secret, contributing to the development of hundreds of diseases.

A University of Oxford study found that alcohol damages DNA, specifically telomeres, which cover the ends of chromosomes.

Telomeres protect chromosomes from wear and tear, like the plastic tip of a shoelace, and affect cell aging.

Shorter telomere lengths have been associated with several age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and coronary artery disease.

Scientists at Oxford Population Health found that drinking more than 10 beers or wines a week aged a person’s DNA by up to two years compared to someone who had two.

The findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said telomere damage only occurs once a threshold of 17 units per week is met.

However, it’s worth noting that the NHS recommends limiting yourself to 14 units (more than four glasses) or less per week.

2. Sun

The most obvious aging is what is visible: on the skin.

Premature aging of the skin, including wrinkles, pigmentation and sagging, is caused by sun exposure.

A Japanese study estimates that UVA and UVB rays account for 80% of all extrinsic aging, which is aging that is the result of lifestyle or environmental factors, as opposed to genetics.

UV rays are also behind the development of skin cancer.

Therefore, experts advise using SPF (especially on the face) every day, even when it’s cloudy, to prevent aging of the face.

3. Too much sitting

The NHS says sitting all day has been linked to overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and premature death.

A 2017 study found that of 1,500 older women, those who sat the most during the day had cells biologically eight years older than their actual age.

But the researchers said the damage can be reversed with as little as half an hour of exercise each day.

The average UK adult spends nine hours a day sitting, watching TV, working and travelling, for example, and that doesn’t include when we sleep.

You can reduce the time you spend sitting and standing on public transport by setting reminders to walk every 30 minutes, or by walking to a colleague instead of sending an email.

4. Smoking

The effects of smoking on aging are some of the most obvious.

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals that can damage skin cells. This leads to deeper wrinkles, especially around the mouth and eyes.

Smoking plays an important role in many age-related diseases, including dementia, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, and hearing and vision.

Fatal conditions such as heart attack and stroke are several times more common in smokers than in non-smokers.

On average, smoking reduces life expectancy by 10 years, according to Bupa.

By the time you reach 40, every additional year you smoke reduces your life expectancy by another three months.

Often, smoking goes hand in hand with excessive alcohol consumption or the use of other habits harmful to health.

5. Bad diet

Eating a healthy diet controls a number of age-related diseases: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, to name a few, all of which can lead to death.

A nutritious, balanced diet is one of the key tools in Alzheimer’s prevention, experts say, with dozens of studies showing beneficial links.

A recent study, published in the American Academy of Neurology, found that eating ultra-processed foods can shorten your life by putting you at greater risk of killer dementia.

Ultra-processed foods are high in added sugar, fat and salt, and low in protein and fiber. Examples of ultra-processed foods include cookies, sodas, and chips.

Dr Noel Young, clinical innovation partner at home blood test company Thriva (, strongly recommends eating enough fibre, which Brits don’t get.

He told The Independent that fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, beans, whole grains and fruit are linked to longer telomeres and an improved lifespan.

While fiber helps regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy gut biome, foods are packed with essential nutrients.

6. Stress

A study published in Translational Psychiatry found that chronic stress can contribute to faster aging.

Over the past decade, scientists have developed “epigenetic clocks” that can measure an organism’s biological age from its DNA.

One of them is the GrimAge model, which was tested on blood samples from 444 people by Yale researchers.

Participants who scored high on cumulative stress showed signs of accelerated rates of genetic aging and an increase in biological markers such as insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes.

However, those who were better able to regulate their stress proved the opposite: they were less likely to age quickly or develop insulin resistance.

7. Vitamin deficiency

Supplements can seem like a faff. But one you should take especially seriously is vitamin D, or the so-called sunshine vitamin.

A King’s College study of more than 2,000 women found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with shorter telomeres.

Telomeres are the ends of your chromosomes and protect against DNA damage. Telomeres shorten as you age, so telomere length is often used as a marker of biological aging.

Women with ideal vitamin D levels had longer telomeres.

Another study of 586 women found that those who took a multivitamin had longer telomeres, about five percent, compared to those who did not use them.

Government advice is that everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter.

8. lack of sleep

Chronically poor sleepers are more likely to suffer from diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Studies also show that they are more likely to see an early grave.

Sleeping less than six hours has been linked to “high risk” conditions, such as high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, as well as being overweight.

But just as lack of sleep is bad for you, too much is not better.

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Men who slept less than six hours were 12% more likely to have at least three of the “high-risk” conditions, but 28% more likely if they slept for more than ten hours.

He suggests that the seven to eight hour mark is golden because it should not be exceeded often, nor should it be missed.

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