Stop the Clock: Not quite the fountain of youth, but close

Staying youthful and fighting off the aging process has been a golden goose for countless advertising agencies for longer than any of us reading this has been alive. Generally speaking, we resist the idea of growing old, and we certainly don't want to look as if we are leaving our younger years behind us. While many of the products sold as 'anti-aging' solutions have less than consistent results, one new study shows how we can in fact, slow down the aging process on a cellular level through an increase in exercise.



At the significant risk of understatement, I offer you this observation: Science is amazingly awesome. If I were to use the vocabulary of my daughter and her friends, I would say that science is ‘fire’. Over the recent years, I’ve found myself coming to that conclusion with increased frequency as new discoveries, technological developments, and farsighted minds continue to stand on the gas pedal and accelerate how rapidly revolutionary ideas can come to life. For easy examples of this compounding effect of ideas in action, we need not look any further than the paradox of computers continuously getting faster and more powerful while simultaneously shrinking in size. Or a drone flying around Mars sending back imagery. Or, for a real mind-bender, the fact that the average life span in the US has more than doubled in the last 100 years from an average of about 35 in 1920 to close to 80 in 2020. ( How the Human Life Span Doubled in 100 Years - The New York Times (nytimes.com))


Think about that for a second; imagine if someone told us that a century from now, the average American would live to be 160 years old: twice what we can expect now. No way, impossible, never happen, those would be our normal responses, yeah? Yet, that’s precisely what happened in the past century. Not overnight and not by one single discovery, but like a rising tide that ceaselessly and steadily inches further up the beach.


I bring up this concept of living longer for a couple of reasons. First, on some level, I think we’re all wired to be fascinated by the idea of immortality. For instance, if you get down to it, the power to live forever is probably the most remarkable thing about being a vampire and the main reason for the enduring popularity of the premise (turning into a bat is also on the list but a distant 2nd).

Secondly, I read an article this week that jumped out at me as it deals with how to stretch out our time and slow the aging process. Essentially, we have a numeric age (we can’t change how that chronological clock ticks), and we have our biological age (that’s the one we can access the control panel on). I’m going to provide a couple links of additional reading so you can get the full benefit of reading about this intriguing evidence without me glossing over it, but I’ll paint the headline info in some broad strokes.


To dive right into it, the CDC conducted a large study called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 5,823 adults participated in it and reported all sorts of data. One distinguishing factor of this survey is that it factored in telomere length. (