Beyond Trim: Grow old with me

Let’s make all the years we’re given good years

STERLING - David Sinclair, PhD., is a biologist and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is one of the most famous scientists in the world today and is known for his work on understanding why we age and how to slow its effects.

In his book “Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To” he makes the case that aging should be considered a disease that is caused by multiple factors and that it shouldn’t be inevitable that we become frail, demented and sick as we get older. Based on the latest research, he explains there are multiple factors that contribute to premature aging. They include things like cell damage, inadequate nutrition, inadequate or inappropriate physical activity and inflammation, to name just a few.

He reminds us that while our lifespans have become longer in the last century or so, we are spending more time at the end of our lives in ill health and that translates not only to a poorer quality of life but to billions of dollars spent on health care to address the common ailments that go along with an aging population.

Many of his recommendations for addressing this situation require broad policy changes for access to health care, and how dollars are spent for medical research. Those may take years and years to implement but there are many things that are under our control that can help us age more gracefully.

I would like to avoid being sick and frail in my old age, so I was very interested in learning about what he does personally. Here is a summary:

  • He takes a daily dose of vitamins.
  • He keeps sugar, bread, and pasta intake as low as possible.
  • He tries to skip one meal a day.
  • He has regular blood tests.
  • He takes a lot of steps every day and goes to the gym (weightlifting) on a weekly basis.
  • He eats a lot of plants.
  • He does not smoke.
  • He keeps his body weight in an optimal range.

There is always a chance that you could be hit by a bus tomorrow or some other accidental cause of death but given the statistics, it is far more likely that you and I will live well into our 80s. I can do most of the things that Dr. Sinclair is doing, and I bet you can too. Let’s make all the years we’re given good years.

  • Sherry DeWalt is the healthy lifestyles coordinator for the CGH Health Foundation in Sterling.