Anti-aging is a term that generates a lot of buzz. People spend millions of dollars each year trying to fight the stages of aging: from lotions, serums, make-up, and Botox to plastic surgery. To me, the fear associated with aging isn’t in wrinkles or sagging skin, but the thought of not being active, not being able to enjoy my family, or struggling with a chronic health condition. My wish is to be active playing with my grandchildren and GREAT grandchildren while smiling from ear to ear, showing off every wrinkle and crow’s feet I have! So when I say “aging process”, you know what I mean…
The quality of those later years will largely be determined by the choices we make while we are younger – choices that will help stave off the aging process.
Let’s start by making the distinction between two types of aging, chronological and biological aging. These are often used interchangeably, but are drastically different. Biological aging is a term used for the typical “signs” of aging like a bad shoulder, bad knee, increased blood pressure, or osteoporosis. Bad shoulders or knees are due to cumulative stress and trauma – not just the passage of time. And take high blood pressure and osteoporosis, we can look at many groups of people in different cultures or regions that are the same chronological age, but don’t suffer from these “age-related” conditions. So aging is not merely the passage of time, there is much more.
The human body is an amazing collection of synergistic systems controlled by what can only be described as innate intelligence. The body is perfectly designed to be self-functioning and self-healing. Think about this, healing is a CONSTANT process of replacing old cells with new cells. You replace your red blood cells at a rate of 100 billion cells per day! Your body is constantly analyzing what is happening within the body and what is happening in the environment outside, and continuously makes adaptive changes as necessary. So, aging can best be described as the gradual loss of the body’s ability to respond to the environment. Whoa, let’s pause here. Aging is not just the effects of chronological age, but of your body’s inability to respond or adapt to its environment. That is huge! How can you best keep your body responding and adapting to its environment? Well, you better have a top-notch, rock star functioning nervous system! It is the primary job of the nervous system to adapt to the environment (aka STRESS). I could get in to all the technical processes and jargon of how this happens, but just know it is the central nervous system that regulates the aging process dependent upon healthy stress responses, ultimately determining longevity. Proper neurological signaling in the human body is the primary key to psychological, emotional, immune and hormonal health and longevity. Boom! Go back and read that one more time. This is the key, not any lotion, potion, pill or surgery!
How do you know if you have proper neurological signaling? Well this is exactly what we check in our office, and one of the most important checks you can have. So if you have never had your nervous system checked, do yourself a favor and get it checked soon! Your grandchildren and GREAT grandchildren will thank you for it! Dr. Bethany Cannon