Healthy Living: It’s the Telomeres

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Are you starting to feel old? Are your friends hinting that you are starting to look old? Well then maybe you are indeed getting older but what exactly does that mean? How does aging happen and what, if anything can we do to slow that process down? The answer may well be found in our telomeres.

Basically each strand of our DNA is capped at both ends by protective tips scientists call “telomeres.” They help protect vital information within our DNA, but every time a cell divides about 50 to 100 of the telomere’s nucleotides disappear and eventually when the telomeres are sufficiently reduced the cell simply stops dividing and that is when your body’s rejuvenation comes to a screeching halt, one cell at a time. In simple terms that is what we call the aging process. Changes in bone density and muscle mass are especially noticed as people age. Typically between the age 30 and 75 our muscle mass drops about 50 percent while our fat tends to double. Clearly this not a desirable chain of events.

Now pay attention because as unpleasant and pretty much unavoidable as this aging process is, thanks to our ever shrinking telomeres, it is our heart, blood vessels and lungs that tend to cause more early death than the natural aging process and those body parts are built to be more durable than others. Since the heart, lungs and blood vessels are not nearly as vulnerable to the telomere loss what are the risk factors most dangerous to those vital body parts?

As much as we would prefer to ignore it the reality is that the greatest risk to the good and essential health of heart, lungs and blood vessels is smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. So pay close attention here if it is your desire to live long and well. Yes it is true that general aging is completely unavoidable, the risk of early death can be dramatically reduced entirely by your own choice and action. If you smoke — STOP. Are you obese — and be honest with yourself — then take positive measures to reduce that excess and potentially deadly weight. And start moving more. Do those things and you have a far better chance of living longer and stronger.

Of course we simply cannot escape the reality of inevitable death thanks to those shrinking telomeres but we sure can live far better for a lot longer by simply doing those things our body demands, which is lose that excess weight, get moving more, a lot more and if you do smoke STOP NOW.

Easier said than done, I completely understand. But I also understand that these are things that we absolutely can control. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to stop smoking, yet nearly 30 years ago now I did it and so can you. Just a wee bit over four years ago I crossed over from life to death due to Congestive Heart Failure, made possible by my severely obese condition of well over 120 pounds overweight. And not that long ago walking to my car was about as much exercise as I would get on an average day.

These days I walk a minimum of 13.1 miles every day. I am not bragging, merely pointing out that if a once lazy fat smoking slob like me can turn it around so can you. I find my new life far more enjoyable than my old life. In a very real sense this truly is my second life and I have every intention of making it long and strong even as my telomeres keep on shutting my body down — I am not going without a fight.

If you would like a fantastic straight to the point real and proven guide to achieving and maintaining optimal weight get ahold of my book Lose Live published by Lulu and available right here.

If you prefer you may also obtain this book from and True it is that eventually it is the telomeres that prevail, but we can each make that trip longer and better.

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Walk Your Way to Better Health

Join us for the Hollywood Health Hike. Together we can feel great and begin to win the war on obesity and ill health. It happens for the third year in a row on April 30th 2017 and will take us from Burbank, California through Hollywood and Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. It costs NOTHING [except for whatever food and beverage you buy] but for details please let me know of your interest by contacting me at:

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Editor’s Note: For more of Ron’s series on beating obesity and good health, he is located in the “Columnists” drop down menu at the top of this page. You will also find his theater and travel reviews.

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