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Can you slow down ageing? 10 top tips for turning back the clock

Can you slow down ageing? 10 top tips for turning back the clock
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Can you slow down ageing? 4 women who believe they can share their top tips for turning back the clock

You can reverse your biological clock with a few small lifestyle changes, and you do not need to spend millions of dollars on the craze to try to live forever. Julie Gibson Clark is living proof of this.

The 55-year-old American recently made headlines for her score in an online longevity competition called the Rejuvenation Olympics.

Gibson Clark, who lives in the US state of Arizona, has the second-largest age reversal on the leaderboard, which ranks ageing biologically – how “old” your cells and tissues are – versus the number of years that you have lived.

Her score of 0.65 years per year means she is ageing around two-thirds of a year for every chronological year – and is higher than the score of multimillionaire biohacker Bryan Johnson, who started the competition.

Julie Gibson Clark shows you do not have to invest lots of money to slow down ageing. Photo: Julie Gibson Clark

Her secret? She regularly fasts around two days a month, or does fast-mimicking – eating small amounts of pure fat, such as an avocado or two, daily.

She eats a predominantly plant-based diet that has lots of protein, although, with a teenage son, she cooks “normal” dinners and indulges in potato chips or ice cream every now and then.

She works out daily, often hiking through the Arizona hills; takes supplements including vitamin C, magnesium, lithium and hyaluronic acid; and she has regular cold showers and saunas.

Gibson Clark refuses to call herself a biohacker, preferring the term “bio-optimisation” – and she believes sleep, diet and exercise are most important.

Most would agree that Julie Gibson Clark looks far younger than her actual age of 55. Photo: Julie Gibson Clark

Her goal is “to be there for my son for as long as possible, and not to be a burden in old age”, she says.

“We all want more time to experience this wonderful world, we all have this one body, and one chance to dance, love and enjoy the ride with vitality.”

Below are 10 ways women can beat ageing in their 40s and beyond, according to three female health and nutrition experts, all social media stars.

These are bestselling author and chiropractor Dr Mindy Pelz based in the US state of California; general practitioner Dr Alka Patel, also known as “The Health Hacktivation Doctor”, based in the UK; and nutritionist and personal trainer JJ Virgin, also based in California.

To stay ‘forever 40’

1. Lift weights

After the age of 30, muscle mass decreases by three to eight per cent per decade. Muscle mass is one of the best predictors of quality of life as you get older. Muscles ensure your mobility and lower the risk of injury. Weightlifting increases bone density and strengthens joints.

Longevity experts recommend weightlifting as a way to build and maintain muscles and strength and rid the body of those niggling aches and pains that come with age. Photo: Shutterstock

“The best argument for weightlifting is this: you know those little aches and pains you get throughout the day? Tightness in your knee, a tweak in your back, aching shoulders? We’re told that’s a normal part of ageing, but you’ll be amazed how much weightlifting decreases all those little nagging pains,” Pelz says.

“If you aren’t sure what to do, hire a personal trainer,” she adds.

2. Practise intermittent fasting

Fasting is good for us in so many different ways, says Mindy Pelz. Photo: Mindy Pelz

There is much debate over the ideal length of a fast and how often to do it.

“The truth is that any amount of fasting is good for you: just start by skipping breakfast twice a week. Once that feels good, you can skip breakfast every day, or maybe add a 24-hour fast once in a while,” Pelz says.

3. Take 10,000 steps

Low-intensity cardio improves your insulin sensitivity, decreases cortisol, speeds up your metabolism, and enhances both cardiovascular and brain function.

If you look at the Blue Zones – the parts of the world where people live the longest and healthiest – it is no coincidence that daily walking is a staple part of the lifestyle.

If 10,000 steps is a day too much, start at 2,000 and build your way up, Pelz advises.

To live longer and more healthily, try walking 10,000 steps a day, says Pelz. Build up to that number if need be. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Cut out simple carbs

After you turn 40, things you could get away with in your thirties and earlier start affecting you more. Foods that cause your blood sugar to spike start to exact a much larger toll. Blood sugar spikes cause fatigue, mess with your sleep, and trigger food cravings and weight gain.

To feel good in your forties and beyond, Pelz says, the single biggest change you can make is cutting out simple carbs: sugar, white bread, pasta, pastries, potato chips and fries.

“Switch to natural complex carbs like sweet potato, butternut squash, lentils, beans and fruit,” Pelz says.

Take creatine supplements to age “powerfully”, says JJ Virgin. Photo: JJ Virgin

5. Boost protein

Eating protein helps you burn more fat, reduces hunger and cravings, boosts energy levels, supports muscle growth, and balances blood sugar. Aim to get at least 30 grams (one ounce) of protein per meal and a minimum of 100 grams per day, she advises.

6. Sleep well

With poor sleep, you are more likely to make bad food choices, neglect tiny details at your job and make impulsive decisions, Virgin says.

Just one night of poor sleep can make you more insulin-resistant the next day. In the long term, this sets you up for diabetes and weight gain.

Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep, and establish a consistent sleep schedule, she says. A relaxing bedtime routine and a comfortable sleep environment will help achieve this.

7. Supplement smartly

Compared with men, women have 70 to 80 per cent fewer tissue stores of creatine, a substance found naturally in muscle cells that helps produce energy in weightlifting or high-intensity exercise.

It is difficult to get enough from your diet alone, Virgin says.

“This makes it an important nutrient to supplement with so you get all of its amazing benefits for workout performance, brain health, bone strength, beautiful skin, and more. It’s one that I believe every woman over 40 should be taking to age powerfully,” Virgin says.

Aim for three to five grams per day.

Virgin says creatine is an important nutrient to take as a supplement. Photo: JJ Virgin

8. Use personalised data

“Now we can know our biological age with greater accuracy, we can track our sleep with an Oura ring, we can understand our hormones and the interplay with our gut.”

For example, Patel takes her continuous glucose monitor – which diabetics use to measure blood sugar levels automatically – with her everywhere.

“Get that data and take it to a professional for interpretation,” she advises.

9. Light up your life

Everything is governed by light, Patel says. “Biohacking 101 is using light to your advantage.”

Put on your blue light filtering glasses in the evening to block out screen light, says Alka Patel. Photo: Alka Patel

Step out into morning sunlight first thing, to reset your cortisol levels – the hormone that regulates the body’s response to stress – so they are working for you rather than staying built up, she says.

10. Have fun

“The same pathways in the brain which light up with physical pain do so with loneliness. We need a work-life synergy,” she says.

“Ultimately, enjoy yourself.”

Dr Mindy Pelz and JJ Virgin will speak at the Health Optimisation Summit, a two-day event on June 15 and 16 in London to explore the latest advances, trends, and strategies in optimising human health and performance.

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