How do I get old

These factors are important | How do I become 100 years old?

More than every third girl born in 2019 (37 percent) will celebrate their 100th birthday. Of the boys born today, more than one in ten (eleven percent) can hope to see their 100th birthday. This means that life expectancy continues to rise.

This was the result of a current study by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research on behalf of the German insurance industry.

Whether we are predisposed to reach old age is in our genes - this is where aging researchers agree. Other pillars of a long, healthy life are exercise, a healthy diet, regular medical check-ups, lifelong learning and social contacts.

BILD explains what you can actually do to extend your life.

What makes us live longer

1. Movement

Obesity damages the blood vessels in the body. The reason: the metabolism of the fat cells releases inflammatory substances - the thicker they are, the more. This damages our vessels and thus the heart and circulation. Exercise regularly, e.g. cycle to work more often. Even working up a sweat for 15 minutes a day is enough!

The vessels notice that more blood is flowing. They enlarge again, become more elastic. This suppresses the inflammation and aging process.

AND: A healthy mind likes to live in a healthy body.

Several studies make it clear that sport and exercise increase physical AND mental fitness. In addition, different mental abilities are trained depending on the sport: Tai Chi, for example, promotes accuracy in formulating, Nordic walking the ability to react. By the way, there are also studies that suggest that dancing helps against dementia.

2. Healthy eating

Polyunsaturated fatty acids suppress the inflammatory processes in the body, the blood becomes more fluid. Use good oils in the kitchen (e.g. canola and olive oil). Avoid frying food, barbecuing is better. Eat sea fish (e.g. salmon, herring) instead of meat. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables protect the body from free radicals that cause cells to age.

Sugar only in moderation, because excessive consumption of sugar also heats up inflammatory processes. In addition, a diet rich in calcium (dairy products) should be ensured in order to strengthen the bones.

3. Medical screening

Regular checkups (blood pressure, cancer screening, dentist, etc.) extend life. Because many diseases, even if they are serious, can be treated in the early stages in such a way that they can be cured or kept in check over a longer period.

4. Lifelong learning

Those who do not ignore new technology (smartphone, tablet, internet) and enjoy learning (e.g. foreign language, handicrafts) not only train the brain, but also increase the joy of life. But even solving crossword puzzles regularly keeps the brain fit.

5. Social contacts

Financial security for the pension gives security. At least as important, however, are family and social contacts - a bond with relatives, friends and neighbors. Because they also protect.

Tasks such as looking after children, going out with the dog or running small errands strengthen the sense of togetherness. That brings and keeps life moving.

How exactly do we age?

You are young as long as the cells in our body divide. They renew themselves when broken cells die or have to be replaced. But: Each time a cell divides, the ends of our 46 chromosomes (telomeres) shorten - and the shorter they become, the more difficult cell division becomes. If this is no longer possible at some point, we die. The telomeres usually shorten from the age of 65; in centenarians they are still comparatively long. But even with their telomeres an end will be reached at some point - cell division is impossible, death inevitable.

What makes us age

1. Stress

Constant stress and anger leads, among other things, to the release of the hormone cortisol. The increased levels of cortisol in the body not only damage the skin and make it wrinkled, it also weakens our immune system.

2. Bad diet

A diet high in fat and sugar, as well as constant fast food, also makes us age faster. The reason is that these foods do not contain enough antioxidants. Antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals that are created in the body by UV radiation, exhaust fumes, drugs and environmental toxins. If there is an oxidative deficiency, you get sick and old faster.

3. Smoking and alcohol

Of course, unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise also cause our cells to die faster and thus cause premature aging.

4. Money worries

But wealth and poverty can also make people old, explained Prof. Dr. Konrad Beyreuther
towards the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. The super-rich would therefore be afraid of losing their wealth, and the very poor would not know how to finance the next day. Both are the very big risk factors for almost all diseases.

Is there a maximum age?

Life expectancy has risen steadily in most countries around the world since the 19th century. Above all, the fight against infectious and chronic diseases as well as better nutrition have contributed to this.

"We assume that the lifespan is genetic, and we know that the upper limit is well above 100," says Dr. Matthias Platzer, age researcher at the Leibniz Institute in Jena. Age researcher Steven Austad of the University of Texas adds: "Of those born in 2000, some in their right mind will see 2150".