5 simple ways to slow down aging

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Telomeres

Aging is largely your chromosomes’ fault. That’s what Nobel-prize winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn discovered when she started exploring the world of the invisible, threadlike cellular strands that carry our genetic code. 

“It’s the over-shortening of telomeres that leads us to feel and see signs of aging,” Blackburn said in an April 2017 TED talk. "It sends a signal. Time to die." 

Here are a few things Blackburn suggests anyone can do to keep their telomeres long. While these tips won’t make you live forever, they can help with your “health span” — the number of years a person lives happily, and disease-free.

SEE ALSO: The wildest scientific discoveries of 2017

Manage your stress.

The more chronically stressed we are, the shorter our telomeres become. Blackburn conducted research focused on mothers caring for children with autism and other chronic conditions, and found that moms who were more resilient to stress — perceiving their situation as a challenge, rather than something hopeless or overwhelming — kept their telomeres longer.

“Attitude matters,” Blackburn said.“If you typically see something stressful as a challenge to be tackled, then blood flows to your heart and to your brain, and you experience a brief but energizing spike of cortisol." 

Meditate.

In case you haven’t heard enough about how beneficial meditation can be, here’s another way researchers have found that it helps: Family members who meditated for as little as 12 minutes a day for two months while caring for a relative with dementia improved their telomere maintenance

Invest in your neighborhood community.

“Emotional neglect, exposure to violence, bullying and racism all impact your telomeres, and the effects are long-term,” Blackburn said.

But tight-knit communities can be good for telomere health.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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