City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Featured Image

Featured Article

What If You Could Slow Down Aging?


Article by Angela Schaack, LCSW

Photography by Canva

Partner Content

Let me start by saying that I believe in embracing getting older and enjoying the benefits and wisdom it can offer. But, truthfully we would all like to remain free of illness and slow down decline as much as possible. There’s a way to do just that, and it doesn’t involve searching for the proverbial fountain of youth, or drinking magical elixirs.

How we age has a lot to do with genetics - epigenetics. Without getting too scientifically complex, basically epigenetics is the study of how cells control gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. Epigenome is the set of changes or modifications to DNA that determine whether genes are turned on or off, what scientists refer to as how the gene is expressed. So, even if the genes you inherit from your parents could lead to certain diseases or conditions, you may be able to avoid it by altering whether the gene gets turned on or off. With a family history of dementia, I was relieved to hear about this research.  

According to Harvard Medical School, developments in epigenetics suggest that our epigenome might also be the key to understanding and calculating our biological age. We tend to focus on chronological age, i.e. how many birthdays have we experienced. Chronological age increases at the same rate for everyone as each year we consider ourselves to be a year older. Biological age refers to how much your cells and body have changed and how well your body functions. Epigenetics uses a process called DNA methylation to calculate your true biological age. The methylation process is involved in a wide range of bodily functions, so it can determine your body’s overall level of functioning. 

Biological aging seems to be a more accurate reflection of a person's age. Take one 30 year person who smokes, eats fast food, works the night shift, and rarely exercises compared to another 30 year old person who eats healthy foods from the local farmers market, walks 2 miles daily, sleeps well, and does meditation regularly to lower stress. Which one is most likely to live longer with less illness? Of course, there are a number of factors that contribute to one’s health and longevity, and one of those factors is how we live our lives.

There is a mountain of evidence to show that our lifestyle choices significantly impact our overall health and wellbeing. Studies show that habits and lifestyle have an impact on our epigenome as well. While many of the studies on epigenetics have been done with animals, there are human studies showing similar results. Here are a few lifestyle factors that can influence your epigenome - diet and nutrition, physical activity, stress, smoking, alcohol use, chronic exposure to environmental pollutants, and even the stress of shift-work hours. It’s no surprise that these factors can lead to declining health and premature aging. The following recommendations are ways to manage your health and slow biological aging. These suggestions are likely not new to you either as these are widely known to improve health in general.

  • Engage in physical activity, especially exercises that work on balance, endurance, strength, and stretching.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and shape. How your weight is distributed matters.
  • Eat a plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet which includes fish and some lean meats.
  • Try to eat more foods with a low glycemic index value such as fruits, vegetables, beans, low-fat dairy, and high-fiber grains. 
  • Establish a regular sleep routine to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep.
  • Make choices regarding your environment (smoke, pesticides, pollution) to help prevent damage referred to as oxidative stress which contributes to aging and disease.

Once again, the answer comes back to choosing healthy habits. This is the good news, bad news answer. The good news is that YOU have a lot of power to chart your own course in regard to your health, happiness, and how well you age. The bad news is that often it is difficult to change the habits that may be jeopardizing your wellbeing. For some tips on changing habits, check out the blog published earlier this year on the Way to Wellness website Changing Habits, or listen to the podcast on Spotify Changing Habits Podcast

Staying on track with your health goals takes desire, dedication, and support. Way to Wellness offers personalized plans, guidance, and support to help people reach their optimum level of health in a way that's sustainable. To get more information on the wellness plans go to and click on the Contact page and send us a message.

By following a healthy lifestyle, at your next birthday, you may be able to subtract a year or more from your true biological age.

By Angela Schaack, LCSW

Founder of Way to Wellness, LLC

Disclaimer: There are companies that provide at-home biological age testing products that use either blood samples, urine samples, or saliva. The tests found online ranged in price from $75 to $499 and measured various biomarkers. If you are considering ordering a test, be sure to do your research or check with your healthcare provider. Way to Wellness does not endorse any products for biological age testing.


Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics:


The Sinclair Lab at Harvard Medical School:

Create an article.

Businesses featured in this article