You've heard the saying, "Age is just a number."
While this may be true to a certain degree, there is a difference between your chronical age and biological age.
But what are the differences, and why is it important to understand them?
Chronological age refers to the actual days, months, and years you’ve been alive.
When someone asks you for your birthday or how old you are, your answer is simple even when you want to fudge a little.
Your actual age doesn’t change depending on lifestyle choices like smoking, exercise, and diet.
Everyone experiences aging at different rates, but your chronological age is a fact you can't change— even if you want to.
Turning back the clock is a wish most people desire. Millions of dollars are spent each year chasing the fountain of youth.
Even though how we age is beyond our control and primarily influenced by genetics, recent studies show that aging can depend on outside factors, including diet, smoking, exercise, and stress.
Biological age refers to how healthy you are and feel.
When you refer to someone as youthful or energetic despite the person's years, you're usually referencing their biological age.
In a nutshell, your chronological age may not match your biological age at all.
While determining biological age encompasses different factors, research shows that telomeres and DNA methylation play a critical role in the determination.
Telomeres, located on the ends of chromosomes, keep dictating how quickly cells age and diet.
Research suggests that the higher a person's chronological age, the less effective telomeres work.
Telomeres become shorter. Other studies show that committing to a healthy lifestyle may reverse aging by lengthening telomeres.
DNA methylation regulates gene expression.
Another critical function is they could be reliable biomarkers of aging for any tissue in the human body.
For example, breast tissue is some of the oldest tissue in the body, but its age may be different than other surrounding tissue.
In cancerous breast tissue, it could be 12 years older. Although your body’s tissue could be the same age, regardless of where it’s located.
The exact purpose of DNA methylation is unclear, but scientists have discovered it's critical to embryonic development, genomic imprinting, and chromosome stability.
If impaired, it can cause severe health conditions.
While your chronological age can never change, your biological age does. The lifestyle choices you make each day have a positive or negative impact on the cells in your body.
Everyone ages differently, and genetics do play a vital role, but what you put into your body affects how you age.
Taking anti-aging supplements or exercising have positive impacts on your mental and physical health. Age is more than just a mindset— it's determined not only by number but also how you live your life.