We all want to live long and live well, but what can we do to ensure that we have a great quality of life as we get older? Genetics must play a part, but are there any actions we can take to prepare ourselves better for old age? Cognitive scientist and neuro-nutritionist Brian Browne has the answers.
Brian is President/CEO of Cognitive Care Management, an organization dedicated to providing education, tools, and resources to age successfully and achieve life-long cognitive health and wellness. Brian is also President of Dementia Care Education and sits on the Leadership Council of the Alzheimers Association SW Chapter. In his talk titled “What Determines My Future Health?,” sponsored by Camino, Brian lays out some information that he says “will change the way you look at aging forever.” Here are some important takeaways from his research.Aging is inevitable Aging Well is a Choice
First of all, Brian believes that it’s important to understand the distinction between longevity and aging. Longevity is simply your lifespan–the number of years you are alive. According to Brian, the term “aging” relates to your experience as you get older. “You can have wonderful longevity, but if you don't have the quality of life through aging well, all you do is have a whole bunch of years with no quality of life,” he says. “We have to control our rate of aging so our rate of aging matches our longevity so we can live these robust, wonderful lives.”Don't Age Accidentally
“The majority of Americans suffer from ‘accidental aging,’” Brian says, “And struggle to maintain good health and quality of life in middle-age and beyond. While there is no way to control aging, we do have control over our rate of aging.”
Advances in science and technology have played a massive part in extending human longevity. “We’ve extended longevity longer than we ever have in history,” Brian says. “Science and technology are keeping you alive longer, but we want to be able to give you a better quality of life in these years.”You Control 75% of Your Aging Process
Through his research, Brian has determined that aging well can be attributed about ¼ to genetics, and ¾ to lifestyle choices. So what’s the biggest, most proactive step you can take to age well? Taking actual, physical steps.
“Movement is associated with life, quality of life, and it reduces your risk of premature or accidental aging,” Brian explains. “As we age, we move less, which is counterintuitive and therefore accelerates our rate of aging.”Maintain The Big Four To Age Well
It’s important to maintain what Brian calls the “Big 4” as you get older: Strength, agility, flexibility, and balance. When you stop moving, you lose the “Big 4,” which is a contributing factor to falls in older adults. “The number one cause of morbidity or mortality for people over 65 is falls,” Brian says. “And why do people fall? They fall because they stop moving earlier.”Whatever Your Age, Move More
Brian asks, “If movement affects aging, quality of life, morbidity, and mortality, how can we help people age and move successfully?” His answer? Get moving right away (after consulting with your doctor, of course), no matter how old you are currently. “The changes you make right now pay off into your rate of aging even if you’re 85 years old today. The research is clear about that.”Walk Well, Age Well
Movement is magic, and walking is a free tool to help you stay active, healthy, and engaged as you age. Whether you’re starting from a sedentary lifestyle or want some tips on how to incorporate more movement into your routine, check out our article “How Does Walking Help Senior Citizens Age Well?” for information on walking’s benefits and ways to hit the street to improve your health.
Did you know that using a walker or Camino can help you gain the confidence and strength to walk more often? The Camino Smart Walker goes one step further and brings you controlled power boosts uphill and braking down hill as well as AI insights into the quality of your gait. Camino is stylish, smart and simple to use, so you can walk further, walk taller, walk well, and age well. Come walk with Camino, and learn more here.
Learn more about Brian Browne and his work with Cognitive Care Management here.