Home Health How to Enjoy Your Age–and Change It

How to Enjoy Your Age–and Change It

How to Enjoy Your Age–and Change It
A child balances on a rock in a river - image courtesy Unsplash

Activate Your Engines to boost your biological age which accounts for the health and function of your cells, and can defy chronological age by a decade or more

By Dr. Anoop Kumar

A patient’s age

When I see a patient in the ER, one of the first things I look at is their age. After all, a 6-year-old with chest pain is quite different from a 60-year-old with chest pain.

But what if I told you that pinning down a person’s age is much tougher than making a calculation based on their birthday? What if I told you could shave 10 years off your age before your next birthday? It’s entirely possible when you understand the difference between chronological and biological age.

Chronological age is the number you’re used to—the age you add a year to every time the Earth completes a rotation around the sun. Biological age is different. It accounts for the health and function of your cells.

Read: What Is The Key To Healthy Aging?

As a result, biological age can defy chronological age by a decade or more. Getting your cells to respond favorably while genetics gives your body the initial set of instructions to follow, it is epigenetics—defined as the effect of your actions and environment on your genes—that modifies those instructions throughout your lifetime. Simply put, make the right choices, and your cells will respond favorably.

Your body instinctively knows to avoid danger, such as a fire that might injure your hand and decrease its function. The reverse is also true. By choosing the actions that are favorable to you, you can increase your function. That function happens through cells that are healthier and able to carry out their tasks efficiently. This, in a nutshell, is what we consider youthfulness.

Four Engines to Reverse Aging

You have Four Engines you can activate to develop youthfulness and reverse aging. These are Nutrition, Movement, Connection, and Rest, applied across the body and mind.


The first of your Four Engines is Nutrition. When someone first talks about nutrition, they’re likely to start by telling you what food to eat, but there is a greater kind of nutrition to start with: nutrition of the mind. These are the beliefs you hold, the narratives you hear, and the conversations you engage in.

It’s what you watch on YouTube and Netflix, what you’re texting to your friends, and the social media reaching your mind. All of these construct the frame through which you live your life. If the frame is tight and limiting, that stress is transferred to your body and its cells.

Ask yourself: What are the messages I receive daily?

Next comes nutrition of the body, which can be summarized in two simple steps.

1) Cut out processed foods.

2) Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The details of which fruits and vegetables should be consumed and whether or not some amount of dairy or meat can be included can vary, but the two essential steps remain the same. If everyone were to cut out all processed foods and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, many of the diseases we see today would disappear.

A boy plays cricket at a beach - image courtesy Unsplash
A boy plays cricket at a beach – image courtesy Unsplash


The second of your Four Engines is Movement. Studies are showing that moving your body vigorously for even as little as 15 to 30 minutes per week can make a significant difference in your cardiovascular health. But there’s much more to movement than exercise. Something you can do to move right is take all your joints through their entire range of motion. This wards off stiffness in the body, putting you on the path to defying time.

Read: Ageism is the New Sexism

Okay, you moved the body, but what about the mind? Research shows us that thoughts and feelings stagnating in the mind have effects on our bodies. I have interviewed many people who have healed from supposedly incurable conditions by exploring the emotions of their childhood that seem to have lodged in the body, creating disease.

Ask yourself: What happened that I have not been able to fully feel? What do I want to say? What do I want as opposed to what others want? When we free the mind, the body responds in kind.

Now that we have moved the body and the mind, we have to connect the two. This happens through the movement of the breath. In the ER, if I see an anxious patient, they will be breathing quickly and shallowly. If they’re calm, they will be breathing slowly and deeply. The good thing is that the relationship between mind and breath is bidirectional. This means that if you consciously breathe slowly and deeply, the mind will also start to calm down, and the body will follow. This is a technique we often use in the ER to help patients relax, and I see the biological result in their blood pressure and heart rate settling down.


The third of your Four Engines is Connection. Connection is threefold: connecting with yourself, connecting with others, and connecting with the planet.

Connecting with yourself means asking the big questions. Who Am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Studies show that engaging with these existential questions on a conscious level brings greater meaning to our lives.

Connecting with others means sharing our experiences. We are, by nature, social beings. We see each other, hear each other, feel each other’s presence, and relate to each other. We are part of families, groups, and organizations. Connecting can be as simple as sharing the thoughts you’re having right now with the person next to you or the next person you talk to on the phone.

Read: A healthier life?

Perhaps the greatest biohack in existence today is that of connecting with the planet. Connecting with the planet means directly contacting the planet and plugging in, just as you would plug in your phone for charging. It means putting your bare feet in the soil, breathing in fresh air and letting it contact the full depth of your lungs, allowing sunlight to fall on your skin, and casting your eyes and vision upward to contact the sky.

Today, the practice of putting our feet directly into the soil is known as grounding. We know that when our skin contacts the soil, there is electron transfer between the two, which is associated with decreased inflammation, modifying your biological age. Similarly, oxygen-rich air from a natural environment nourishes our cells, and phytoncides in the air of forests help fight disease.


The fourth of your Four Engines is Rest. Just as when you think of movement, you may think of exercise, the thought of rest conjures images of sleep. Although we tend to think of sleep as a time when nothing is happening, a lot is going on behind the scenes. Your body is restoring itself by fighting disease, filtering out toxins, and maintaining homeostasis while your mind rests.

That rest can also extend into the waking state you are in now. You can feel the difference between a day when the mind is restful and productive and another day when the mind may be agitated. Your quality of life on two such days is starkly different, and the epigenetic changes happening in your body affect aging accordingly.

Together, Nutrition, Movement, Connection, and Rest are the Four Engines that modify your biological age. You can activate these engines right now. In fact, by reading this, you have already started activating the nutrition of the mind.

Living forever

Now that we’ve understood aging in greater detail, let’s ask a deeper question. If chronological age continues unabated like a pacemaker, and if biological age can be modified by your actions, can you stop aging completely? In short, can you become ageless?

There’s a growing movement of transhumanism that seeks to stop aging altogether, but perhaps this effort is missing a key point. Would we truly find greater fulfillment in having a body that lives forever? Or, are we seeking something deeper by trying to stop physical aging?

Indian tradition suggests you are ageless

The many philosophical and spiritual traditions of India suggest that you are already ageless. With varying language, these traditions describe an inner presence or light that illuminates the events of your life. As you explore connecting with yourself by asking the big questions, a meditative process of inquiring into this subtler nature naturally arises. Guided by the Four Engines, this path can begin anywhere, yet the destination is the same: a timeless, ageless experience that lives in the depths of our awareness.

The bridging of the ageless and aging aspects of our existence through the modification of our biological age via the Four Engines brings new insight and joy to our lives. You can act in the world and enjoy the play of time without longing for years gone by, enjoying the youthful heart that is always with you.

Read: The climate crisis is also a health crisis


Anoop KumarAnoop Kumar, MD, MM is a board-certified emergency physician and Co-founder and CEO of Health Revolution, a company building a complete ecosystem for healing. His flagship 28-Day Jumpstart course guides participants to activate their Four Engines of health and healing: Nutrition, Movement, Connection, and Rest.

Courtesy: India Currents (Posted on Feb 25, 2024)


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