Dr. Michael Roizen on the Walker Webcast.
Many people report feeling like the isolation and other stressors of the pandemic prematurely aged them, even if they are otherwise healthy.
That perception might actually be true, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, who was Cleveland Clinic’s chief wellness officer from 2007 to 2019 and founding chair of its Wellness Institute.
Roizen’s focus is on educating people about how their behaviors impact their cellular DNA and thus influence their longevity. Speaking on this week’s Walker Webcast, he said that the choices we make about things like sleep, diet and physical activity can result in a person having a physiological or “real” age that is significantly different from their chronological age.
Roizen, who is 76 chronological years old but estimates that a proactively healthy lifestyle means his physiological age is closer to 55, told host Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker that stress is the No. 1 thing people need to control in their lives to reduce premature aging.
“Stress is the greatest danger of all,” Roizen said. “And the keys to managing it are with a posse and a purpose.”
By “posse,” Roizen means maintaining a network of meaningful friendships that can help keep a person’s brain active while staving off the potentially ill effects of a solitary lifestyle.
He acknowledged that maintaining a circle of friends is not necessarily easy for most adults, and it didn’t get any easier with so many people working from home. This deprived them of both their posse and the purpose that can come from working in an office.
“When you’re young, it’s pretty easy to have friends through school and sports, but as you get older, you’ve got to work at that posse,” he said. “And that’s especially true as we’ve moved out of the office during the pandemic. Getting back to the office holds a great chance of reducing and managing stress.”
Peter Linneman on the Walker Webcast
Roizen’s emphasis on the importance of social interaction found a receptive audience in both Walker and Walker’s other guest on the webcast this week, Peter Linneman, an authority on commercial real estate, former Wharton Business School faculty member and a co-writer of Roizen’s new book, The Great Age Reboot.
Walker, who has spoken in previous webcasts about the importance of returning to office for people’s career growth, said his firm now frames the back-to-office trend as “forward to work” to emphasize the positive benefits of group interactions.
“The office and engagement with people there is a huge component to our overall health,” Walker said.
Linneman also extolled the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships, noting that he keeps in regular contact with many friends, colleagues and former students, in addition to making new connections.
“Your posse has to evolve over time because you move or they move, they get sick or they get divorced,” he said. “You can’t view a posse as a static phenomena; you have to view it as dynamic and ever-changing.”
However, Linneman had a slightly different take on whether the workplace is an effective place to reduce stress. He noted that retiring and leaving the office environment several years ago was a healthy decision for him.
Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker on the Walker Webcast.
“My level of happiness went up enormously,” he said.
For those for whom retirement is not an immediate option, Roizen listed other ways to improve cellular health and potentially increase longevity. These include making smart choices about diet, maintaining physical activity, avoiding “unforced errors” like tobacco use, getting enough sleep and taking supplements such as creatine. All of these activities can have a positive effect on our bodies’ cellular activity down to the level of DNA, he said.
Linneman, who got involved with Roizen’s book through co-author and mutual friend Albert Ratner, said learning about longevity from Roizen has been enlightening.
“The most interesting thing I learned was just how much of our destiny we control,” said Linneman, who was born 71 years ago but whose biological age according to Roizen’s methodology is in the mid-50s. “Basically, we control 80% of our DNA settings by the type of stuff Mike is talking about. We call that ‘self-engineering.’ You may not be at MIT or Caltech, but you’re a great genetic engineer, for better and worse, and that was the single most important thing for me to learn.”
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This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Walker & Dunlop. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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