Growing older is inevitable. But how well we age may be partly, if not largely, up to us. That’s the message of “Do We Really Need Botox: Handbook of Anti-Aging,” a thought-provoking new book by Sofia Din, MD, a family medical doctor and geriatrician who is also an anti-aging specialist. The book is available on Amazon, and Dr. Din, who is a Scarsdale resident, will be hosting a book-launch party at Leewood Golf Club in Eastchester Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m.
“The book is about anti-aging and the conversations we’re not having about aging,” said Din. “One of my missions is to help health care evolve into something better than what it is right now … I feel that health care in America, even though it’s really great, is basically reduced to sickness management. We do not spend enough time in preventing diseases. We don’t even train people, doctors or nurses, to spend time to really get to know the patients and help them lead their life better.”
Given the shortcomings of the health care system, Din said the public must assume more responsibility for fighting aging. “Consider aging as a disease itself,” said Din, who owns two medical practices, Juvanni Medical and Global Health in Yonkers. “Right now we have been trained that everybody is born and then they start aging and get sick and die. What I think is that aging itself is a disease, and that’s what leads to other diseases. It is when your cell and your DNA start unraveling that their functionality gets distorted, and that’s when [we] start manifesting different diseases. By that standard, dementia and cardiac disease and osteoporosis are not separate diseases; they’re basically manifestations and symptoms of aging. There are certain physical and mental manifestations of aging that we can sometimes stop.”
The good news is that many anti-aging measures are free, she added, offering up a few examples. For starters, Din recommended meditation. “There is concrete research that when people are meditating, they find a state of relaxation for the brain that is extremely healing,” she said. “Sometimes during meditation, you or your brain gets into brain waves that are even more relaxing and good for your brain than the deepest part of sleep … I routinely tell my clients to watch guided meditations to start with, plus there are training places around here. It heals you and restores your body at the cellular level.”
Getting enough sleep is another step people can take to age more gently. “When you’re sleeping, that’s when the brain clears out all the toxins it creates during the day,” Din said. “I constantly have to teach clients to stop watching TV [before bed] and [stop] exposing yourself to blue light rays [from screens] so you can sleep better and protect your brain.” If you don’t sleep well, she said, it’s extremely important to meditate often, since it will create the same restorative environment for your brain as the deep part of sleep.
While sleep and relaxation are both important to anti-aging, so is exercise. “I often tell people to do HIIT, which is high-intensity interval training,” Din said. “Not everyone enjoys exercise, but I say that somehow they have to find a way to move their body. The more you use it, the more you keep it, and when people exercise they release endorphins, which are very good for their brain.” (If you don’t exercise, the doctor added, do ‘sexercise’; sex is a good workout and orgasms release brain-boosting chemicals.)
Interested in going further to preserve your youthful body and mind? Eat real food and stay away from the processed kind, Din advised. “We are what we eat, and food affects us at a cellular level,” she explained. Eat too much junk, she warned, and “eventually you’re going to feel tired and start manifesting different diseases.”
Din has a personal interest in that last piece of advice — her former husband, whom she said had a poor diet, died in his mid-50s after suffering a cardiac arrest. “He passed away in 2014,” she shared, leaving her with a grieving 15-year-old daughter and plunging her into the world of single motherhood. Because of this, she’s been informally assisting other single moms for the last decade, and recently established Hagar’s Foundation for Single Mothers. Among other things, the foundation helps single moms get ready for job interviews by providing them with appropriate clothes and hair and makeup styling. “All proceeds from my book are going to the foundation,” Din said proudly.
When you buy a copy of “Do We Really Need Botox,” you’ll help do good for others — all while learning how to do right by yourself. “The sooner you start taking anti-aging measures,” Din said, “the better your life is going to be.”