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Extending Our Telomeres

By Kim Guevara

February 2024

I recently watched a Netflix special on a Stanford twin diet study. Let’s just say my excitement and “wow” energy, had my family members wondering if I’d really lost my mind (as they have always suspected!). When I explained, they still think I’m “Scaredy Squirrel nutty”, but at least I got the “OMG/groan! That’s SO mom/Kim”. In just 8 weeks, participants’ telomeres were extended!

So, what's a telomere? Imagine the plastic tips at the end of your shoelaces that keep them from fraying… Telomeres are like the plastic tips that protect our body’s chromosomes and genetic data.


Every time you have a cell reproduce (a constant in our bodies), a little bit of the telomere falls apart. Over time as the cells continue to divide, the telomere frays and eventually is gone, and the cell is no longer able to divide.


The “fountain of youth”, the key to understanding cancer, the adverse effects of aging, memory, stress management – all have links to our telomeres.

Frayed shoelace.png
Intact Shoelace Aglet.png

“Healthy habits” that extend your telomeres in addition to eating healthy:

  • Practicing mindfulness

  • Getting quality sleep

  • Moving your body with regular exercise


The next time you’re tempted to skip those healthy habits think about that fraying shoelace.


Reflect inwardly on the needs of the cells in your brain and body, and outwardly on how you can lead by example in promoting well-being. As leaders, our well-being directly influences our effectiveness, resilience, and capacity to inspire.

Let's all commit to extending our telomeres and, by extension, our capacity to lead effectively and compassionately.

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