The natural part of aging
Monday, November 5, 2018
Getting older is a natural part of life and a lot of things you learn and do in your family and the choices you make influence how you age. If you take good care of your body now and learn how to take care and destress then often you can slow down some of the cumulative effects that happen as we age. It is not too late to change bad habits or add better ones.
Obviously genetics play a part in our lives. Our family may have a genetic predisposition to act or have things happen a certain way. Chronic health problems involving high blood pressure or diabetes can mean you have a higher chance of having those yourself as well but your life is not set in stone. By being physically active, eating the right foods, and learning to deal and cope properly with stress we can mitigate and reduce the chance of debilitating illnesses destroying the elder years of our lives.
Some things will inevitably happen and usually are gradual such as physical changes with hair and body shape. Your metabolism which is how quickly you burn and use calories also changes over time meaning that you may need less food than you did before. This can also influence sleep patterns. You may need supplemental accoutrements and aids such as crutches or glasses and also hearing aids. Often glasses may be needed around age 40 and then in the 50’s you may start having bone issues and notice your desire is slower.
Many of your body parts also are less efficient meaning, for example, that you have issues with your heart or kidneys are less efficient. So it is even more important to keep active, drink more water and healthy beverages and pick the right things to eat.
Keeping active not only keeps you strong and healthy but it is good for your mind. The old saying “Use it or lose it” is very true. I remember my relative once told me about the “50’s shoulder” when you would have trouble raising your arms above your head if you didn’t move your arms regularly and your body can get stiff. That’s why people that retire and maintain mobile and active are often able to have better quality of lives than those that sit on the couch all day.
Simple activities are all you need including gardening, walking or going to the gym to move and work out. It’s always important of course to check with a physician to make sure you’re safe and doing something not strenuous. If you want to be more active try some swimming or bowling even!
Keep in touch with friends and family. I also remember when my relative retired that regular calls and joking around, giving gifts, and helping them move also gave them something to look forward to and keep mentally healthy and fit and busy. The relative even took it upon themselves with some contract help to help redo some carpeting and refit a bathroom.
It’s a good idea to note what your stress levels every day are and exercise at least 20 minutes to 30 minutes a day. People that feel like they have a community to support them feel happier and healthier.
Another thing to consider is to be mentally active. So try playing brain games or do puzzles or Sudoku or math problems and education workshops or card games.
Remember, to stay at your best eat healthy and that means eliminating excessive fatty and salty foods even if they taste good. Fried foods can clog up your arteries.
Practice safe sex even as you get older.
It’s never too late to quit smoking, drugs or alcohol.
Don’t forget safety in the car and use your belt. If you have vision problems consider getting glasses or someone to drive for you.
Certain things that change in your body including the elasticity of the skin. Often there are more wrinkles and lines. There is less oil being produced so you may have drier skin and need moisturizer, sunscreens, hats and protective clothing. Your nails may also not grow as fast.
Sight may also change so you may need corrective lenses because your lenses in your eyes become less flexible when viewing things, a condition called presbyopia. Night vision and visual accuity diminishes as well.
Then it is also normal to see thinning of hair in various parts of your body as well as a reduction in hair pigmentation cells which means more gray and white hairs.
Your will also start to have difficulty hearing and may not hear high frequency sounds which can also affect your speech patterns and clarity. This occurs most often after the age of 55.
Height also changes due to compression of bones and discs and joints of the spine and some people may see as much as a reduction of two inches in height.
You may have more brittle or weaker bones since there’s a natural bone loss and osteoporosis can happen but also can be risk reduced if a person does regular weigh-bearing exercises including walking and getting enough Vitamin D and calcium.
Metabolism slows so consider strength training because it helps you maintain your metabolism. A loss of muscle mass can slow your metabolism. So if you strength train it can help you maintain or have a better metabolism.
As you are getting older the brain starts to lose weight, size and blood flow. However the brain adapts by creating different nerve ending patters. Memory will change or be slower. Learning and being social reduces this while exercising helps improve blood flow to the brain.
You also may not sleep as long when you’re older. At times you may also wake up in the middle of the night or earlier.
Your heart and lung endurance changes. Your heart may work harder than it did before and you might have to catch your breath more often. Thus your heart may become bigger.
Have you started getting into your older years? When did you start to notice that and how did you feel? What have you started to do differently that you didn’t do years ago and to compensate for this change?