As the years continue to quickly slip by, one thing is certain: We’re all getting older. The aging process is natural. From the first few grey hairs to the fine lines that begin to appear, aging and the changes that are taking place in our bodies are all part of the progression of life.
Aging doesn’t just affect our physical appearance. Our bones, joints, and muscles all go through changes. Our cardiovascular system begins to change. We experience differences in the way our digestive system works and might notice changes in our urinary health and bladder function. The aging process can come as a big surprise as the body begins to function differently than it did before.
The Aging Process Is Completely Natural
We can’t do anything to turn back the hands of time. The aging process is a natural occurrence that will (sooner or later) happen to us all. Did you know that most people reach their peak performance at the age of 30?
It’s not however, all downhill from there. The age at which you notice yourself slowing down or become aware of changes in your physical, mental, or sensory health is dependent on a number of different factors. These include:
- Health Choices,
- Medical History, and
- Physical Activity Level.
Aging is inevitable. With all the changes that occur with the aging process, it’s important to know what’s considered normal aging and what to expect as time marches on.
Understanding the Aging Process
Whenever the aging process begins for you personally, it’s important to know what’s happening with your body. It’s also imperative to know what changes and symptoms are normal as you begin to age. Doing so will ensure you take the proper steps to stay healthy no matter how old you are. Normal changes in the aging process include the following.
- Decreased Eyesight
It’s normal to reach for the reading glasses as our eyes begin to age. When we get older, we lose the ability to focus on objects that are close up. This is known as presbyopia and is caused by a loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye, and it usually begins around 40. Cataracts, which are the clouding of the lens of the eye, affect a large number of the aging population and typically happen around the age of 60.
- Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss affects approximately a third of all people over the age of 60. Say what? It’s true. And absolutely normal. Hearing loss is attributed to the loss of sensory receptors in the inner ear, which makes it difficult to hear high frequencies and hold a normal conversation in a loud, crowded room. People may sound muffled, and you might find yourself turning up the volume on the stereo or TV.
- Urinary Tract and Bladder Health
If you feel like you have to use the bathroom more than you used to, you’re not the only one. Urinary tract and bladder health both tend to decrease as we get older and affect quite a few people. Incontinence (loss of bladder control) and frequent urination are both common side effects of the aging process.
- Bone Strength and Muscle Mass
By the time we hit the age of 35, our bones begin to lose minerals faster than they can be replaced. As the years go by, bones also tend to shrink in size and become weaker and more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. Without adequate exercise, muscles also begin to lose strength and flexibility. The older we get, the more we have to work at maintaining muscle mass.
- Memory Loss
Forgetting where you put your phone or what you did with your keys doesn’t mean you’re losing your mind, but it does probably mean you’re losing your memory. Memory loss is one of the most natural parts of aging. As we age, we lose our ability to quickly process information. This can lead to memory loss and some mild cognitive dysfunction.
- Loss of Strength and Stamina
The loss of muscle mass we experience as we age is a direct cause of the loss of strength we face. The aging process is responsible for the loss of muscle tissue, which makes muscles less flexible and is why we tend to feel stiff when we’re older.
The heart is one of the most important muscles of the body, and it, too, is affected by the aging process. As our hearts begin to age, we find that we have less stamina than we did when we were younger and at our peak performance.
- High Blood Pressure
If you’re over 60 and have high blood pressure, this is completely normal. In fact, over half of the people 60 years of age or older suffer from high blood pressure – but this condition can be avoided. Eating less sodium, getting regular exercise, and keeping a healthy weight can all help prevent high blood pressure and the symptoms associated with it.
If you’re experiencing any of these, and you’re past your prime, it’s safe to say you’re experiencing aging in its natural occurrence. While stopping the aging process is impossible, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you’re aging gracefully and are correctly addressing all the things that come along with it.
3 Tips on How to Gracefully Embrace the Aging Process
You can’t turn back the hands of time, but you can certainly determine how your body handles the aging process. It’s vital to enjoy life in all its stages. By incorporating the following ideas into your life, you’ll find the aging process isn’t so bad after all.
- Embrace a Healthy Diet
What we eat has everything to do with how we feel. Eating a well-balanced diet that is full of the nutrients your body needs is vital as you embrace the aging process. Fill your plate with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Also be sure to get the “good” fats you need. These can be found in nuts, seeds, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, and more. A healthy, balanced diet is the key to longevity and feeling your best!
- Get Plenty of Exercise
You don’t need to engage in strenuous activity to get the exercise your body needs to stay healthy as you age. According to the New York Times, any type and amount of exercise might actually slow down the aging process and the effect aging has on our cells. A balanced exercise routine that includes mild cardio (walking, jogging, swimming, etc.), strength training (even lifting 2-3 pound weights will help), and stretching can benefit the aging body and mind.
- Do Things You Enjoy
There’s no better way to enjoy getting older (and all the changes that come with it) than by doing the things you love. Staying socially active and spending time with people you care about can positively impact the aging process and dramatically improve your quality of life.
As you get older, it’s natural to begin to experience changes associated with the aging process. Ensuring you’re taking the best possible care of yourself will make sure you enjoy these changes and live life to the fullest extent possible…no matter how many candles on your cake.
What have you found to help you gracefully embrace the aging process? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!