We all age as time passes. However, each person ages at a different rate.
Some people show signs of aging as early as 30 years old. Others look and feel young at 60. Most professionals who study aging note that a combination of the following factors influences how you age.
- Past illnesses
- Exercise and leisure
Many other factors can affect how you age too, and these are different for everyone. They can include injuries, education, occupation, medications and other elements of your lifestyle.
What’s happening to your body and mind as you get older?
Different parts of your body change in different ways as you get older. You might notice some of these things that are common with aging.
- Your skin shows wrinkles, skin tags, bruises and age spots. It makes less oils and becomes less elastic.
- Your heart may need to work harder. That’s because your blood vessels are less elastic and can’t flex as much. This can lead to high blood pressure and other heart problems.
- It’s easier to get a broken bone and harder to keep your balance or stay coordinated. This is because bones tend to shrink over time. This makes them weaker, and your muscles lose strength.
- You may be more forgetful or find it difficult to multitask because of the changes that occur in your brain. These can include losing nerve cells, having poorer connections between your brain cells and getting less blood flowing to your brain.
- Constipation and frequent urinating are more common because of structural changes in your large intestine and bladder. Outside factors such as the medications you take and whether you drink enough water or get enough exercise can also affect your digestive and urinary systems.
5 things you can do to boost your health as you age
No matter your current age, adding the following habits to your lifestyle can help keep you healthy. These habits can also help slow down the effects of aging.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke or use tobacco products, ask your doctor about ways to stop.
- Keep your mind active. Continuing to learn helps your mood, your thinking and your memory skills. Take classes, volunteer, learn to play an instrument, read, play games or take up a hobby.
- Schedule regular checkups. Your primary care provider can give you advice and treatments to overcome aging effects. See specialists regularly too, such as your eye doctor, dentist and condition-specific provider.
- Stay active every day. Do things you love daily that keep you moving, such as walking, swimming, gardening, jogging or weight training. Being active helps keep your muscles stronger and more flexible. It also lessens the effects of stress. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, aids the release of sexual hormones and improves your mood.
- Eat healthy foods. Eating more fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods and whole grains helps your digestive system work better. It helps your heart stay healthier and keeps your whole body working well, too. Watch your portion sizes, though. As you age, your metabolism slows down. This means you don’t need as much food as you used to. That’s because your body isn’t using it for energy as fast.