Health Info & Resources for Seniors
As you age, you will likely notice that your body has changed in many different ways. The same can be true for you as a person too. Life teaches you many things, and you likely will not be the person you were in your 20s or even early 30s. And that isn't a bad thing. But much in how we mature emotionally, our bodies evolve too, and not always for the better.
Getting older means your body has experienced more wear and tear, and even if you are living healthily, exercising, and taking care of yourself, there is no stopping the changes you might experience due to age. While this isn't true for everyone, and the effects of aging can change wildly from person to person, this post looks at some common ailments people experience in their older years and how you can help support your body.
Changes to Muscle Mass
We all lose a bit of muscle as we age, but the rate of muscle loss can vary quite a bit. A study that tracked 4,000 people over 15 years found that those who were middle-aged (40-64 years old) lost an average of 33% of their muscle mass, while those who were older (65-80 years old) lost an average of 49% of their muscle mass. So what does this mean for you? Well, as you get older, you'll find that your strength, endurance, and flexibility will start to deteriorate. So if you've always been active, you'll definitely want to keep that up, as it's one of the best ways to combat aging. As you get older, you'll also have to make sure that your diet is high in protein, which will help prevent muscle loss. Another important thing to remember is that strength training is just as necessary as aerobic exercise as you get older. In fact, strength training can actually help to prevent muscle loss.
Decreased Bone Density
As you get older, your bones will start to lose density, which is one of the main contributors to osteoporosis—a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle. Luckily, the good news is that you can slow down this process—and even reverse it—by making some simple lifestyle changes. One of the best ways to prevent bone density loss is to get plenty of calcium in your diet. Foods high in calcium include yogurt, cheese, milk, almonds, broccoli, and kale. Other helpful lifestyle changes include getting plenty of vitamin D (which can be found in sun exposure, as well as certain foods like eggs, salmon, and fortified cereal) and engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, and lifting weights.
Changes in Your Skin
As you get older, your skin will also start to undergo some changes. First, you'll probably notice that your skin is less elastic, meaning it won't bounce back as quickly after being stretched. The collagen and elastin in your skin will also start to break down, causing wrinkles and fine lines to form. In fact, research has shown that 90% of wrinkles are caused by age, while only 10% are caused by smiling and frowning. You may also notice your skin is drier and rougher due to cells breaking down, decreased cell renewal, and fewer natural oils to keep skin soft and supple. But you should know the difference between psoriasis, eczema, and dry skin, too, so you can get the appropriate products or medications to treat it.
You can prevent and reverse many of these changes by making some simple changes to your skincare routine. First, ensure you're getting plenty of vitamin D, which can be found in sunlight. Other helpful skincare habits include using sunscreen when you're out in the sun (duh) and wearing moisturizing creams daily.
Your Metabolism Will Slow Down
As you get older, your metabolism will naturally slow down, which means you'll likely gain a bit of weight. The good news is that you can prevent this by making easy lifestyle changes. First off, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and veggies each day, as they're packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which all help boost your metabolism. You might also want to up your exercise game, as this will help to boost your metabolism as well. Another helpful way to keep your metabolism going strong is to avoid sitting for long stretches at a time. Some research has found that prolonged sitting periods can slow down your metabolism, leading to weight gain.
Weakened Bladder Muscles
As you get older, the muscles in your bladder will naturally become weaker, causing you to urinate more frequently than you did when you were younger. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to combat this. First off, make sure that you're drinking plenty of water. While this is important for all ages, it's especially crucial as you age, as it can help prevent bladder issues. Additionally, consider doing Kegel exercises, as these can help to strengthen the muscles in your bladder.
Vision and Hearing Changes
As you get older, your eyes and ears might start to change, which may lead to vision and hearing impairments. Luckily, you can prevent some of these changes by making simple lifestyle changes. First, ensure you're getting plenty of vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for healthy vision, and it can be found in foods like spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Likewise, you should make an effort to avoid putting yourself at risk for hearing impairments, as they are actually quite common in later life. One helpful way to prevent hearing loss is to avoid being around loud noises, which can damage your ears. You should also ensure that you wear ear protection if you're around loud noises, as this can also cause damage.
There are plenty of changes you can expect to go through as you get older, but the good news is that there are also plenty of ways to combat these changes. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you can prevent or reverse many physical changes that come with getting older. From increasing your calcium intake to exercising more often, you can do plenty of things to keep your body strong and healthy. So if you're about to turn 50, don't worry—there are plenty of things you can do to keep your body in great shape.