Aging is one of our gradual processes and none of us can deny getting older. Traditionally, aging has been viewed as a natural process and consequently not a disease by many researchers.
It is an already known fact that disorders in health are directly related to aging and physical fitness. Changes are noticeable along with aging, whether it’s about PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome) or menopause which plays a great role in discomforts, fatigue, mood swings in females. It also affects females with more loss in bone density leading to osteoporosis. In males, an aging syndrome contributes majorly to weight gain, sleeping disorders, fatigue, and hair or muscle loss, or maybe continuous and inevitable deterioration of physical capacities and what not. Maybe that’s an alarming signal by the brain.
It is also taken in a gloomy perspective that aging causes dependency, a person loses their own ability to do work, depression, and is unable to enjoy their life. Such beliefs can also make a person cautious at a very young age and more prone to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and impaired physical functioning. Similarly taking aging as a normal biological process, can have health benefits and add years to life!
So, how precisely aging affects us in terms of our physical performance and our learning abilities?
What effect does your age have on your fitness?
- The loss of lean body mass is a typical visual symptom of aging in older people. This is largely attributed to a decrease in muscle mass and activity.
- The Epidermis (outer skin layer) thins, but the amount of cells doesn’t change. The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases.
- Aging also causes a loss of height, joint activity, and motion due to a decrease in bone mass and minerals.
- It causes the strength of the body’s core muscles to deteriorate. This will put you at risk for crashes and injuries.
- Osteoporosis is a skeletal condition caused by a loss of bone density, which may lead to the skeleton’s inability to function.
- Weight changes occurs
- Changes in senses (smell, taste, touch, hear, listening) becomes less sharpen, as the brain function reduces.
- Hormonal changes occur, (some increases, some decreases while few remains same)
- Men and women’s hand function reduces with age, particularly after the age of 65.
- Handgrip ability deteriorates, making simple tasks like opening a container or turning a key more challenging to complete.
- The heart muscle loses its ability to rapidly deliver vast amounts of blood to the body. We are more easily exhausted and require longer to heal.
- For visualising objects, people in their 50s who are in the middle of their livesneed more light, and they often have difficulty concentrating on objects that are close to them.
- Various illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, are at an increased risk with age.
Combating Aging’s Physical Consequences
According to research, exercise has a significant effect on our physical and mental health, and it can also help us age more slowly. We may engage in a variety of events including the following:
1.Brisk walking. While brisk walking is a less vigorous form of aerobic exercise than jogging, it is still a very effective exercise that raises your heart rate and works your muscles. Brisk walking also has the benefit of causing less effect on your joints than jogging, but whether you have weak knees or hips, brisk walking would be a much safer choice of exercise than jogging. A study suggested that brisk walking increases endurance in physically deconditioned elderly women.
2. Stationary cycling. Stationary bicycles are readily available at most gyms, and youth centers. Stationary cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, and the best thing is that it has little effect on the knees, reducing the risk of injuries. It is also proven by research that stationary cycling reduces the pain of osteoarthritis among elderly.
3. Swimming. This is a perfect physical workout so your muscles aren’t overworked because your body weight is balanced by the water. Swimming is a perfect sport for people with arthritis and osteoporosis.
4. Yoga. Yoga is a more formal type of daily stretching exercises that often assists in muscle development. Although you’ll be working your muscles to support your own weight through yoga, you won’t be putting too much tension on your knees, so yoga is ideal for people who have bone or joint problems.
5.Tai Chi. It is an ancient Chinese practice especially useful for elderly population. It focuses on muscle control, stability, flexibility and balance. Research has proven that it is very beneficial to improve fear of falls in elderly population.
6. Regular stretching. Stretching is an essential workout to keep the body in good shape, and it can be repeated every day. Stretch all of your muscles, including your spine, back, shoulders, belly, sides, arms, thighs, and calves. In elderly extra benefits can be achieved as it relaxes stiffened muscles, releases muscle soreness and reduces risk of injuries
Aging and Learning Abilities
When you get older, certain parts of your brain , certain parts of your brain diminish in size, affecting your capacity to encode new information into your memory and recall information that has already been stored. Blood supply to brain also diminishes. It can also affect moods and personality.
Alzheimer’s disease is more likely to occur as you get older, approaching 50% before the age of 85. This occurs many years before the symptoms appears. Researchers aren’t knowing why the risk increases more significantly when we grow older, although it’s likely that the condition is due to abnormal build up protein in brain which is a normal part of aging and these deposits to build up in areas like the hippocampus, which is responsible for creating new memories.
Long-term memory can also be hampered by these deposits. Also there is decreased number of messenger cells (neurotransmitters) that functions as transporter of messages between brain cells. Most researchers believe that, in addition to aging, genes, and lifestyle play a role in the majority of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases.
Chronic hypertension has been linked to a decline in cognitive ability, and research suggests that it can predict cognitive dysfunction. Mental health conditions, such as depression, which is common among the elderly, may affect motivation and concentration, among other things.
However, Dendrite branching (type of a neuron), on the other hand, increases, and interactions between distant brain regions intensify. These developments help the aging brain grow more adept at identifying connections between disparate sets of data, catching the big picture, and comprehending the global ramifications of particular problems. Perhaps this is the starting point for wisdom. It’s as if,
as you get older, the brain gets better at seeing the whole tree but gets worse at seeing the leaves.
How to Cope up with Mental Aging?
- Challenge Yourself. , psychologically challenging exercises may help reverse cognitive impairment. Having the mind active seems to boost brain vitality and can help the brain develop reservoirs of brain cells and connections. Participate in challenging events and brain training games that you enjoy: It doesn’t matter whether you read, write, put together a jigsaw puzzle, or focus on crossword puzzles. You can also go for arts and crafts, trivia games and Sudoku.
- Choose Your Food Wisely. in vitamins. Including and other nutrients, long chain omega 3 fatty acid, magnesium and calcium and fibers that can help protect the brain. For example, consuming colorful fruits and vegetables with high amounts of disease-fighting antioxidants on a daily basis can help combat disease-causing free radicals in the body, including the brain. Avoid foods with high level of saturated fats ( fast food, crisps, savory items and processed meats). Prepare meals with ingredients rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which can boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and, according to science, can help protect brain cells. Check what foods are good for you Click here!
- Get Proper Sleep. For complete functioning of body, proper sleep is essential. Getting a consistent and good quality of sleep helps to have good health and reduce cognitive impairments. Researches have shown that people who sleep less than that of 7-8 hours’/night score lower on mental test function.
- Quitting of Alcohol and Tobacco: Tobacco and Alcohol are related to causes serious health risks including heart problems, cancers, and chronic lung diseases. A study suggest that people who smoke are at higher risk of suffering from dementia. Behavioral interventions and drug therapies help to quit and have fewer side effects.
- Listen to Music. According to a study published where, , listening to music can improve the brain’s ability to predict events and stay focused. The researchers performed an MRI on people’s minds when they were listening to symphony music and then while they weren’t. When music was playing, the regions of the brain involved in paying attention, making predictions, and accessing memories were activated.
- Nurture Your Relationships. Invest in your relationships with friends and family. Experts believe that social interaction usually requires the use of memory and attention-related regions of the brain, which are often used in many cognitive activities. In addition, one study found that practices that combine social interaction with physical and mental activity may aid in the prevention of dementia.
The bright spot is that there are opportunities to prime ourselves to live longer at any level of life as we age if we hear about the “how” and begin consciously taking “actions” to delay and protect against illnesses or vulnerabilities associated with aging.