Dealing with Changes to Your Body as You Age: Our Top Tips
December 21, 2021
Some parts of life are inevitable; missed opportunities, failure, regret, and challenges – to name a few. We accept most of life’s challenges as we navigate life, and through our caregivers and friends, we learn how to deal with and avoid reoccurring instances of these trials. However, an inevitable part of life that our peers and family cannot prepare us for – try as they might – is growing old. Although granted, the modern-day longevity rate is much higher than it was for our ancestors, aging is still a complex subject for some and can be a scary prospect.
Aging is a unique process for us; no two people age the same, so it can be hard to seek advice and comfort as our bodies go through these foreign changes. Especially for adults who may not have family and friends to rely on, it can be a very straining time for both your mental and physical health. The key to becoming more relaxed about the aging process is to accept the inevitability of growing older. Instead of fearing the changes your body and mind will undertake, you should embrace them. This article aims to outline the changes your body will go through during the aging process and offer our top tips on how to deal with one of life’s most-dreaded inevitabilities.
Be Prepared for Your Energy Levels to Decrease
One of the most debilitating changes your body will undergo during the aging process is a noticeable difference in your energy levels. Your energy levels may deteriorate for several reasons; they could be due to fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, or more severe problems that aging can expose you to with your bones and heart. Growing older, we experience changes to the build-up of our cells, which cause our muscles and bones to lose elasticity, mass, and strength. Losing this strength can make exercises you used to do with ease much more strenuous, and you might find that you can no longer complete them to your previous ability. Changes to cells can also cause the lining around our hearts to thicken, which causes issues for the heart and its ability to pump blood and oxygen around the body, leading to a lack of energy.
Although you may not maintain the same energy levels all your life, you can certainly help keep them from completely deteriorating. Health professionals recommend two and a half hours of exercise per week for individuals in their mid-sixties, which you can achieve in many different ways such as walking, running, lifting small weights, cycling, or aerobic exercises like yoga. Introducing as per your body type, a regular exercise routine into your later life provides other benefits such as balance training, improving your mood, and helping you remain independent for as long as you can by building your strength.
Anticipate a Change to Your Dietary Functions
As we navigate the aging process, we also experience changes to our dietary functions, resulting in a loss or change in our appetites and other problems. As we grow older, the contractions that allow food to pass through our digestive tract are reduced, which can lead to issues such as nausea, loss of appetite, and stomach pains. You may also find that foods you enjoyed when you were younger no longer agree with your body changes, and you might have to revise your diet.
Maintaining a balanced and varied diet is crucial as you grow older, as eating healthily can decrease your risk of contracting life-threatening diseases, boost your energy levels, blood circulation and can even affect your outward appearance. Make healthy, intelligent dietary choices by consuming food that is low in saturated fats, eating lots of fruit and vegetables, fibrous food and powders, and varying your protein sources. Older bodies require a healthy diet, supplements and more protein to maintain strength, mass, and overall bone health so that mobility doesn’t become compromised. Avoid relying on overly-processed foods and red meat for your protein intake and vary your consumption by eating nuts, fish, eggs, spinach, and delicious protein snacks. These protein snacks can be bought from experts like EatProtein. Browse their impressive range of products for more information and prices and to see how their products could help you on your aging dietary journey.
Be Prepared for Changes to Your Outward Appearance
Quite possibly, one of the most feared aspects of aging is the changes that the process brings to our outward appearance and bodies. More notably, aging causes our skin to lose its elasticity and our facial muscles to deteriorate, which causes imperfections such as wrinkles, sagging, and pronunciation of the forehead and jawline. Sadly, there is no miracle cure for this, but you can slow down the process by looking after your skin and making small lifestyle changes to prolong the elasticity of the face. For instance, if you’re a smoker, cutting down your usage will help improve or prevent wrinkles, as tobacco intake is one of the number one causes of premature wrinkling and causes other skin conditions such as age spots and jaundice. You could also try some of the following techniques to slow down the appearance of wrinkles;
- Wearing sunglasses or a large-brimmed hat to protect your skin from sun damage and avoid staying out in the sun for prolonged periods.
- Eating antioxidant or anti-inflammatory foods such as fish, peppers, berries, and green tea.
- Drinking the recommended daily water allowance.
- Avoiding stress, where you can, and tensing of the face.
Support Changes to Your Mental Health by Socialising
A crucial aspect of growing older, and dealing with the ever-changing state of your body, is to look after your mental wellbeing by surrounding yourself with a supportive net of friends or family members. Mental deterioration is ever-present in our fears of growing older, and rightfully so, as a common cause of mental unwellness in older adults is loneliness. Studies have shown that adults in their mid-sixties and above are most at risk of becoming socially isolated since individuals in this age demographic are more likely to have lost a partner, family members, or friends and live as a result of this alone. In worst-case scenarios, loneliness is one of the key contributors of the early-death statistic for older people or can lead to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, strokes, or mentally debilitating illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever as you grow older to maintain strong social circles and a good relationship with your local community. If your social circle is suffering, build social ties by looking for ways to make new friends or reconnect with old ones. Providing that you’re computer-savvy, you could do this through social media by looking up old friends and seeing if they have public profiles or by joining online support groups and exchanging messages or planning weekly meet-ups. On the other hand, if you’re a bit of a technophobe, you could seek out new friendships by joining community activities like bake sales, book clubs, exercise classes, or your retirement community. Alternatively, you could try volunteering at your local shelter, library, or charity shop, which is not only self-fulfilling but great social activity.
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