With the increase of life expectancy, we are having larger proportion of aging population. Aging is not a disease but a series of normal changes in our body. It is not surprising that old age would be accompanied by health problems. Some people stay healthy by changing lifestyle with age, thereby increasing their chances of enjoying retirement and taking full advantage of their senior years. We can not stop aging but can learn how to age successfully.
Certain physical changes are common in aging period. Your metabolism (how fast your body can burn calories) slows over time, which means that your body needs less food energy than before. Also, most people start needing reading glasses between ages 40 and 50, and many have some hearing loss later in life. Starting in your 50s, bone aging increases.
Also starting around age 50, you may notice changes in sexual function—it is normal to have a slower sexual response. Most vital organs gradually become less efficient with age. The kidneys are less able to keep enough water in your body. And the heart can start to show signs of wear and tear caused by years of eating the wrong foods and not exercising. So as you get older, it is important to exercise, drink plenty of water, and eat the right foods. One of the most important things you can do for your health is exercise. People who stay active are less likely to get depressed. Exercise can be anything from walking to gardening to working out at the gym. The important thing is to be active almost every day. No matter what your age or condition, there is a type of exercise that is right for you. Always ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to start an exercise program.
Your mental and emotional health is also important. Protect or improve your emotional health by staying in touch with friends, family, and the community. People who feel connected to others are more likely to thrive than those who are not. And try to keep stress at a minimum. Depression can be a serious problem for older adults. If you think you may be depressed, seek help from psychiatrist.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid salty foods and foods with a lot of fat in them, such as fried foods. If you smoke, try to quit. Do not abuse alcohol or drugs.
If you take good care of your body and learn positive ways to deal with stress now, you can slow down or even prevent problems that often come with getting older.
Dr Riffat H Lucy
The writer is an Anti-Aging Consultant. E-mail: [email protected]
Source: The Daily Star, November 08, 2008