Aging often gets a bad reputation, but it’s a natural and normal part of life that should be celebrated rather than stigmatized. As Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman said, “Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!” Learn the effects of aging on the body so that you know what to expect as you head into your golden years.
Effects of Aging on the Body
As you grow older, your metabolism typically slows down. In fact, your metabolism’s speed starts to decrease around age 25. However, don’t look at this as a negative. Slowing down your metabolism is just one way your body protects itself. According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, decreased thyroid function may lead to extended longevity. A thyroid gland with decreased function slows down metabolism. Some doctors hypothesize that with a faster metabolism, the body must work harder, which puts it under more stress. In addition, having a slower metabolism can motivate you to take better care of your body by eating healthy, low-calorie foods and exercising. People with a faster metabolism tend to gain less weight, which means they might lack motivation to work out and eat healthy food.
Although doctors aren’t exactly sure why, they do know that aging has a big impact on the size of your cells, the rate at which they multiply, and how well they are able to eliminate waste. We can trace many of the changes going on in your body back to changes in cells. For example, as you age your connective tissue cells become stiffer. Your bones, ligaments, and cartilage are made out of connective tissues, so they can start to loose mass. Cell membranes also change, which means many tissues have a harder time soaking in oxygen and nutrients and detoxifying. In addition, some cells become larger and aren’t able to divide as quickly (source). However, don’t be alarmed. These are all just natural processes, and your body knows how to adapt to them.
Vision and Hearing Changes
Over time, repeated exposure to ultraviolet rays and loud noises starts to take a toll on your body. If you notice that your vision is starting to look cloudy and dull, make an appointment with your eye doctor. You could be dealing with age-related cataracts, but with the right treatment, you’ll be seeing bright colors again in no time. As far as hearing loss goes, abut one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss and nearly 50 percent of people older than 75 have difficulty hearing (source). Untreated hearing loss can have a negative impact on your life. You might find that it is hard to communicate with your friends or even enjoy a movie if you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss. So if you have trouble hearing, don’t wait to get a hearing aid. With the help of an audiologist, you’ll be hearing again in no time.
How you view the effects of aging on the body all depends on your perspective and mindset. Rather than dwelling on what you can’t do anymore, be thankful that your body is reminding you to relax and enjoy a simple, slow life.
If you’re looking for a welcoming community where you can enjoy your golden years, check out The Shores of Lake Phalen in Maplewood, Minnesota. Our state-of-the-art facility is surrounded by a scenic wooded setting near two lakes, and our community offers apartment-style housing with the atmosphere and elegance of a resort. Thanks to our team of dedicated staff members, residents enjoy a carefree lifestyle without the worries of running a household. Schedule a tour to explore our community, or give us a call at 651-777-7784. We look forward to hearing from you!