[dropcap style=”inverted”]A[/dropcap]ging is a process every living being has to go through. We are continually going through this process from the day we are born. Reaching our middle-age years is an indication of the fact that one has entered the phase of life when many changes and certainly many challenges continue to occur inside and outside the body.
Graying of hair, wrinkles appearing particularly on the face, hands and feet, and weakening of bones resulting in bent bodies are some of the very obvious signs of aging. Many other significant changes in our body processes also occur; like slowing of metabolism, lesser resistance to diseases and lesser motor responses in some cases. But nowadays the aging process is apparently being slowed down or delayed because of the increasing awareness about the factors causing acceleration and deceleration of aging. Therefore, knowing what causes aging is very fundamental if one wants to stay fit and younger for a longer time.
Causes of Aging
Aging is an inevitable process. Usually our habits developed over a longer period of time affect the aging process greatly. Our environmental conditions also play vital role in this regard. Every individual has a different tendency of being affected by these factors and therefore, speed of aging is also different in different individuals.
If a person has been practicing unhealthy habits throughout their life like smoking, drug abuse, lack of sufficient exercise or other healthy activities, lack of healthy foods in daily routines and lethargic attitudes, then the person is sure to get older earlier than the one practicing the positively opposite routine. Moreover, if our environment allows us to get exposed to more pollution and more diseases, we are sure to have our aging processes accelerated. Although the exact process of aging is still being studied and no proper account of it is available, the knowledge of the possible factors speeding up this process can help you live longer by slowing down your aging process.
Possible Effects of Aging
As mentioned earlier, aging creates many changes inside as well as outside the body. Inside our body, many processes undergo drastic changes as the time passes. Some of these changes are as follows:
- Bones are weakened to a great extent as more bone is degenerated than formed. Joints become fragile and there are more chances of fractures and skeletal deformations. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are very frequently reported to occur after the age of 50. In women, menopause is likely to happen at around that age which further results in weakening of bones.
- Â A decrease in height is another change to be noticed during the aging process. We kind of shrink as we age. It is due to weakening of muscles, loss of sponginess of inter-vertebral discs and compressed position of backbone.
- Reduced blood flow to different muscles, lesser resilience of blood vessels and slower metabolism are other effects of aging.
- Skin gets drier and thinner with age. Wrinkles appear because the binding protein of the skin called collagen is lost very rapidly with age. Spots and rashes also appear in some cases. Skin is easily ruptured and heals very slow. Thinner skin also doesnâ€™t support the vitamin D production effectively and therefore, vitamin D deficiencies are usually found in older people causing skeletal deformations.
- Many cardiovascular complications and problems like heart attack, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimerâ€™s disease, etc. are very common among the older generation.
- Motor responses are reduced considerably with age. Weaker vision and hearing along with inability to recognize and understand things are some of the common disabilities that come with age.
Influence of Food and Lifestyle on Aging process
There is no doubt about the fact that healthy habits allow you to live longer and look younger than your age. Recent researches have proved that genes are also playing their role in determining who will live longer. Genes decide what diseases one is going to have during his life depending on the family history. One can be fortunate enough to get the genes offering longer life and fewer diseases from his parents, but it only depends on chance. Moreover, all genes stop showing their effects after the age of 80. So genes cannot be trusted for guaranteeing a longer life.
But one can surely increase his lifespan by following a healthy routine, i.e. balanced diet along with adequate physical activity. Eating fruits, vegetables, home-made edibles (rather than the easier fast foods) and other naturally obtained nutrients are very beneficial in improving the overall quality of life. This will allow you to control weight and blood cholesterol level very effectively. Taking in products with more calcium and vitamin D will be beneficial for stronger bones and better stamina.
Replacing the use of tobacco products and alcohol with increased physical activity will improve the condition of lungs and other organs, including allowing better blood flow throughout the body. In this way, the chances of diseases like heart disease and diabetes can be effectively reduced.
Following healthy routines and keeping yourself stress-free are some of the key factors that are bound to slow down your aging process considerably and will move you in the direction where as you age you can continue to live your life to its fullest.
By Liya Das