Aging is a fact of life. By the time you reach your 50s, you may notice physical changes such as a steady weight gain, a slowing metabolism, hair loss, and changes in sexual performance. But don’t let growing older become an albatross around your neck. Learn what to expect as you age, and the best steps you can take to limit the effect on you.
It’s Easy to Lose Muscle Tone
As people age, they tend to slow down. Statistics suggest that people lose about 10 percent of their muscle mass for every decade after the age of 45. Unfortunately, too many people use growing older as an excuse to become sedentary. Specifically, experts suggest that people ages 65 and older are the least likely to engage in physical activity.
This decline in physical activity not only results in a loss of muscle tone, it means you’re burning fewer calories. While it may be normal to gain some weight as you age, there are ways to maintain a healthy weight and retain muscle tone as you grow older.
Begin by considering your eating habits. As your metabolism slows, consider reducing your caloric intake by 300 to 500 calories a day. In addition, increase your physical activity. Aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are the best for improving and retaining muscle tone and maintaining a healthy weight.
Seniors Face Dental Hygiene Issues
Dental hygiene is an area of concern regardless of your age. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that less than two-thirds (approximately 62 percent) of adults from 18 to 64 years of age visit their dentist annually. After the age of 65, this number only drops to around 60 percent.
The difficulty here is that if you have bad oral hygiene when you’re younger, chances are it won’t improve with age. The longer you let it slide, the more you increase your chances of having dental problems in your twilight years. One of the biggest dental issues, especially for seniors, is tooth loss. Without a full-set of healthy teeth, you risk gum deterioration, jawbone resorption, and facial collapse.
Prevent dental problems as you age. Brush at least twice daily with a soft head toothbrush, floss every day before sleep, and visit your dentist regularly.
Aging Skin Requires More Care
Skin care is essential as people age. While problems such as wrinkles, dry skin, and age spots are inevitable, you can avoid other issues such as acne and sun damage through proper skin care.
As people age, hormones change, cell renewal declines, and the human body produces fewer natural oils. Rays from the sun advance the aging process and lead to spider veins, dark spots, and wrinkles. Additionally, years in the sun may lead to basal cell carcinoma or melanoma (skin cancer).
Although the sun is a good source of vitamin D, too much can age skin faster. An average of 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun can give you the health benefits and reduce your chances of skin damage. Be sure to moisturize daily (that means men too), especially after you shower. Speaking of showers, blot your skin dry instead of rubbing harshly. This will reduce the chance of rubbing away important natural oils.
Make Sure to Get the Right Medical Checkups
Just like when you were a youngster and your parents took you to the doctor for age-appropriate checkups, there are age-related medical screenings for older adults. Along with annual health reviews of your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, there are other periodic health checks that your doctor should be recommending for you, depending on your gender.
For men and women, your doctor may screen annually for diabetes, hepatitis C, or lung cancer (if you smoke). For women, an annual mammogram and Pap smear continue to be vital. Additionally, your physician may recommend a bone density screening. Finally, most doctors suggest a colonoscopy every 10 years for all adults beginning at the age of 50.
The best way to know which medical screenings are right for you is to speak with your primary care physician.
Keep an Eye on Your Eyes
The eyes are the windows to our souls. They can tell a lot about someone’s health. If they’re red, blurry, or dry, you may be sitting in front of your computer too much or just be overly sleepy. However, if you’re over the age of 50, there may be something else wrong.
Tired eyes accompanied by headaches may be a sign of presbyopia, a loss in your ability to see close objects or small print. Blurred or hazy vision may be a sign of cataracts. Floaters – small cobweb-like objects that float into view – are usually a normal part of aging. However, they also can be the sign of retinal detachment. Ensure eye health as you age by having annual checkups with an eye doctor.
Growing older is a normal part of the life cycle. Taking good care of your health should be too. That means getting regular health checkups, and that’s the best health tip for people over the age of 50.