It’s no secret that our bodies change as we grow older. Lifestyle, genetics, and environment all affect the ways in which we age. Though there are some unavoidable aspects of aging, medical advances in treatment and preventative care mean that people are enjoying longer and healthier lives.
Here are some of the bodily changes people can begin to expect once they turn 50, as well as steps you can take in order to stay healthy as long as possible.
Declining sight is a common side effect of aging. It becomes more difficult for the eyes to focus on close objects because the lens of the eye hardens. Other causes of vision decline are cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Night vision and visual sharpness also decline because the pupil becomes less responsive to changes in light. The best preventive measures you can take are to get regular eye exams and to know whether your family history includes any eye diseases.
Bodies need less energy with age, and they also lose muscle mass more easily. This slows down your body’s metabolism, so weight gain can also occur if you don’t reduce portion sizes. Changes in hormone levels that come with menopause make it easier for women to gain weight in the abdomen region. Exercise will help to prevent weight gain, though it may be more difficult to maintain the same level of activity as a younger person. Making sure to eat a heart healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fish, lean meat, and fruits can also help you maintain your weight. Better yet, these also promote good eye health!
Long-term use causes wear and tear on the body. One common issue is osteoporosis, which is a loss in bone density that can lead to breaks or fractures. Eating a balanced diet and making sure you get the full daily value of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis.
Skin begins to thin and lose fat with age. It also begins to produce less oil, causing it to become dryer and less elastic. Though most people can’t avoid fine lines and wrinkles, a skincare routine that’s heavy on sunscreen and moisturizer can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. With age, pigment cells in hair begin to die. With fewer pigment cells, the hair loses melanin, turning it a silvery or gray color. Hair also begins to thin on the scalp.
However, there are some things you can do to take better care of your skin. Part of the reason we develop wrinkles is because our skin produces less collagen than it uses as we get older. Some researchers have found that taking a collagen supplement can help your skin stay healthy. Sun exposure accelerates collagen loss, which is why sunscreen is so important.
If you notice your hair thinning, you could get laser treatments. Or, you could go the cheap route and check out one of the dozens of products on the market that help your hair grow in thick, shiny, and healthy. Some—like this easy-to-use but high tech brush—are totally painless and don’t involve adding any weird supplements to your diet.