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:
Changes in skin and hair:
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, though this is more common in men than in women.
Changes in weight:
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.
Changes in bones and joints:
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. Getting the full daily value of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis.
Changes in sight and hearing:
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.
Changes in sleep patterns:
Older people may experience changes in sleep patterns such as waking up more frequently and sleeping less deeply than they did when they were younger. Older people also need less sleep than young people do.
Changes in bladder control:
Because muscle function declines with age, so does bladder control. This is a common problem that affects many older people, and while it can be socially inhibiting, there are treatments and exercises that may help with urinary incontinence.
Changes in heart function:
Hearts may undergo many changes with age. Heart rate slows down and arteries can become stiffened. Both of these things can put pressure on the heart, leading to high blood pressure and sometimes an enlarged heart. These symptoms can also cause people to develop heart disease.
Changes in brain function:
Though the brain can adapt to incredible circumstances, aging affects each brain differently. Some people may stay sharp and alert until late in life, while some experience memory loss as they grow older. Memory loss can vary from a little to severe, but it doesn’t always indicate the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Exercising regularly both by physically exercising and by challenging your brain with puzzles can enhance cognitive function and help to keep your mind razor sharp.