Tips For Aging Gracefully

Tips For Aging Gracefully

I love Sarees, lots of Bangles, Jumkas, and a big Bindi. A typical Indian attire. I think anyone who drapes a saree nicely can look beautiful. It doesn’t matter whether you are tall or short, thin or fat, you just look beautiful in a saree.

I have a broad face, I think I can carry a big bindi easily and got lots of compliments too, but in a big bindi look older than my age. It used to bother me when I was in my ‘teens’ - Is it bad to look older than your age?

As Mark Twain says – “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different? The thing which used to bother me in my teens is not my concern anymore. I am now very much in sync with my age. I have a son who is in his teens now. Aging is inevitable, learn to embrace it. Do things you enjoy; it will fuel your happiness.

What Is Aging?

AGING is something we all do but understand very little about. As opposed to the sign of aging such as grey hair and wrinkles; Aging is that which happens to our bodies over time. It is ultimately a combination of physiological changes in our bodies and the environmental factors we are exposed to. The physiological changes are beyond our control but some environmental factors can be modified to influence the course of aging.

Types Of Aging

At what age are people usually happiest? According to the researchers, 36 is essentially the age when people feel like they have hit their prime. The study referred to the ages of 30 to 45 as “established adulthood”, where things are simply more settled. After spending your 20s working hard on your career and relationship, your late 30s is when you start seeing the fruits of labour paying off.  So, we can stop dreading aging and start looking forward to it.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” – John F Kennedy.

There are several theories that describe how and why our bodies age –

1. Cellular Aging

All cells have a programmed life span by which they are synthesized, multiply and eventually undergo apoptosis (cell death) when they are no longer functional. A cell can replicate about 50 times. The replication failure in the cell is referred to as senescent cell. Deterioration or senescent cell is cellular aging or biological aging.

2. Hormonal Aging  

Hormones play a huge role in aging. During childhood, they help build bones and muscles. As years pass by many hormones begins to diminish, leading to changes in the skin, loss of muscle tone, bone density and sex drive.

3. Accumulative Damage

This damage is caused by external factors like exposure to toxins, UV radiation, unhealthy food habits and pollution. All these things can take a toll on our bodies, resulting in rapid aging.  

4. Metabolic Aging

Cells constantly turn food into energy, which produces by-products, some of which can be harmful to the body. This process is called metabolization. Slowing down the process of metabolism can lead to metabolic aging.

Aging Wisely

Is there an age that is better than all the rest? There are too many variables. For some people, the perfect age is when the opportunities are greatest, which would skew younger. For others, it’s when life satisfaction is greatest. Others say when they are at their physical peak or have the most friends in their 20s and 30s.

Aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20 – something. It’s about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to energy it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the world aging is often paired with ‘anti’.

Dr. Olshansky, a professor at UIC school of public health in Chicago asks – “If you had a pill that could stop biological aging in its tracks, when will you take it?”

He asks his university students this question. Many think 30 is old, so they would take the pill in their 20s. He asked his father, then 95 years old. His father said 50 was the best year because the kids were grown and he was in good health.  Dr. Olshansky himself said, if he had to pick a perfect year, it would probably be 50 because that was before he started having little aches and pains.

Ingrid Bergman says – “Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better.”

In the word of Albert Einstein, “People like you and I thought mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

Then why stop with the growing age? We can do some lifestyle changes and enjoy this life to the full.

1. Healthy Weight

Our body changes with the age. For example, if we are less active, muscles may not work as well, which can affect our strength. If the calorie intake is more than physical activity, then, needless to say, it results in weight gain which can lead to diseases like diabetes or heart disease etc.

  • BMI (Body Mass Index is a measure based on our weight in relation to our height) and
  • Measuring waist size (women with a waist size more than 35 inches and men with a waist size more than 40 inches can have health problems.)

These two measures can help determine whether we are a healthy weight or not.

Being underweight can also be a problem. It could mean that we-

  • Have increased risk of weakness and bone loss.
  • Not eating enough calories to maintain weight

2. Healthy Eating

With the growing age calories required is less, but we need nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, vitamin D and Calcium, seafood, lean meat, poultry and eggs, unsalted nuts and seeds etc. rich sources of nutrients.

3. Physical Activity

Physical activity is good for our health at every age. Regular physical activity improves our strength, balance flexibility and endurance. It may help reduce symptoms of arthritis, anxiety and depression. It may help keep diabetes and blood pressure under control.

4. Being Good To Yourself

Along with weight checks, healthy eating habits and physical activities, we have to be good to ourselves. Sometimes with the loss of loved ones or loneliness, we start neglecting our health. Always have a hobby. Being good to yourself helps improve lifestyle habits like “get up and go.”

Aging is natural and that going to happen to all of us.

“I just want to always look like myself, even if that’s an older version of myself” - Halle Berry.