For anyone wishing to work towards a healthier lifestyle in an effort to slow the ageing process or even start to reverse the process where real anti-ageing can take place, we first need to understand what is aging and how does it affect the body, but more fundamentally, what does normal ageing mean?
Once we have an understanding of what we are all up against we can start to plan our fight against nature. For example, what are the different types of aging, and does it affect men and women differently, and how?
When posing these questions, it starts to become clear that the subject matter is more complicated than discussing the appearance of grey hair and winkles.
A Broader Approach is Required
We will first look at the general areas of health and fitness such as cardiovascular system, bones, joints, muscles, digestive system, eyes and teeth.
With so many systems and so many variables we need to dig deeper to reveal the underlying balance between all our systems, and just how we can modify our behavior to allow ourselves the start aging healthily.
So let’s take a look at health in general terms and what to expect from ageing
As we age our arteries harden making it more difficult for our heart to pump the blood around. This leads to high blood pressure and worse.
General guidance here is to eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, stop smoking and avoid stress.
Bones, Joints Muscles
Ageing bones are less dense with less calcium and even shrink in size, making them weak and vulnerable.
General guidance is to take calcium, vitamin D, do some exercise and reduce alcohol and smoking.
Ageing can mean constipation
General guidance is to eat healthy, exercise and don’t be shy of make a movement.
An ageing bladder is not as elastic as a younger one meaning many more trips to the loo. Eight issues, diabetes and alcohol can contribute to this.
Memory and Thinking
We have all been here. Forgetting the name of something very common and well used.
General guidance is doing exercise, eating well, being sociable, and mentally active and quit smoking
Eyes and Ears
Most people start wearing glasses sometime into their 40s’ as their eye sight begins to weaken. Likewise, the ear can become less responsive to certain frequencies.
General guidance is scheduling check-up and take precautions such as wear sun glass on a sunny day and ear plug if you are effected by loud noises.
This is a big issue for many people. It’s not u common for dentist to strike fear into the hearts of the bravest. Unfortunately, as we age out gums and even out jaw bones reseed and teeth can come lose and be infected.
General guidance is brush well and floss and also make sure you have regular check-up even if it does scare you.
This could be one of the first signs of ageing that someone notices. The skin becomes less elastic and can more easily bruise. Winkles and age spots will also start to appear.
General guidance is to shower and bath in warm water rather than hot, always wear sunscreen and stop smoking.
The body begins to burns calories at slower rate and this together with inactivity weight gain is around the corner.
General guidance is to remain physically active, eat healthy food and control the portion size.
With age may come less desire and some physical symptom such as vaginal dryness in women and impotency in men.
General guidance is to find intimacy without the need for full sex, get regular exercise and talk to your doctor.
It’s interesting to note that a lot of the advice here is very simple and is based on eating well, exercise and giving up smoking and drinking, but more on that further down the road.
What is Ageing and How Does It Affect the Body?
We all have a basic level of understand about what ageing is, such as the division of cells and eventual breakdown of those cells as the body ages and fails to regenerate the cells, leaving instead, an ageing cell that lack its youthful elasticity.
Of course it’s not quite that simple because drilling deeper we can see ageing as a multi-threaded attack on the body.
What are The Different Types of Ageing?
Let’s break it down into three main areas for easy digestion.
First we have Genetic Ageing that you have inherited making you prone to similar weaknesses or perhaps strengths possessed your family line. This is part of a very normal or natural process of aging where the body naturally starts to lose collagen and elastin leading to signs of ageing like wrinkles and loss of firmness.
Secondly we have Environmental Ageing which as the name suggests is what happens to your body when faced with the everyday assault from your surroundings. Consider city living where the air is full of pollutants, life is in the fast lane, fast foods are consumed on the go, and stress is part of the daily grind. And it’s not much better if you live in the country or the coast while the sun beats down on unprotected skin. It is estimated that 80% of premature ageing is caused by environmental factors causing skin conditions such as dark spots, hyper-pigmentation, lines and winkles.
Thirdly we have Hormonal Ageing, another natural ageing process effected by changing natural environment, in both men and women for example during pregnancy in women, or menopause leading to physical changes deep in the cells that can manifest as deep wrinkles, loss of collagen and slow cell regeneration across the genders.
Does it affect men and women differently and how?
As we have already seen there are numerous processes that man and women share but there are differences in the way genders experience ageing. Clearly they are both effected by the same unavoidable realities, of genetics, lifestyle, environment, nutrition, bad habits like smoking and heavy drinking. But this is where the similarity ends.
You may well be surprised if you were told men and women experience ageing differently, both physically and mentally, but that how the evidence stacks up. Let’s take a look.
Let’s Look at Life Expectancy
This is probably the easiest one to grasp because globally, life expectancy for women is greater than that of a man. This maybe be down to environmental factors of men having more physically demanding jobs, but this is an old fashioned idea by today’s standards. The most likely reason would be a mixture of genetics and behavior. Basically, women have always enjoyed longer life spans if you remove the death rate due to child birth up until the 20th century from the equation. Not only that, but it is far more likely a woman will visit the Doctor before a small complaint become a medical emergency.
There’s no getting away from them, we are all slaves to them but men and women don’t share the same balance. Both genders share the same hormones but in distinctly different levels throughout a life time, but with the ageing process women are effected more drastically by the reduction of oestrogen during menopause. Although the dominant testosterone hormone in males drops with age, this appears to be to a lesser and slower extent.
Let’s talk About Sex
We can’t talk about hormones and not talk about sex can we? As we have seen above women draw the short strew with a drastic lowering of oestrogen during menopause leaving them less sexually active in their later years. Men on the other hand with a less distinct testosterone loss can still remain sexually active well into their later years, probably to the annoyance of their wives.
What is Brain Age
This is interesting but women are more likely to experience cognitive impairment if dependent on other for daily chores while lacking a social network. Men on the other hand are likely to suffer the impairment due to weight issues and or diabetes.
Is Ageing Healthily Possible?
There are factors that we have some control over and other that are completely out of our control. For example, we cannot change how nature made us so genetic changes are not on the cards, but the environment is certainly something we can change and benefit from. So too can we persuade our hormones to cooperate more fully with us.
With a healthy regime that includes a simple diet and exercise plan we can start undo a lot of the harm that years of abuse done to us. Not only that, but a change of mind set can help to undo years of negative thinking that contributes to the misery of many people and only adds to the physical problems.
Hormones are Your Friend
Hormones can be your greatest enemy or your greatest friend depending how you view them. Imagine rebooting your body naturally using simple steps, or what if you could find a supplement that could boost your body’s natural hormone production for your betterment?
Your Endocrine system describes your organs and tissues that produce hormones, but as we age changes naturally occur in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain and the thyroid located in the neck.
Overall, the changes mean a decrease in the hormones created such as Aldosterone, Calcitonin, Growth hormone, and Renin. In women the decrease of estrogen and prolactin is seen and in men its testosterone. These are hormones we can look at and ask, what can we do to replace them to regain our health and make anti-ageing a reality.