Ageing is an inevitability that will affect us all at some point. But what actually happens to your body when it ages? And are there ways you can slow down the ageing process?
Reduced bone and muscle
Muscle mass declines by around 3-8% every decade after the age of 30, with most men losing around 30% of their muscle mass over the course of their lifetime. Losing muscle tissue negatively affects your strength and is a leading cause of immobility in older people.
As you age, you also lose bone density. This, combined with the decline in muscle mass tends to result in the characteristic shrinkage that you see in old age. The deterioration in bone tissue leaves you at risk of developing osteoporosis, which in turn makes you more vulnerable to breakages and fractures. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis as their bodies produce less estrogen after the menopause and this hormone helps to protect the bones from breaking down. Additionally, according to this dentist who does dental implants in Tampa, your dental health will deteriorate too. Thankfully, you can help protect your body from losing bone and muscle tissue by doing regular exercise. Strength training, combined with a balanced diet, is particularly effective as it supports bone and muscle repair.
Free radicals are a natural waste product of your metabolism, but can also be produced in response to exposure to UV radiation, cigarette smoke, car fumes, and other external pollutants. Over time, free radicals can cause damage to body tissues and cells, and break down collagen. This process is known as oxidative stress and is a major contributor to the ageing process.
While some oxidative stress is inevitable as part of natural ageing, it’s a good idea to try and reduce it with simple heathy habits. Always protect your skin from the sun, avoid smoking, and cut down on saturated fats and alcohol. Vitamin E helps to protect your cells from oxidative stress, so consider taking a supplement with a high vitamin E content like Nestle BOOST Optimum.
Changes in perception
As you age, your ability to see and hear decline. Hardening and thickening of the eye lens makes focusing and seeing in dim light harder. The number of optic nerve cells also decreases with age, affecting depth perception, and the lens starts to yellow, changing the way you perceive colours. You can help to slow age-related eyesight damage by wearing sunglasses to protect against UV radiation, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular checks at the opticians.
When it comes to hearing, you’ll find that your ability to hear high-pitched noises decreases as you get older. One of the most frustrating aspects of this is that most word consonants are higher-pitched and are harder to hear, therefore, understanding speech becomes more difficult. You might also find it harder to focus in on single conversations when there is a lot of background noise. Maintain your hearing for as long as possible by protecting your ears from loud noise, either by avoiding loud places or wearing earplugs.
Many changes occur in your body as it ages. A loss of bone and muscle tissue will leave you more vulnerable to breakages, fractures, and immobility; whilst oxidative stress will damage your cells and tissue, causing skin to lose elasticity. Your eyesight and hearing will also decline, changing the way you perceive things. Fortunately, there are healthy behaviours you can adopt to help reduce the damage caused by ageing.