What is Normal Aging?
There is so much fear and social pressure about the process of growing older, and yet, of course, it begins the moment we are born. In today’s world it seems that youthfulness is prized above all else and little respect accorded to the elderly, as if they are suddenly diminished simply by reaching a chronological number. The aging process is continuous and there is no magic number when one suddenly becomes old but there are different ways of assessing age.
Richard G. Stefanacci , DO, MGH, MBA at the Thomas Jefferson University describes it as follows:
“Chronologic age is based solely on the passage of time. It is a person’s age in years. Chronologic age has limited significance in terms of health. Nonetheless, the likelihood of developing a health problem increases as people age, and it is health problems, rather than normal aging, that are the primary cause of functional loss during old age. Because chronologic age helps predict many health problems, it has some legal and financial uses.
Biologic age refers to changes in the body that commonly occur as people age. Because these changes affect some people sooner than others, some people are biologically old at 65, and others not until a decade or more later. However, most noticeable differences in apparent age among people of similar chronologic age are caused by lifestyle, habit, and subtle effects of disease rather than by differences in actual aging.
Psychologic age is based on how people act and feel. For example, an 80-year-old who works, plans, looks forward to future events, and participates in many activities is considered psychologically younger.”
So what is normal aging and how can one make sure one ages in a healthy way? We can expect to experience various physical and mental changes as we grow older such as hearing loss, changes in vision, issues with our teeth, perhaps some memory loss or forgetting details which is not to be confused with, nor is it the same as, dementia when entire events may be forgotten or carrying out normal tasks such as driving or cooking become impossible.
By now we should all be aware that undue stress is the root cause of many ailments some serious. We can learn how to avoid or cope with stressful events and one of the most helpful and the most impactful thing we can do at any stage of our lives is to move. Movement is imperative for keeping our bodies and minds, fit and flexible. Many factors contribute to our overall health, amongst them heredity, toxins in our environment, our food intake or our lifestyle - these days too many of us spend our days and evenings sitting, either at a desk, at the wheel of a car or on the couch watching tv.
Preventing disease or injury can be impacted by making better choices with food and lifestyle and Incorporating some form of exercise whether walking the dog, pushing the vacuum cleaner or something more energetic like the gym, swimming or cycling will help. Every movement can make a difference. If you start to feel discomfort in any part of the body or get injured, then consult a doctor or a physiotherapist who can pinpoint exactly what is going on with you. You don’t have to accept pain or expect it to be part of the normal aging process even though physically our bodies will eventually start to lose muscle tone, flexibility or balance.
A physiotherapist can give you specific exercises suited to your level of fitness to restore you to a better level of wellness whether you need help with balance, pain or mobility. A physically healthy body also impacts our mental and emotional health which is equally significant for longevity - there is no need to get depressed when we can no longer do some of the things with the same ease as when we were twenty; a healthy mind goes hand in hand with a healthy body and if we maintain our physicality we can continue to enjoy every aspect of our lives and being older becomes a benefit rather than a burden as we relax and enjoy our lives in whichever way we choose.
Please note that for the months of July and August, Genesis is offering a special discount for our hardworking teachers. Please present your certification to make an appointment and receive a $30.00 discount on any therapeutical treatment.
PT. Hannah Foster