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Aging Well

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Aging Well

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
The human aging process is complex. It includes the well-known changes in physical appearance, plus a decrease in muscle and bone mass, wear on joints, declining sensory acuity (most noticeably vision and hearing), reduced cognitive capacity, including slowed information processing and memory loss, and eventually organ deterioration. But there are many lifestyle changes we can make at any age that will slow down the process of aging. Here are some of the most important ones:

Regular physical activity. Few things (if any) slow the aging process as much as regular exercise. It reduces the risk of heart disease, is critical for weight management, helps control cholesterol, helps prevent bone loss and osteoporosis, increases energy, strength, endurance and flexibility, helps prevent diabetes, and increases immunity to illness.

Healthy diet. Diet is a significant factor in the risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and stroke. It is also a contributing factor in the risk for hypertension, osteoporosis, and obesity. A healthy diet consists of plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; a moderate amount of lean meat, beans, and low-fat dairy products; and limiting saturated fats, trans fats, and sugars.

Healthy body weight. The effects of obesity are similar to twenty years of aging, according to one study. According to the CDC, overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and some cancers.

Not smoking. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. It is associated with heart disease, emphysema, mouth, throat and lung cancer, and stroke, to name a few. It also ages the skin of the face, adding to the appearance of age.

Alcohol in moderation, if at all. The consequences of alcohol abuse include increased risk of injury, certain cancers, and liver disease. It can exacerbate some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, ulcers, and diabetes, and can accelerate aging of the brain.

Stress management skills. Excessive or poorly managed stress has been linked to insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, relationship conflict, and anxiety. The skills to manage stress are easily taught and learned.

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