As we grow older, there are many physical and mental changes that occur in the body. We might see it when we forget where we left the house keys, a strange crackle when we get up to walk or perhaps a task that seems oddly more taxing than it used to be.
We tell ourselves it is just a normal part of getting old, yet how much of that is actually true? Let’s have a look at a few common beliefs on getting older and getting to the facts of the matter.
Getting older comes hand in hand
We create so many expectations for ourselves on what the aging process holds in store for us. This is also portrayed to us through the media and what we are told growing up. It is widely believed that getting older means you have to be less physically active in order to prevent any serious injuries.
In fact, the exact opposite is true. Keeping an active and healthy lifestyle will greatly improve our quality of life as we get older. Regular exercise can help you build muscle mass, stay flexible and improve your bone density. Moving your body regularly can also help to reduce high blood pressure and the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Please consult with your physician before starting any exercise routine.
Old dogs can’t learn new tricks
The mind goes through many stages of development and changes throughout life, from newborn to old age. Many believe the ability to learn diminishes with age.
On the contrary, the opposite is true. Keeping an active mind by keeping a constant learning mindset throughout life will help to keep your mind sharp. The more you exercise your brain the better it becomes at learning.
The older I get, the less sleep I need
You might have heard an elder friend or family member proclaim they need less and less sleep as they get older. It may feel like less sleep is needed when a person wakes and can’t get back to sleep or naturally wakes earlier than before.
In reality, the amount of sleep one needs does not significantly decrease after reaching adolescence. There are many factors that come into play when considering why the elderly tend to sleep less.
Factors to consider are:
- Lifestyle changes
- Underlying health conditions (eg. Arthritis, Heart Disease, Sleep Apnea, Joint Pain, ect.)
- The shift in circadian Rhythm and Melatonin production
- Day time napping
- Exercise regularly
- Remove distractions in the bedroom (eg. TV, Cellphone)
- Avoid Substances that inhibit sleep (eg. Alcohol, Tobacco, Caffeine)
- Establish a sleep schedule
Keep in mind, it is important to consider many factors when writing something off as a fact of aging. Our bodies change constantly during our lifetime and our lifestyles may have a direct impact on the outcomes. It is also good practice to consult with your physician on a regular basis.