How does the aging process work?
Living longer is a desire that everyone has and, above all, living with health and quality, making the most of life after 60 years of age. Aging is an ongoing, gradual process of natural changes that begin in adulthood. During late adulthood, many bodily functions begin to gradually decline.
Knowing how to grow old is a learning process that begins as a child with healthy lifestyle habits that must be maintained for a lifetime.
People don’t get old or age at a specific age. In Brazilian legislation, a person aged 60 or over is considered elderly. The reason was based on history, not biology. This age is close to the age at which most people in economically advanced societies retire.
Studies show that from the age of 40, approximately, the human body already begins to show some signs of “wear and tear”. The body becomes slower in its reactions, with a decrease in functional capacity.
Aging, once considered a phenomenon, is now part of the reality of most societies. The world is getting old. This is so true that it is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be around two billion people aged sixty or more in the world, most of them living in developing countries.
Around 30 million Brazilians are 60 years old or older, which is equivalent to 14% of the total population of Brazil in 2020. Projections indicate that, in 2030, the number of elderly people will exceed that of children and adolescents from 0 to 14 years by approximately 2.28 million. In 2050, the elderly population will represent around 30% of the Brazilian population, while children and adolescents will represent only 14%.
The life expectancy of the Brazilian population has increased: according to the IBGE, in 2019, the Brazilian lived, on average, up to 76.6 years. In 2020, the expectation increased from 72.8 to 73.1 years for men and from 79.9 to 80.1 years for women. This growth represents an important social achievement and results from the improvement of living conditions, with increased access to preventive and curative medical services, advances in medical technology, expansion of basic sanitation coverage, increased schooling and income, among other determinants:
Some factors that influence life expectancy:
– Heredity: heredity influences whether or not a person develops a disorder, as well as having genes that protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases.
– Lifestyle: avoiding smoking, not abusing drugs and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, practicing physical activity and carrying out the recommended vaccinations and preventive exams help the person to function well and avoid illness.
– Exposure to toxins in the environment: these toxic substances are produced through pesticides, car pollution and industrial waste. This exposure can shorten life expectancy even among people with the best genetic makeup.
– Health care: performing preventive exams and regular medical follow-up are important to maintain quality of life and help increase life expectancy.
Aging is a natural process common to human beings, which progressively compromises physical and cognitive aspects. According to WHO, old age begins between 60 and 65 years. However, this is an established age for research purposes, as the aging process depends on three main classes of factors: biological, Psychic and Social:
– Biological age: is linked to organic aging. Each organ undergoes modifications that reduce its functioning during life and the capacity for self-regulation also becomes less effective;
– Social Age: refers to a person’s role, status and habits in relation to other members of society. This age is strongly determined by a country’s culture and history;
– Psychological Age: it relates to the behavioral skills that the person can mobilize in response to changes in the environment. It includes intelligence, memory and motivation.
How to have a healthy aging?
In order for us to have healthy aging, we need to take some care throughout life that will make a lot of difference in the way we will tread the aging process. This care is aimed at the health of the body and mind, so physical and mental exercises are fundamental for us to have an active and healthy aging.
There are many benefits that the practice of exercise can bring, as they favor both energy and calorie expenditure, as well as mental and social well-being. Below some examples:
– Walking (works breathing and blood circulation);
– Water aerobics (develops motor coordination);
– Dance (decreases emotional blockages and helps with mobility);
– Stretching (works flexibility and pain control);
– Swimming (improves heart rate and respiratory function).
Exercising the mind is also very important.:
The brain is like muscles, if you don’t exercise it, it doesn’t develop. So, here are some tips to exercise your memory:
– Do crossword puzzles, giving preference to easy-to-execute ones;
– Make a shopping list and keep it in your purse. Try to buy everything without consulting the list and then compare to see if anything is missing;
– Maintain healthy affective habits, that is, date, enjoy friends and family;
– Participate in games involving reasoning;
– Stay active doing manual work, visits, courses, etc;
the cause of aging
Aging is a complex phenomenon that involves numerous factors, which consequently leads to the development of several hypotheses and theories aimed at explaining this process. Due to the variety of theories, the lack of consensus on the basic concepts that could explain the biological phenomenon of aging is evident, despite being a palpable and visible process.
Among the various theories of aging, in recent decades, greater attention has been given to the Theory of FRs (Free Radicals), that is, on the performance of these reactive species and their harmful effects on the body, focusing mainly on their action in aging. . Free Radicals are molecules released by the body’s metabolism with highly unstable and reactive electrons, which can cause degenerative diseases of aging and cell death.
Below are some negative factors for aging:
– Lack of hydration: in addition to drinking two liters of water a day, it is important to use moisturizers and nourishing masks for the body.
– Inadequate nutrition: excessive consumption of industrialized products or products with a large amount of sugar, in addition to harming health and well-being, is one of the main causes of aging.
– Poor quality sleep: it’s not enough to just sleep eight hours a night if you don’t get quality sleep. Waking up several times, sleeping too late, keeping the television or computer on are all factors that interfere with proper body rest.
– Sedentary lifestyle: sedentary lifestyle is the gateway to other items on this list, such as poor diet, stress and poor quality sleep. Regular practice of physical exercises helps protect muscles, improve circulation and strengthen breathing;
– Stress: emotional factors directly affect health. And it’s no different with regard to stress. In addition to impacting sleep and stimulating food compulsion (in some cases), stress causes the emergence of wrinkles and lines of expression.
– Photoaging: prolonged exposure to sunlight, and even artificial light, can cause permanent damage to the skin. For effective protection, you must use sunscreen every day, even in cloudy weather, and reapply it every four hours.
– Smoking: nicotine, present in cigarettes, is one of the factors of vasoconstriction, which, together with other substances present in cigarette smoke, hinders the passage of blood. Like other organs in the body, the skin also suffers from this, resulting in both the opaque and resected appearance.
Care that can help with healthy aging
The skin is the organ that most reflects the effects of the passage of time, its health and appearance are directly related to eating habits and the chosen lifestyle.
Ultraviolet radiation, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco abuse and environmental pollution, among others, are factors that “accelerate” the work of the biological clock, causing premature aging. In addition, increased body weight and blood sugar levels also contribute to the body aging before its time.
Just like the face, the body also goes through the same aging process. The effects are more intense on exposed areas, such as hands, arms, chest and neck.
As the body slows down collagen production, body sagging becomes one of the most common features of aging.
To avoid body aging it is important to:
– Practicing physical activities;
– Balance your diet and keep your body hydrated.
– Do not forget the sunscreen for the body, this is fundamental.
– Body practices are recognized as an important strategy for promoting health and preventing diseases in the elderly population. The results suggest that the method is effective and brings benefits to people’s functional capacity and quality of life.
Fries, AT, & Pereira, DC (2013). THEORIES OF HUMAN AGING. Revista Contexto & Saúde, 11(20), 507–514.
Antunes, Priscilla de Cesaro, and Ana Márcia Silva. “Elements on the conception of Middle Age, in the process of human aging.” (2013).
The post Care for Life.