I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror. Shocking! What happened? Wrinkles, age spots, puckers and deep lines. Where did those come from? How did I get ‘old’ so fast? Where did the time go? But more importantly – what am I going to do about it?
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt like this? I don’t know any of my friends who haven’t! As our bodies age, changes occur naturally in our skin and bones. Our mind tells us one we are 25, but the mirror doesn’t lie. It portrays us as we really are – aging.
My friends and I want to have a plan of action before this gets out of hand, and I get really really ‘old’. So I thought to myself, what causes us to age?
Causes of Aging
- Sun – UVA rays deplete our skin of collagen, which makes our skin smooth and young looking. Too much sun can also cause “liver spots”, which are flat dark brown spots that usually develop on fair skinned people, or skin cancer, which affects 90% of all skin types. Too little sun causes Vitamins E and D deficiencies.
- Diet – An unhealthy diet of sweets and carbohydrates becomes the norm for many seniors because it takes energy and effort to cook well-balanced meals. Also, vitamin deficiencies begin which begets cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.
- Exercise – As we age our muscle strength, bone density, flexibility and balance decreases. Vitamin deficiency and osteoporosis may occur further weakening our bodies.
- Association and Social Activity – Our close friends and family age as we age. As time passes they too pass away. Isolation sets in and pretty soon we become inactive loners. This often leads to mental inactivity and depression. Social isolation is seriously exacerbated by Alzheimer’s.
- Medication – Side effects of many medications take their toll on the skin and vital organs; such as the liver.
Would you like to reverse the ‘clock of life’? If so, how?
Preventive Measures for Good Health and Aging Well
- Eat a well-balanced and properly proportioned diet of the 5 food groups, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, lean fish and chicken and whole grains. For added assistance call your local Meals-On-Wheels.
- Exercise daily. Walk 3 to 5 times a week in a beautiful place like a park.
- Join a Senior Exercise Group perhaps sponsored by the local YMCA, Senior Citizen Center, or Senior Caregiver Services.
- Make one new friend a month, preferably younger than yourself.
- Educate yourself on your medications by talking with your doctor and pharmacist. Be aware of the side effects of medications.
- Spend a few minutes daily in the early morning sun soaking up a little Vitamins D and E. Wear sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun for any length of time. Limit outdoor time during peak UVA sun damage times (between the hours of Noon-3 p.m.).
- Do research on health and aging. A good source to reference is the Mayo Clinic.
- Smile at yourself every day at least twice in the mirror.
Taking action and thinking positive will make a difference. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Why not try these things and see what happens to you. Perhaps take a before and after picture. Wonder what you’ll see?