What's Normal Aging?

You have a lot of say-so in how you feel as you grow older -- from your heart and eyes to your skin and bones.

You can enjoy a better body by knowing what’s natural as you age and what’s not and by learning simple steps you can try to delay or lessen the changes.

Your Heart Works Harder

Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to keep your heart healthy. Manage stress. Get enough sleep. 7 to 8 hours of rest each night can help repair and heal your heart and blood vessels.

Your Skin Feels Different

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Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you’re outdoors. Check your skin often and tell your doctor if you notice changes, such as moles.

If you smoke, this is another good reason to try to stop. It can cause wrinkles.

Your Bones Become More Brittle

Vitamin D is vital to bone health because it helps the body absorb calcium and maintain bone strength.. Some people are able to get enough of this nutrient by spending time in sunlight. You can also get it from tuna, sardines, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk and many cereals. Ask your doctor whether you need a supplement.

Going to the Bathroom

You might find it harder to control your bladder. This is called “urinary incontinence.” It happens to an estimated 10% of people 65 or older.

Many of these people get a little leakage when they cough or sneeze, but some lose a large amount of pee before they can get to the bathroom. For women, menopause can be a factor. For men, an enlarged prostate might be the issue.

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You might also notice that you’re not as regular as you used to be. Some conditions, such as diabetes, can slow down your bowels. Some medicines might make you constipated. These include medicines that treat blood pressure, seizures, Parkinson disease, and depression. Iron supplements and narcotic pain medicines can also lead to constipation.

It’s Harder Getting Around or Staying Strong

Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins such as fish and chicken. Stay away from sugar and foods that are high in saturated fat. And eat smaller portions. You probably don’t need as many calories as you once did.

Your Sex Life Changes, Too

We can’t turn the clock backward. But with patience, care, and smart lifestyle changes, we can make the most of our bodies as we age.

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