Healthy Aging - Normal Aging
Bones. Throughout adulthood, men and women
gradually lose some of the mineral content in their bones. The bones get less dense and strong.
You can slow natural bone loss and reduce
your risk of
osteoporosis by getting regular, weight-bearing
exercise (such as walking), getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and avoiding
lifestyle choices that weaken bones (such as smoking).
Your doctor may also recommend a bone-protecting medicine. For more
information, see the topic
Metabolism and body composition. Over time, the body typically needs less energy,
and your metabolism slows. Hormone changes in the aging body result in a shift
to more body fat and less muscle mass. The best approach to managing these
changes is to take in fewer calories while keeping up or increasing your
physical activity. Strength training is an especially good way to build or keep
your muscle mass. When your muscle mass is reduced, your metabolism slows down.
Building or keeping your muscle mass allows your metabolism to remain the same
Brain and nervous system.
Starting in the third decade of life, the brain's weight, the size of its nerve
network, and its blood flow decrease. But the brain adapts to these changes,
growing new patterns of nerve endings. Memory changes are a normal part of the
aging process—it's common to have less recall of recent memories and to be
slower remembering names and details. You can help keep your brain sharp. Engage in
regular social activity. Challenge yourself to learn and do new things. And be physically active, to increase blood and oxygen flow to the
Heart and blood circulation. The
heart naturally becomes less efficient as it ages, and your heart has to work a
little harder during activity than it did in the past. This makes the heart
muscle a little larger. You'll notice a gradual decline in your energy or
endurance from one decade to the next.
Lungs. In inactive people, the lungs become less efficient
over time, supplying the body with less oxygen. Regular physical activity plays
a key role in keeping your lungs strong.