Since the time we are born, we are aging. A lot of age-related damage is attributed to oxidation. Like rust on iron, oxidation produces free radicals which damage the cells and causes the effects of aging. Oxidation damages the cell structure which underlies many diseases especially of the heart, lungs and the brain, the heavy users of oxygen.

However, you are not defenseless against the onslaught of aging. There is a lot in your control In this article you will learn how to tackle age-related changes. These lifestyle changes also form the essence of a healthier lifestyle.

Aging Well – How our body changes with age

The body will undergo predictable change with age. Post 30 you will lose muscle mass and body fat goes up. The fat tissue will also start to build around your abdomen and internal organs but your skin will become thinner as the fat layer before it goes down.

Fat Range


1) You and your heart

With age, your heart muscle will become less efficient, less pliant and will be less able to pump large quantities of blood. Your blood vessels may narrow and hard fatty deposits may form, as a result, you may experience high blood pressure.

What should you do?

Get your blood pressure checked regularly, once you hit forty and above. Cut down on salt, get regular exercise, quit smoking and lose weight.

Most importantly, if your doctor has prescribed you anti-hypertensive medicines take them every day, at bedtime so that your blood pressure is controlled by the time you get up.

2) You and your bones

For women bones stop growing after 18 and for men, it is after 25. Women lose a lot of bone mass post menopause and may feel that they have shrunk down over the years. As bones become porous due to loss of bone mass, you may risk a fracture after a fall. Joints too become less flexible and rigid.

What should you do

For healthier bones do weight training and weight-bearing exercises like walking. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, which is also interestingly the first-line of treatment for osteoporosis (bone-thinning disease).  

Ayurveda prescribes having two teaspoons of sesame seeds followed by a glass of milk for stronger bones.

To know more read SoulGur articles on  Bone Health  and Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis 

3) You and your gut

Ever wonder why so many seniors suffer from constipation? As we grow older, our bodies do not assimilate nutrients as well as they once did. At the same time, as the body ages, its systems slow down and becomes less efficient. The correct nutrients are more important than ever for the support, repair, and regeneration of the cells. Elderly people are often deficient in vitamin B12.

What should you do

Eat a balanced diet and include yogurt in your meals as it is enriched with probiotics which helps in digestion. Eat fiber-rich foods. Fruits like apples and papaya will help your bowels move. Toast flax seeds and sprinkle them on your salads. Homemade soups will give you ample fiber and nutrients. Wind up your meals before 8 pm in the evening to reduce bloating.

To know more about digestion read SoulGuru article on Indigestion In Ayurveda 

4) You and your senses

Your sense organs may begin to suffer from wear and tear. Normally, one-third of people over the age of sixty-five have problems with their hearing. Loss of the ability to hear high-frequency sounds comes first with this type of hearing loss. The age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. Diabetic conditions, heart problems can also cause presbycusis. With age, your eyes will become dry, retinas thin and lenses can become cloudy. Pupils can get less responsive and night driving will cause problems. Taste buds change with age. Dry mouth may aggravate oral infection and tooth decay.

What should you do

Get your hearing and vision checked regularly by the doctor and visit the dentist every six months. Blinking will keep your eyes moist and use teardrops. Regular eye exercises would keep your eyes muscles in shape. 

5) You and your kidneys

Your kidneys lose efficiency in waste removal. Medications, high blood pressure, and diabetes can damage them further. About a third of people over 65 lose some control of their bladder function – for a number of reasons (including a heavy cough, overweight, and constipation).

Postmenopausal women may have stress-incontinence as hormones fluctuate and tissues in the urethra thin down.

With growing age, men face prostate issues. Approximately 50 percent of men above 50 years get an enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). By the age of 80, nearly 90 percent of men will live with BPH.

What should you do

Drink water for healthy kidneys. Women could try Kegels exercise to have better control over their pelvic muscles. On an empty bladder, you should try to stop the flow of your urine and work to stop it. The muscles that you use for this are the muscles that you need to exercise. Squeeze these with all your might for a second and then release it. 

For prostate, a diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals can keep your prostate healthy and lower your risk of BPH. Being overweight is another risk factor for developing the condition. So making nutritious food choices is a great way to lower both your weight and your risk. A diet consisting of sesame seeds, fatty fish, avocados, tofu, fresh fruits, and vegetables would help you to protect your prostate.

6) You and your sleep

Your sleep needs do not change but with age, you may tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. Sleep disturbances are closely tied to physical illnesses or mood disorders.

What should you do

Develop a sleep hygiene. Go to the bed at the same time and try unwinding by listening to soothing music. You must not watch TV on the bed or work on the computer. Try drinking a warm glass of milk. It has protein like tryptophan which can help you fall asleep.  You can compensate for the loss of sleep by taking a nap in the afternoon.

7) You and your brain

Aging causes changes in brain size, memory, and cognition. The brain shrinks with increasing age and the rate of new cell growth slows down. The chances of stroke, memory impairment, Alzheimer’s and dementia increases with age. Also, the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine reduces with age.

What should you do

Age proof your brain by embracing neurogenesis friendly diet consisting of omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids, and antioxidants. These nutrients can be found in fatty fish, cod liver oil, flax seeds, tofu,  fats such as ghee, cheese and butter, fruits like gooseberry, mulberry, blueberries, strawberries, mango, and vegetables like broccoli, avocado, and celery. Herbs like ashwagandha and curcumin are powerful antioxidants and neuro cell booster. As far as possible avoid alcohol and caffeine. Besides a healthy diet embrace physical exercises,  engage in continuous learning, build a circle of friends and manage stress with meditation and yoga.

For more read SoulGuru’s article on Neurogenesis 

Aging Well

Remember, age is just a number. The focus should be on remaining healthier, younger and livelier as you age. And the recipe for aging well brews slowly and smoothly over the years, with ingredients as healthy nutrition, exercise and a generous dash of humor. Stay socially connected because of isolation in old age damages health.  Keep learning new skills like a new language or dance. It will keep your mind alert and to break the monotony of day to day routine. Live well.

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