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Graceful Aging

  • A Lifetime of Good Health

  • The average age in the U.S. is 36.7 years. In terms of physical strength, speed and stamina, we reach our prime in our early 20s. In other words, most of us are past our prime. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life—far from it.

    With an average life expectancy in the U.S. of more than 78 years, most of us will be “past our prime” for more than two-thirds of our lives. And while our bodies may not be as quick or strong as a 20-something’s, our wisdom and experience mean we are better able to overcome challenges and enjoy life. Of course, we still need to take care of our bodies.

  • 50s and 60s

  • By the time we reach 50, our bodies have been slowly losing strength and stamina for 25 years or more. To maintain good physical health, it is important to keep a regular exercise routine consisting of strength resistance and cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, and eat a healthy diet. It is also time to begin several routine medical screenings.

    By 50, all women and men should be receiving annual cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar screenings. Regular eye exams to check for glaucoma should also begin. Both women and men should also begin regular screenings for colon cancer by age 50, and all women should be receiving regular breast cancer screenings. Bone density screenings are also important.

    The screenings are important even for people in great physical health and with no symptoms because identifying problems and treating them early leads to much better outcomes.

  • 70s

  • In our 70s, exercise and diet remain important, but exercise routines may have to be modified to adjust to an aging body. Your physician can help you determine what changes, if any, are appropriate.

    Our 70s also carries increased risks for dementia, but regular exercise earlier in life has been shown to decrease our risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Beginning new hobbies such as learning to play an instrument or paint may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

    Despite what some may think, the aging brain is very functional. It is perhaps a bit slower—specific nouns and fact retrieval are sometimes more difficult—but aging adults are perfectly capable of learning new things. In fact, the aging brain may even be superior to a younger brain in seeing the “big picture.”

  • Healthy tips for all ages

  • Today, we are living a long, long time. So it is important to take good care of our bodies throughout our lifetimes. Don’t smoke, don’t drink in excess, and maintain a healthy weight—obesity dramatically increases your risk of several diseases.

    Steven Rosenthal, M.D., is a board-certified internal medicine and geriatric medicine specialist affiliated with Eden Medical Center.

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