Ways Your Body Gets Better with Age
Posted 5/15/2018 by UHBlog
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Like fine wine and cheeses, people get better with age. As George Burns once said, “While you can’t stop getting older, that is no reason for you to get old.”
One upside of aging is deeper relationships, says primary care nurse practitioner Aubrey Shearn, CNP.
“Improvements in relationships with others is probably the leading variable in a better life for older people,” Shearn says. “They enjoy them – whether they're with family or friends. Seniors find they have more time to spend with others and there is often less stress in their lives.”
Some of the reasons for this include:
- You've experienced emotional upheavals and can handle these better after having learned from earlier trials.
- You often become happier and have a more optimistic outlook after weathering the concerns of youth, such as career and family worries.
- Stress levels decrease as experience helps develop and perfect coping mechanisms.
- Awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses increases, which helps during trying times.
- You're battered around less by people's opinions about you – and are less likely to view differing outlooks as a personal assault.
Your decision-making skills often improve as you age. Having “been there, done that and got the T-shirt” enough times, you're able to look at the benefits and downsides of various options. Gradually, the wisdom of age, gained from the mistakes of youth, gives you more insight into how to evaluate the pros and cons of the issue in front of you.
One myth, says Shearn, is that with age, your health will deteriorate. Studies are showing that some chronic problems may actually improve in your later years. For example, migraine headaches may become less painful and frequent.
And it's likely you'll get smarter, too. Older people often have a larger vocabulary, and do better with spatial orientation and inductive reasoning. Barring dementia, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, your brain will continue to grow throughout your life.
“Staying active is an important part of keeping your brain functioning,” Shearn says. “Exercising is a good way to keep your smarts about you. You should also keep the brain busy by doing puzzles, reading, volunteering, travelling and getting new experiences.”
Although your 20-year-old self might have found it hard to believe, sex can become better as you age. According to Shearn, that's because you have more time, lower stress and, often, fewer distractions. In addition, you're more comfortable with yourself and more confident in this area of your life.
One of the keys to getting better as you age is to maintain your overall health. Eating well, getting your sleep, getting out and exercising are all important to going forward in your life. But so, too, is making sure you stay as healthy as you can for a long as you can.
“Stay in touch with your doctor, even if you're feeling fine,” says Shearn. “Get your annual physical for a head-to-toe look at how you are doing. If there is something abnormal, we can often find it and treat it before it becomes something major. You need to make sure you're doing all you can to be as healthy as you can for as long as you can.”
Aubrey Shearn, CNP is a nurse practitioner at University Hospitals Westshore Primary Care. You can request an appointment with Shearn or any other healthcare provider online.