Growing Old Gracefully

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Growing Old Gracefully


Today the average duration of human life in the United States is just
about 70 years for women and a little less for men. Conservative experts
believe that man is really build to last about 100 years; and that medial
advances and more healthful living habits could bring this about within a
generation or two.

What good is it to add years to life if we do not also add life to
years? In fact, unless people learn to enjoy life and to grow old gracefully,
the extra years may be an additional burden.

From 18 to 30 years is roughly the period of highest physical and
mental vigour. The experiences we accumulate from the day we are born help us
to conserve and to use our physical and mental abilities more wisely, so that
for some time after 30 years we are able to perform increasingly well in
spite of slowly slipping vigour. After age 50 the increasing accumulation of
experience is no longer able to offset the now more rapidly energy and
therefore ageing begins to assert itself noticeably and in many ways.

A number of things may come about gradually such as people who have not
used eyeglasses before may at some time in their forties need them for
reading, and in the fifties they usually need bifocals.

Also in the forties, people are likely to put on weight because there
is a general slowdown in the oxidation rate of the ageing body tissue. Also
we tend to do less strenuous work with no reduction in the amount of food

And in the fifties there is likely to be some loss of hearing. Usually
the high-pitched tomes go first, so words with the sounds of F, S, and TH are
confused. A hearing aid may be needed in some cases.

Ageing is generally accompanied by a loss in physical and mental
flexibility. This is noticed in a tendency to become stiff in the joints; in slower
comeback after a strenuous trip, excessive "night life," or hard
work; in slower healing of wounds, sore muscles, and sprains; in slower
recovery of pep after an illness; and in greater difficulty to adjust to new
people, new places, and new ideas.

Men, especially, will notice loss of muscular strength. There will be
increased unsteadiness and delicate muscle movements will be more clumsy and
the stride in waking will become shorter. The conclusion now is that the
performance and ability of the elderly has long been underestimated and can
be greatly improved by a proper diet, sleep and exercise along with rest and

Many elderly people tend to lose their joy and will to live and chronic
worriers may mope around and withdraw. Medical authorities now say that
laughter is one of the best medicines for the elderly. You can always keep
your sense of humour tuned up by surrounding yourself with pleasant and
interesting people. Just act your age and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself
even when no else is around.

Now that we all know the role that physical activity plays in our
lives, remember to do something physical every day. The joints must be used
or quite simply they will tighten with age creating that stooped worn out
appearance we so often associate with getting old. Keep yourself flexible and
fit on an exercise program consistent with your ability.

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