After all, Age Is Only a Number
by Hans Onome.
Have you ever heard the adage that "age is just a number" or the expression that "60 is the new 40?" These statements reflect a society that is more open to regarding age as a concept of ability and choice rather than an inevitable sign of decay.
In the strictest sense, age has never defined what you could or could not do. Fred Astaire could still cut a rug at the age of 71, and Ernestine Shepherd, who is in her 80's, is the greatest body-building grandma ever.
But if you remain unconvinced and think some owe their abilities solely to genetics, think again. The exciting field of epigenetics suggests that behavior, i.e., work, can alter gene expression and how we live, age, and play. There is, however, one catch. You need to exercise; you need to start moving your body to prolong the abilities you don't want to lose.
Yes, science says everything from bones to brains naturally shrinks with age, but your behaviors can improve your abilities and quality of life. You can lengthen mental acuity, keep flexibility and increase bone density. In other words, use it before you lose it! Below is additional evidence and ways to use what you have before it's too late.
Floss for Health and Your smile
A team of Japanese researchers led by Nozomi Okamoto confirmed that gum disease is associated with the onset of dementia. Furthermore, people with missing teeth may suffer less brain function than their "toothier counterparts." While the power of oral health may surprise you, researchers believe the bacteria that cause gum inflammation may spread and affect other parts of the body. As it turns out, poor oral health also correlates with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. As they say, floss the teeth you want to keep. If George Washington only knew.
Your Brain on Retirement
An international analysis of cognitive function by Susann Rohwedder and Robert J. Willis discovered that nations with an earlier retirement age had the most significant decline in cognitive function. The study suggests that lack of stimulation and brain work can harm one's health and that greater mental stimulation correlates with longer mental preservation. Staying physically active and mentally active helps to maintain cognitive prowess. If retirement is on the horizon, consider including school and meaningful volunteer work in your plans to preserve memory and mental muscle. In other words, never let your mind go to the beach, even if you occasionally do.
Muscle and Massive Action
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass with aging. It typically begins during the mid-30s and progresses more rapidly with inactive people with as much as a 3–5% loss in muscle each decade. Loss of muscle mass and strength will adversely affect your ability to walk and increase the chance of falls and life-debilitating injuries. But if you begin a resistance training regimen, you will live a much longer and more vigorous life. Walk, run, swim and lift heavy objects while you still can.
Yes, Sex and Erectile Dysfunction Too
A study out of Finland showed that men who have sexual intercourse "at least once a week were half as likely to suffer from ED as men who had sex less frequently." Consistent sex also stimulates circulation to the genitalia, which benefits the erectile muscle strength in men and the lubrication and elasticity of vaginal tissues in women, inevitably enhancing the enjoyment for both. Some researchers posit that the amount of sex you have can also affect your ability and desire to have more of it.
Additionally, Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles not only for sexual health and pleasure but also to maintain bladder control. Intercourse, after all, is a physical activity that can improve with strength. So like with everything else, do it before you lose it so that you can not only add more years to your life but life to your years. ~𝛿
Hans is an ICF-certified executive coach at Inner Confidential, specializing in mental fitness and methodologies for healthy organizations, and a NASM CPT specializing in weight loss and behavior change at the SoFit Network.