Aging is a natural process that happens to everyone, yet it always seems to come with endless surprises. When you think you’ve got a handle on things, your body throws you a curveball.
Here are a few things that aren’t commonly talked about when it comes to aging but are definitely worth knowing:
You Need to Stay Active
To stay healthy and vital as you age, you need to stay active—physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.
Your body was made to move, and the more you move, the better you’ll feel. You might not be able to do the same things you did when you were 20, but you can always find new ways to stay active.
Try to find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine. Walk around your neighborhood, go for a swim, join a dance class, or play with your grandkids.
Also, don’t forget to keep your mind and social life active by reading, learning new things, and spending time with friends and family.
Your Food Habits Will Evolve
As you age, the foods you used to love might not agree with you as much as they used to. Your taste buds change, your metabolism slows down, and you might develop new food allergies.
Unhealthy foods can have a bigger impact on your body—healthy foods will have a bigger impact on your body, too.
You might also find that you have less of an appetite and need to eat smaller meals more often.
It’s important to listen to your body and eat accordingly. If you’re not sure what’s best for you, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Some Cognitive Changes Are Normal, But Not Always
Before you start worrying about Alzheimer’s disease, every time you forget where you put your keys, know that some cognitive changes are a normal part of aging.
However, suppose these changes are dramatic or sudden. In that case, if they come with a change in your personality, or if this forgetfulness is impairing your daily life, it’s important to see a doctor.
Normal cognitive changes will not prevent you from living a full and active life, so if you struggle to take care of yourself or meet your responsibilities, it’s time to get checked for any potential underlying conditions.
Your Sex Life Might Change
It’s true. Your sex life might change as you age—but not necessarily in a bad way.
For many people, sex gets better with age. You might have more time for it, be more comfortable with your body, and be more confident in your sexual ability.
Of course, some physical changes can happen with age, like a decrease in hormones or erectile dysfunction. These changes can be addressed with medication or other treatments, so talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.
You Can Be Happier, Wiser, and More Connected
Despite the stereotype of the “grumpy old folks,” aging can be a time of joy, growth, and connection.
Older adults are generally happier and more content than younger adults, likely because they have a better understanding of themselves and what they want out of life.
Getting older can diminish narcissistic traits and improve emotional stability, self-confidence, agreeableness, and playfulness—all of which can lead to healthier relationships and a more fulfilling life.