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5 Unexpected Things That Happen As You Get Older

Exploring Some of the Surprises of Aging

Aging is something we all have to deal with. Even if we recognize this logically, it's still hard to come to terms with the realities of getting older. Some changes are welcome (it's great feeling wiser and having a lifetime of accumulated knowledge to draw from), but others are anything but.

On that note, here are 5 of the biggest surprises that happen when you get older. This list is a combination of things I've experienced myself, things patients have shared, and other tidbits that are inevitable with the passage of time.

1. Your muscles will get weaker

Our muscles grow and become stronger from the time we're born until age 30 or so. In our 30s, we begin to lose muscle mass and function. It's a normal, age-related process called sarcopenia . People who aren't active can lose 3-5% of their overall muscle mass with each passing decade, and even active people will lose some of their strength and mobility.

The good news is that you can “treat” sarcopenia with regular exercise, especially with strength and resistance training.

2. Your bones and joints also change

It's no surprise that physical changes come with age, but the extent of those changes can be rather unexpected. Your bones also shrink in size and density , which makes them more likely to fracture or break.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older and men age 71 and older. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu.”

3. Your children (finally) start listening

Well, this one isn't always 100% true, but it's a nice thought! As you get older you may find that the nature of your relationship(s) with your children (and other family members) changes. As people grow older and accumulate more life experiences it's often easier to find common ground and appreciate the wisdom that we can all share.

4. Your taste buds will change

Most people lose half of their taste buds by age 60 . If you suddenly seem to have more cravings for salt, sugar, and fat, changing taste buds could have something to do with it.

5. Your brain will change

Our brains also change as we get older. Here's a good summary of the biggest changes:

“As the brain changes, so does behavior. And so, given that blood flow drops the most in the frontal cortex, people most commonly experience declines in verbal fluency, or the ability to find the words they want. They also have to work harder at "executive function," planning and organizing their activities.”

Thankfully, you can exercise your brain like any other muscle. Read a book . Do different types of puzzles, like crosswords and sudoku. Give journaling a go . If you challenge your mind and body throughout the aging process, getting older won't feel quite so hard.

Our caring therapists are here to support you through all of life's transitions. Contact us today!