When it comes to aging well, we often think that the first things to give away our age are fine lines and wrinkles. So, to ensure that we’re aging well, we slather on the creams and follow the advice of anti-aging experts to ensure we keep every line and wrinkle at bay.
However, while you’re up to your head in anti-aging skin care products, there are other parts of your body that may not be aging well either. In fact, they may be aging sooner—and faster—than your skin. So, when it comes to aging well, you may want to take note of this aging timeline that identifies which body parts start to go downhill at certain ages.
Aging Well in Your 20s:
When you reach your 20s, you’re probably not thinking all that much about aging well, as many 20-somethings still consider themselves young. However, when we’re talking about the brain, you’re already making your way over the hill. As babies, we have about 100 billion nerve cells (neurons); when we reach our 20s, that number starts to decline, and by our 40s, we may be losing as many as 10,000 neurons each day, which impacts our brain’s ability to continue aging well. This loss of neurons can affect cognitive function, memory, and coordination.
In addition to a loss of neurons, our bodies also create fewer synapses, which are tiny gaps between nerve cells that transport information through the brain. In order to ensure that your brain is aging well through your 20s and beyond, consider adding some brain-boosting foods to your anti-aging diet.
Your 20s are also the time when your body starts to produce less collagen and elastin, meaning that fine lines and wrinkles, while they may not be visible yet, are already starting to form. Starting an anti-aging skin care routine early is key to aging well.
Aging Well in Your 30s:
In your 30s, your bones, muscles, and breasts start to age.
Bone loss begins at about 35 years old. In post-menopausal women, bone loss can occur more rapidly, raising the risk of osteoporosis. This loss of bone density can lead to a decrease in height; in fact, by the time you reach 80 years old, you may be two inches shorter due to bone loss alone.
By 30, your muscles will start to break down more than they are built up, which is why a regular anti-aging fitness regimen that includes weight-training is important for aging well. In fact, the right anti-aging fitness plan not only ensures aging well, but it can help you live longer, too.
Breasts usually start aging in the mid-30s, when the loss of fat and tissue causes a reduction in size and fullness. Sagging, however, doesn’t usually start until after 40. The goods news, though, is that there are several options for making your chest is aging well, like special bras and pillows or a breast lift.
Aging Well in Your 40s:
Once you reach your 40s, your teeth, eyes, and heart are the next body parts to start aging.
According to a U.K. study, the average person’s heart is five years older than their chronological age; this difference is often attributed to obesity or a lack of exercise, which will prevent you from aging well. To ensure that your heart stays strong and that you’re aging well, be sure to incorporate some cardio into your anti-aging fitness routine. You may also want to consider adding more heart-healthy foods into your anti-aging diet.
Aging Well in Your 50s and Beyond:
At this time, the rest of the body starts aging, including the kidneys, prostate, voice, gut, and liver; in fact, it’s your liver that’s the last to start aging, usually around 70 years old. The liver has no problem aging well because it has the incredible ability to regenerate cells; in fact, if half the liver is removed through surgery, the remaining half of the liver has the ability to regenerate the missing portion in just three months.
That being said, if you take the right proactive steps early on, you can avoid many of the obstacles that get in the way of aging well. By no means is this the be all and end all of the aging process—you can significantly improve your chances of aging well by eating healthy, staying active, and listening to what your body is trying to tell you. The sooner you start taking aging well seriously, the better you’ll look and feel at 50 and beyond.
Epstein, A., “Old before your time: When your body really starts going downhill,” Daily Mail web site, July 15, 2008; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1035037/Old-time-When-body-really-starts-going-downhill.html.