Healthy vs. Unhealthy Aging: Leading a Healthy Lifestyle Through Our Adult Lifespan Nicholette Inman Org 6300: Human Development University of the Rockies September 7, 2011 Abstract This paper details the importance of living a healthy lifestyle as we age.
If we realize this importance during our adolescence and young adulthood phase and begin to live our lives with a focus on healthiness, then as we age, we will continue to maintain that lifestyle. There are certain areas that we need to focus on in an attempt to make sure that our lifestyles are as healthy as possible.
As we age, we are faced with different illnesses and diseases; however, living a healthy lifestyle that is drug free and with regular exercise, some of these illnesses can be avoided. Mental health is also a very important factor in leading a healthy lifestyle. Although there are areas in our lives that can cause us pain and sorrow, positive mental practices that we develop early in life, can assist us as we transition through the various stages of aging.
When we think about being a healthy person, we often focus on the medical aspect of our lives.
Are our bodies stricken with any diseases or ailments? Are we as physically fit and mobile in our older age as we were when were younger? However, being a healthy individual and going through a healthy process of aging is more than just the medical crisis that can attach our bodies. It also encompasses our mental stability, relationships with others, our personality and intellect, our cognition, and how we perceive life as we age. As one would imagine, each area can be intertwined with another to create one dynamic of a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle.
There are both positive and negative changes that we experience as we age that can classify us as being a healthy or unhealthy adult. We take on physical changes that if not managed and monitored properly can lead to health problems. Although hearing loss and deteriorating eye sight is normal as we age and does not necessarily classify us as being unhealthy, our natural tendency to put on weight as we age can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Staying active and eating a healthy diet can combat this weight gain.
Not only does an active lifestyle help to manage weight gain, it also improves energy levels so that when we enter our late adulthood phase, we are to be more mobile than others (Bjorklund, 2004). It is important to maintain adequate health care coverage as we age to ensure that any health issues can be discovered and addressed as soon as possible. Ensuring that we maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout our adult lifespan means that we must also have a healthy mentality. There are various ways to ensure that we have healthy memory and cognition.
We are encouraged as we enter our 40’s and beyond to practice different “brain” activities in hopes that our memory sustains as we age. Our mental stability not only signifies our memory, but it also deals with depression, as well as how we view others and our positions in life. As we age we face many different challenges, not all of them positive. It is important to maintain a healthy mentality. As adults face retirement, illnesses, and especially bereavement, our mental state can drastically change towards an unhealthy direction.
Although depression is not a normal side effect of aging, older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression. Since 80% of older adults have a chronic illness and over 50% have at least two chronic illnesses, depression is a common side effect when faced with a chronic illness, especially heart disease or cancer (Center for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Aging Program, 2009). There are steps or precautions that we can take to ensure that have healthy aging.
Smoking can lead to multiple health problems, many of which we are faced with as we age. Smoking can lead to cancer, heart disease, strokes, cholesterol issues, as well as other health problems. Making the decision to stop smoking at an early age, or deciding not to smoke at all is one of the main factors that can lead to a healthy lifestyle. What we eat also determines how healthy or unhealthy we are. We need a certain amount of proteins, vitamins, as well as all of the items in the food group to ensure that our body has the right amount of nutrients to be healthy.
If we are unable to nourish our bodies as we should, then vitamins and supplements can be taken as well. However, a healthy diet is always best. Keeping active and having a regular exercise routine is essential in healthy aging. Although one would not think that this element of life is important to leading a healthy lifestyle, our social relationships with others is very important. Socializing with close friends is a way to not only relieve stress but to satisfy our needs of attachment to others, even in the late stages of our lives (Sharpey, 2008).
Making the decision to lead a healthy lifestyle is very important on many different levels. Not only will it affect the probability that we will be faced with a chronic illness, it also how we feel and adapt to aging. Leading a healthy lifestyle is not easy; however, if we begin the process at an early age, as we get older, it will be natural to maintain the lifestyle that will lead to goo mental and physical health. However, if we decide not to practice a healthy lifestyle, our minds, bodies, and ultimately our lives will pay the price. Works Cited
Bjorklund, B. R. (2004). The Journey of Adulthood. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Aging Program. (2009, November 16). Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Old. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control and Preventions: http://www. cdc. gov/aging/mentalhealth/depression. htm Sharpey. (2008, February 27). 10 Steps to Preventing Unhealthy Aging. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from Zimbio: http://www. zimbio. com/Anti-aging/articles/222/10+Steps+Prevent+Unhealthy+Aging
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