Population aging is a physiological and progressive phenomenon that characterizes Western societies today.
Italy is in second place in the world, after Japan, in the ranking of countries with the highest number of elderly people.
However, the increase in life expectancy for both men and women does not coincide with the expectation of active life.
What does this mean?
That on average we live longer, but the last 7/9 years of life are not of active life but often associated with both cognitive and physical disabilities .
In fact on average a woman can live up to 84 years, but only up to 75 years she lives actively and the remaining 9 years are of disability; a man, on the other hand, can live up to 80 years but only up to 70 lives actively.
“Successful aging” or “Succesfull aging” represents the great challenge of today’s medicine.
It is a new concept that means aging well , in good health and which is achieved through the prevention of physical and cognitive functions in order to be more autonomous in everyday life and more engaged in society.
It is therefore clear that epigenetic factors such as the surrounding environment , lifestyle , physical activity and nutrition , play a fundamental role in achieving longevity.
The main chronic diseases that characterize advanced age are Osteoporosis and Sarcopenia , linked respectively to a loss of bone density and as a consequence of muscle mass and therefore of strength. (If you want to find out more about these conditions, also read this article .)
These, as we know, are scary, but they can still be prevented or limited. As? Keep reading!
WHAT TO DO TO AGE WELL?
1- Building a strong and healthy musculoskeletal structure during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense;
2- following a balanced diet rich in protein and mineral sources, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining adequate bone mineral density;
3- Maintaining muscle mass in old age is vital for daily function and mobility.
4- Proteins provide the “building blocks” that make up the muscle and that is why a constant and daily intake of proteins (preferably of vegetable origin) is required. As the years go by, the calorie requirement decreases because the metabolism slows down. To avoid gaining weight, many reduce the intake of calories and eat less, but this can lead to a reduction in protein intake. A balanced distribution of proteins in different meals has been shown to better stimulate the production of muscle tissue .
(An elderly person should have at least 30 grams of protein per meal.)
5- Other nutrients are also essential to prevent aging: such as vitamins C and K, B vitamins, magnesium, omega3 fatty acids and nutraceuticals (isoflavonoids and flavonoids).
6- Together with a balanced nutrition, physical exercise remains the best ally of healthy longevity: it releases stress, optimizes metabolism and insulin use, improves sleep rhythm, cleans the walls of blood vessels from cholesterol, modulates well-being neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, endorphins), reduces inflammatory states of the body (which open the door to chronic and degenerative diseases, including tumors).
- Particularly during the menopause, the exercise carried out against resistance and with small weights, has beneficial effects on muscle mass, strength and balance, increasing the ability to carry out daily activities and decreasing the risk of falls and musculoskeletal injuries.
- Aerobic activities are also important and are those that require the use of oxygen for muscle contraction and are not based on intense muscular effort, but on duration.
- Walking at a brisk pace every day for up to half an hour can help heart activity and maintain a healthy weight. Yoga is also a valid exercise that maintains the body and above all helps the mind.
- The right pace to play sports is what makes us feel good about ourselves, and therefore every woman must find hers. Physically active women during menopause are less stressed and have a better quality of life.
In conclusion, aging is inevitable but aging well is a success!
The purpose of this article is to inform people that associating good nutrition with a more active lifestyle can prevent many of the diseases related to aging. And the information goes not only to the elderly person, who can always improve their habits, but is also addressed to younger people who sooner or later will have to face this period of life.
Starting at a young age with good nutrition and constant physical activity will help you achieve physical and mental well-being that will accompany you throughout your life