Do you want to live forever? For many people the answer to that question would be ‘yes’. However, physiologically, that does not pan out. Aging affects the body in both seen and unseen ways. Some of the effects of aging: metabolism slows down, hormone levels become unbalanced, loses in strength occur and activity levels decrease. Although the effects of time consistently make their presence known, this need not be a condemnation. The aging process cannot be halted but it can be curtailed.
That youth is wasted on the young is a mis-statement. A more accurate statement would be that the effects of aging are seemingly distant when one is younger. Relatively healthy individuals perform daily tasks with few limitations. The younger body is brought to a halt for the needs of hunger and rest. Otherwise, the boundless energy of youthfulness holds sway. Nothing short of severe genetic complications or extreme physical mishaps can impact youthful zeal.
Hormones – The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are critical to hormone balance. The time related desensitization of the hypothalamus causes other glands to abnormal amounts or various hormones. The adrenal, thyroid and reproductive glands do not receive proper signaling from the pituitary gland. This cascading effect hormonal signaling is precipitated by the pituitary gland receiving improper stimulation from the hypothalamus.
Metabolism – The metabolic processes slow down due to unbalanced hormonal secretions. Sugar metabolism is a major concern. Processing sugar into energy becomes compromised. Insulin loses it’s capacity to transport sugar across the cell wall and diabetes results. Elasticity of the lungs also decreases. This reduces the amount of oxygen that is available to the body. It also has implications in the development of diabetes. Oxygen is necessary for digestion and assimilation of energy.
Strength – Another hormonal effect on the body is that of cortisol and the loss of muscle mass and strength. As hormonal secretions become imbalanced, cortisol levels remain constant. Higher than normal levels of cortisol occur and change the body, i.e. negatively influences cognition, increases the likelihood for osteoporosis (in older adults) and significantly compromises the muscular system. Tied to this is the age-related decrease of testosterone. Testosterone is critical for muscle building and maintenance. Testosterone loss is theorized to be a reflection of ill health and lifestyle choices.
The aging population is increasing. The WHO cites that life expectancy increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, To maintain functionality as one ages is not an impossible task. The challenge can be met through adequate activity and proper supplementation. Exercise can balance hormone levels. Exercise and sleep strongly influence GH (growth hormone) secretion according to Godfrey & Blazevich (2004). Exercise that increases functionality is very necessary for the aging adult. Kim & Ju (2017) cite the benefits of aerobic training and resistance training and Kalapatharakos et al (2005) have noted increases in functionality resulting from resistance training.
Also, there is an enzyme called AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) that can promote regenerative pathways in the body. AMPK restores youthful cellular function, enhances energy metabolism, drives down blood sugar and staves of chronic inflammation. The activity of this enzyme declines with increasing age. However, two substances have been shown to stimulate AMPK: 1) hesperidin, a flavinoid found in orange peels and 2) leaf extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, a Chinese medicinal herb
Aging happens. Physiological and Psychological effects occur. One can invest in options and actions to help in maintaining a functional quality of life.
Activities that help reestablish hormonal balance, stimulate metabolism, and develop functional strength are provided through Ab-Sutra Wellness and Fitness Programs in Austin, TX.