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Myths and Facts About Aging

Myths and Facts About Aging

Growing old comes with panic attacks, and a plethora of sickness. Is it really so, or are we just reading too much between the lines. WellnessKeen takes a look at the myths and facts associated with aging.
Cheryl Mascarenhas
Feeling old eh? Read this...
Fauja Singh, popularly known as the Turbaned Tornado, took up marathon running in his late 80s, and at 102, has been successfully breaking records.
One of the most important natural processes that the human body goes through is aging. Yet, a lot of us are petrified by just the thought of seeing our bodies undergo this natural change. Indeed, growing old is not an easy task, it slowly creeps on you and then makes it majestic presence felt.

If our own fears concerning aging were not enough, we have media to perpetuate and confirm almost all of our waking fears. Yes, aging can put you into the denial mode. What most of us do is, accept it as gracefully as we do all other aspects of our life. To start with, aging does imply changes that are felt both internally and externally. The fact remains that you can run, and you can hide, but never really escape the process of aging.

Considering both, the internal and external facets of aging, we have a multitude of myths surrounding it. We shall try to find the truth behind these myths through this article.
Myth: Becoming senile and disoriented is a part of growing old.
Fact: Although memory loss is inevitable, it does not hamper or interfere with the ability to live independently into old age, unless you suffer from a disease like Alzheimer's.

While it is true, that the thinking process is slower in older adults as compared to young adults, dementia and irreversible brain deterioration is experienced by only 10% of the entire older population.
Myth: Older adults are asexual.
Fact: Sexuality continues to be an important aspect of an older adult's life.

Come on, you know this already. There is no age restriction on getting physical, is there? People continue to enjoy every aspect of a relationship way into their adulthood. This just goes to say, that even though sexual capacity declines, it does not totally disappear.
Myth: Diminishing physical stamina means you cannot exert yourself with exercise.
Fact: While it is true that physically your body shows a decline in endurance and resistance to diseases once you reach 30, exercising and keeping fit is sure to keep you going.

Research has shown that people who exercised regularly, well into their old age, experienced better and improved heart function, as compared to those that shunned any form of physical exertion. Keeping yourself physically active is sure to be benefit in the long run.
Myth: With age you become set in your ways/stubborn.
Fact: As much as you would love to believe this, your personality remains pretty much the same as when you were in your middle age.

The point is, if you have been overtly stubborn to have your way all through your life, you will continue doing so in your older life as well. On the other hand, if you have been gregarious around people and attentive to others needs, as much as you cater to your own, chances are that you will continue doing so even in your later years.
Myth: Older adults are socially isolated and lonely.
Fact: Only about 4% of elders, who have a long-standing history of withdrawal, are extremely isolated.

As a matter of fact, most older adults live with their spouse or enjoy the benefits of living with a family. In addition to that, most adults have a socially active group and have relatives visiting them often, which ensures they are never really isolated or lonely.
Myth: Older people are slow, hence unproductive.
Fact: A majority of older workers can work as effectively as younger workers.

Yes, with age, perception and reaction speed decline, but this does not imply that older people are unproductive. On the contrary, older people tend to show more consistent performance than younger workers, which means they have less job turnover and fewer accidents than their younger counterparts.
Myth: Once you age you cannot learn anything new.
Fact: You are never too old to learn something new.

You are only as old as you believe yourself to be. Age should definitely not be a barrier to learn something new. So, whatever it is that you fancy, you are free to pursue it to your heart's content, this includes learning a new skill, and exploring an unknown talent. Remember to give yourself a little extra time to master the skill though, and you will be good at what you do.
Myth: It's tougher to cut back on bad habits.
Fact: There's never a bad time to start something good.

If it's never too late to learn something new, it's never too late to give up on your bad habits. Making positive and healthy choices is one of the best ways to counter aging. Be it quitting smoking, or eating right to live a long life, the time is never too late to begin something good.
Age, I believe, should not be a parameter to judge a person's ability and true potential. Yes, it may get a little too cumbersome and nerve-wracking, but it definitely doesn't mean you are at the edge of fun. As you age gracefully, you can continue having a gala time, learning new things and exploring new avenues, and better still, fulfill all of your heart's desires till you are truly satisfied. In the words of Samuel Ullman, "Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.", let not age get you down.