Aging is a normal process of physical change over time—you can age passively without giving it much thought, or actively, making conscious, healthy choices and taking good care of your body and mind.
It's never too early or too late to take the path of healthy aging. If you are feeling well and vital, good self-care helps slow or prevent many age-related problems. If you now have a long-term (chronic) disease or disability or generally feel old and tired, making more healthy choices can have a big impact on how you feel, both physically and mentally. No matter when you start, a healthy lifestyle improves your quality of life and may extend your lifespan.
What kinds of changes should I expect as I age?
Normal signs of aging are generally the same for everyone, though they don't necessarily develop at a particular age. Everyone has his or her own aging timeline. How your body ages is linked in part to your family (genetic) patterns of aging. However, your lifestyle choices tend to have a more powerful impact on how well your body ages.
You can expect to notice and adjust to many gradual changes as you age. Certain physical changes are fairly predictable. Most people start needing reading glasses between ages 40 and 50, and many have some hearing loss later in life. Starting in your 50s, tissue and bone aging increase. Also starting around age 50, you may notice changes in sexual function—it's normal to have a slower sexual response.
Most vital organs gradually become less efficient with age. Your metabolism gradually slows, which means that your body needs less food energy than before. The kidneys also become less able to keep your body hydrated. This makes exercise, water intake, and a well-balanced diet increasingly important over time. An active body that gets plenty of oxygen, water, and nutrients is more likely to function efficiently for a longer period of time.