What really happens to our bodies as we age: Health myths debunked

Jan 27, 2020
Our resident health expert addresses some old wives’ tales about ageing. Source: Getty.

Aussies are living longer than ever before, thanks to improvements in healthcare services and medical technology. However, many of us may still feel apprehensive about the effects of ageing on our body and may resign ourselves into thinking certain outcomes are inevitable as we tick off another birthday. I’ve heard several old wives’ tales about what people believe happens to our bodies as we get older, so I’m going to let you in on the truth of the matter.

Many of the most common age-related health hurdles can be overcome easier than you may think by tweaking aspects of your diet and lifestyle. To help you, I’ve debunked five common healthy ageing myths and shared my top tips on feeling great at any age.

1. Change your diet

Making drastic changes to your diet at any age can sometimes do more harm than good, so it’s always recommended that you speak to a health professional before doing so. Big changes might be hard to maintain so focus on smaller tweaks to your diet, which can have great results on your health. As our bodies age slowly over time, ensure you eat a balanced diet of all five core food groups — carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, dairy and lean meat — as this will help to ensure you provide your body with the right nutrition, regardless of your age.

2. We have less energy as we age

Our energy comes from the food we eat, so if you’re fueling your body properly and eating a balanced diet, you will have energy no matter what your age. You may feel a little lackluster though as you get older, so consider getting out and socialising, incorporating regular exercise or taking up a new hobby to feel motivated each day and maintain energy levels. You can also consider incorporating an energy-boosting supplement with the key ingredients of nicotinamide, also known as the ‘molecule of youth’, which has been shown to boost energy levels. And remember, if you have a medical condition, speak to a health professional first before taking any new supplements.

3. Nutritional needs stay the same

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide advice on the number of core food group servings you should eat each day, depending on your age and gender. For instance, a woman in her 50s and 60s is recommended to eat four servings of grain foods per day, which changes to a recommended three servings for women over 70 years old. It’s important that you eat a wide variety of foods as well, so your body can obtain all the nutrients it needs.

4. Body weight is not affected by age

As our metabolism slows down when we age, it may become harder to keep off those extra kilos. Our base metabolic rate, which is how many calories our body needs to function at rest each day, decreases naturally as we get older. Therefore, it’s important to nourish our bodies properly and engage in exercise to maintain a healthy weight. The recommended moderate aerobic exercise for those aged 65 and older is at least 2.5 hours each week. This could involve a walk around the block, dancing, swimming or even doing some gardening. Every bit counts.

5. Sense of taste doesn’t change

As we get older, we may experience a decrease in appetite, difficulty swallowing or changes to our taste buds. If this happens, it’s important to ensure you are still eating enough across the different food groups to compensate for any loss of nutrients and vitamins. Seek advice from health professional to assist with modifying your diet based on what you can tolerate.

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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