Is Your Body Aging Faster Than It Should Be?

  • Reviewed By: Jennifer Robinson, MD
Reviewed on 3/17/2020

Slow Walking

Slower walking may be a sign that you are aging faster than you should be.

If your walking pace slows while you're in your 40s, it may be a sign you're aging faster than is typical. Walking is one of the easiest and best exercises you can do. To start a walking program, begin with 5 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes. Try to work up to 100 steps a minute. (To track this, count your steps for 10 seconds and multiply by six.) To make it easier, wear supportive walking shoes and walk with a buddy.

Sun Spots

Sun spots are common from sun exposure as you age.

Brown sun spots most often appear on your face, hands, and arms. They're common, especially for people over 50. Most are harmless and are caused by years of being in the sun. See your doctor if they:

  • Are black
  • Change shape
  • Bleed
  • Have a rough border

Wear sunscreen and cover up in the sun to help prevent them. Avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest.

Memory Problems

Memory problems can start to appear in your 40s.

Mild memory changes go along with aging and can start as early as your 40s. It might take you longer to recall names or facts or remember why you went upstairs. But most cases of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia don't happen until after age 65. And dementia is not a normal part of aging. To help keep your mind sharp:

  • Eat healthy
  • Stay socially active
  • Exercise

Achy Joints

Keep joints flexible with flexibility, strength-training, and aerobic exercises.

Not everyone gets stiff joints when they get older. But your chances of getting osteoarthritis go up as you age. Men tend to get symptoms after age 45, and women after 55. There's no cure, but you can slow its progress. As little as an hour of exercise a week might help. Do flexibility, strength-training, and aerobic exercises. If you're new to exercise, see your doctor first.

Dry Skin

Your skin produces less oil as you age so it may be drier.

Your skin makes less oil as you age. It can become dry and dull, especially if you're over 40. But dryness can also be caused by things you do (or don't do). To prevent it:

  • Take short baths or showers using warm -- not hot -- water.
  • Clean your skin gently and moisturize well.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Don't spend a lot of time in dry air.

If your skin is still very dry and itchy, see a dermatologist to rule out medical issues.

Easy Bruising

You may bruise more easily after age 60 due to skin thinning and more fragile blood vessels.

This gets more common once you pass 60. Your skin gets thinner and loses fat as you get older. Your blood vessels also get more fragile. Even some medicines can lead to more bruising. Most bruises are harmless and go away on their own. See your doctor if:

  • You often have lots of large bruises, especially on your chest, back, or face.
  • You started bruising after beginning a new drug.

Problems Climbing Stairs

Having trouble climbing stairs may also happen as you get older.

It's normal to sometimes have trouble with steps. But if it happens often as you get older, it could mean you'll struggle with other daily activities. Maybe it's because you don't exercise regularly. If that's the case, check with your doctor, then slowly add stair-climbing to your routine. You could also have pain or balance issues, or medication could be to blame. See your doctor to rule out things like heart problems or arthritis.

Thick Waistline

Your waistline may expand as you age.

Body fat tends to shift to your belly as you get older. This is especially true for women after menopause. No matter what your age, a thick waist can come with health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Risks go up when your waist is more than 35 inches if you're a woman or more than 40 if you're a man. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to keep your waist in line.

Hand Strength

Grip strength starts to diminish in your 50s.

You might find your hands have to work harder opening a jar, or your hold on the steering wheel isn't as firm. Your grip strength usually starts to drop in your 50s. You can keep your hands strong by playing with clay, squishing a stress ball, or wringing water out of a washcloth. If you lose your grip strength early or suddenly, it could be a sign of arthritis, nerve damage, or another health issue.

Vision Issues

Vision issues may increase as you get older.

After you hit your 40s, you'll likely have trouble seeing things close-up, like reading a menu. It's called presbyopia. Sometimes, aging brings more serious issues like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. To cut your risk:

  • Wear sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB light
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise
  • See your eye doctor for annual checkups

Irregular Periods

Estrogen levels drop as you get older leading to irregular menstrual periods.

Your periods usually become less regular in your late 30s or early 40s. That's perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause. Your body makes less estrogen. That means your periods may be lighter and shorter, or come less often. Check with your doctor if your periods suddenly become very different or painful, especially in your 30s. It could be a sign of early menopause.

Is Your Body Aging Faster Than It Should Be?

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