- A human’s physical efficiency increases from birth and reaches its peak in our mid-20s.
- One reason for aging is that our cells cannot divide and renew themselves an unlimited number of times. The chromosomes shorten with each cell division until the death of the cell was inventible.
- Most mammals have a fixed potential number of heartbeats in their lifespan—around a billion. However one billion heartbeats would last a human about 27 years. We have managed to more than double our life expectancy by conquering famine and disease and adjusting to our environments.
- As a rule, larger animals reach sexual maturity later and live longer than smaller ones.
- Smoking wrinkles the skin and gives it a slightly gray complexion resulting from poor circulation. Over time, smoking also accelerates the aging process, weakens the immune system and increases the risk of contracting diseases.
- In our 20s, the production of collagen decreases. This is the protein that gives firmness strength and resilience to skin. Elastin, the key to supple skin and flexibility, also declines.
- As we mature, the loss of fat under the skin also results in the hollowing of the cheeks and eye sockets.
- As we age, the calcium content in our bones decreases and thus they become less resilient and more brittle.
- Regular exercise strengthens muscles and bones, reduces fat deposits, stimulates the brain, and helps the immune system, protecting the entire body against disease and the effects of aging.
- The brain may work a little more slowly as we age, but it does remain flexible and versatile throughout our lifetime. It can grow new cells and build new neural networks.
- Slower learning ability in old age is often due to: lack of mental exercise, sensory stimulation, physical exercise and fine motor skills.
- Goethe, the famous German poet, completed the second part of his most famous work, Faust, at age 82; Emmanuel Kant, the well-known German philosopher, published his greatest works between the ages of 60 and 80.
- From their 50s on, most people can read small print at only arm’s length. This is a normal result of aging, called presbyopia, and it develops because the lens gradually loses its elasticity.
- Every breath that brings life-giving oxygen to our cells also ages us, because some oxygen molecules degrade into free radicals, rusting us from the inside. The body minimizes the oxidative damage with the help of antioxidants, as they can neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants include vitamin C and E, beta carotene and the trace element selenium.
Facts courtesy of BODY WORLDS.
Image: Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com.
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