When aging results in appreciable decreases in what we consider to be our nominal level of functioning, losses become apparent and can cause the downheartedness of aging. It is important to be realistic and realize what our bodies have done and what is happening to them. Also, what we must do to shore them up.
Aging with its physical and mental challenges is simply the end product of molecular changes in our bodies─ remember vigorously that aging is MOLECULAR! Our bodies produce aging molecules in several different ways.
The most significant producer of aging molecules is providing the energy to keep us alive through microscopic chemical fires. Each cell, and there are trillions, has tiny furnaces called mitochondria where the fires burn continuously. Their ashes are carbon dioxide. The aging molecules are comparable to sparks. They mostly are harmless but just as real sparks from actual fires that we can see can produce damage if they land on something important that can be damaged, the damage in our bodies accumulates over time.
The sparks (aging molecules) are Bolshevik and seek to attach to other molecules with the potential to change whatever they do gain attachment. The new molecular structures determine the functioning of the new molecule. Molecules in our bodies do specific tasks to keep working properly. This can change over time. The corrections required are considerable and will be addressed in a separate article.
Aging is incremental and cumulative. Combining those two characteristics is powerful which explains why material things wear out. The Grand Canyon was formed by that mechanism! Ongoing negative processes need to be stopped or at very least controlled.
Second, chronic inflammation produces aging molecules that gradually harm our bodies. Again, incremental + cumulative! Smoking is the worst common irritant. Smokers have not only lung cancer (over 80% chance) and several times the risk of a heart attack or stroke, they have double the risk of TEN other cancers. Secondary common cause of continued long-lasting inflammation is obesity and periodontal disease. Brush, floss, and get your teeth cleaned!
The third major trigger of accelerated aging is continuing stress. Stress is continuing pressure leading to anxiety. The pressure is mostly psychological from perceived threats leading to discomfort. We have the genes of the ancients who survived long enough to procreate. They were able to respond to unbelievable hardship and keep alive without any of the protective facilities we enjoy today. They were able to respond with peak strength and speed because of “stress hormones”. There are stories of fantastic feats of strength and speed in dangerous situations; stress hormones no doubt are responsible.
Unfortunately, our bodies now respond to stress not taking the gravity of the situation into account. It is called the “fight or flight response.” Tales of superhuman strength have been generated thereby. When one finds their self-responding to a continuing stressor, it is easy to continue to injure your body by the acceleration of AGING prematurely.