You get older, your skin wrinkles, you lose some cognitive functions, and have diminished sight. These are all common symptoms of getting old, and although we might not like them, they’re kind of normal. The question is, do you shrink as you get older?
The short answer is yes, but knowing why is much more important, mainly because there are things to do to prevent shrinking with age from happening, at least to some extent. Here’s all you need to know about shrinking with age and what you can do to stop shrinking or not shrinking as much. You might want to read this even if you’re young!
The arches of your feet flatten
Let’s start with an odd cause of shrinking with age. You might have noticed your feet have a lovely arch that gives you a few more inches in height. These arches make our walking dynamic, provide us with stability and even allow us to jump. The thing is, you’re putting too much weight on those arches, and they’re eventually giving in, making you lose up to one inch, perhaps more. The heavier you are, and the weaker your feet muscles are, the more you’ll lose in height.
To prevent this from happening, use comfortable shoes and keep your feet muscles strong by walking or hiking. The most important thing, though, is to avoid carrying around all those extra pounds of belly fat.
The disks between our vertebrates get squished
We have 33 vertebrae in our column, and they’re all separated by an elastic, somewhat spongy disk that prevents the bones from being in friction with each other. Well, those disks wear out with time, and there’s little you can do about it. In fact, disk deterioration is also the cause of back pain in older people.
You can prevent your disks from squishing too much by consuming enough calcium and other essential minerals. You also want to stay active and stretch often. If your back muscles are strong, they help support your weight, relieving some stress on those vertebrae disks. Stand straight as well and keep your head tall; that helps too!
You lose muscle
As you age, you lose muscle mass, something almost unavoidable. Lose muscle, and you’ll literally shrink as everything, from your toes to the top of your head, shrinks a little. There’s something you can do about it, though, and that’s working out.
As long as you use your muscles and force your body to keep them strong, you won’t lose a single ounce of muscle, even if you’re seventy years old. Just look at veteran bodybuilders, and you’ll see they still have their body mass intact.
If you don’t work out, though, you’ll start losing muscle by the time you’re thirty. And that’s muscle, you’ll have a hard time recovering.
Your bones and joints weaken
Osteoporosis is common in older people, and as the joints and bones get fragile, they give the appearance of you shrinking. This is serious, though, since you can’t recover from fractures quickly after a certain age.
Your best bet is making sure you live an active lifestyle and give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs, including vitamin D that fixes calcium in the bones — you get that one from the sun, so enjoy the sunshine!
To strengthen your bone structure and the muscles that go with it, your best bet is practicing low-impact exercises and doing it often. Healthy habits are critical here.
Sometimes older people are not short, but they have a bad posture, and they do for all the reasons explained above. If you have a bad posture when young, you still will at later stages, and straightening your back will become increasingly difficult.
Good posture and a strong body to keep everything in place are your best bet to counter degenerative conditions and be able to stand tall even at an old age. From standing straight to walking without looking at the floor, everything helps, and you’ll still look taller even if you’re actually shrinking a few inches.
Shrinking is Not the Worst Thing That Could Happen
Yes, we’ll all shrinking a little as we grow old, but if you live over 70 years, consider yourself lucky. Don’t worry too much about shrinking a few inches; worry about your overall health. Make sure you’re a healthy and energetic short person — your health is more important than your looks, especially at that age!