What is Growing Old?

Why do we age? Aging is not just the result of the passage of time. It’s the result of what happens to our bodies during that passage of time.

Our skin and body tissues are constantly fighting a battle against the assaults of the environment in which we live. We benefit from sunlight, but direct sun also damages our skin. Our skin and body cells must cope with wind, snow, heat, cold, rain, radiation, toxins and chemicals. Bacteria and viruses, fungi and toxins are all around us, and many of these organisms wreak havoc on our cells. Sometimes that damage can be permanent. This is nothing new: bugs, toxins and radiation have been around longer than human beings. Mostly, we have learned to fend off these attacks. But humans still wear out.

We tend to describe the process of aging and wearing out as “growing old”. The longer we live, the more we expect to deteriorate. Historically, it seemed that this was simply inevitable. But now we have unlocked many of the secrets of the aging process and discovered that there are several ways in which we can help our skin and body maintain much of the vigor and healthiness of youth.

Over the years, different theories have been put forward to explain aging. Those theories focus on different body processes and conditions, including inflammation, cell deterioration, DNA mutations, glycation, telomere shortening, oxidation and more. It is now becoming clear that no single theory adequately explains everything to do with aging; It’s complicated. Yet, despite differences in scientific detail, these multiple theories all point to similar conclusions concerning the good habits that will maintain health and prolong life.