Longevity Final Paper

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Gerontology Pages: 7 (1745 words) Published: November 13, 2014
Successful Aging
While aging is unavoidable, becoming wiser with age is not. There are numerous influences on how one matures throughout his or her, but scholars habitually come to the conclusion that adults approach their lives in two ways. They either choose to accept and adapt using the strengths they still possess, or they draw upon their greatest weaknesses and restrict their daily routines. To age positively requires a great deal of dedication, emphasizing “activities that facilitate health promotion, lifelong learning, and adaption” (Giblin, 2011). While the completion of these tasks often come at the expense of comfort, they provide one with a holistic feeling of accomplishment and allow many to enjoy a healthy older adulthood.

There is no uniform definition for successful aging, as the theoretical framework that defines who has achieved aging “successfully” is vast and all encompassing. There are many aspects of aging that many researchers distinctly point to as being indefinite factors towards successful aging. However, one may find it is evident that behavioral dynamics demonstrate a boundless impact on another’s longevity. Depp and his collages elaborate on a number of interventions that correlate with successful aging, but state that dietary restriction is among the most studied and relevant subjects in adult development (Depp et al., 2012). In an experiment conducted by researchers, they examined the effect to which the dietary intake of mice affected their longevity. While the control group of mice were permitted to feed freely, the experimental group was fed two-thirds of ad libitum, or what they preferred to consume. These studies conducted by colleagues of Depp yielded results identical to what one would find in a naturalized setting with humans. The results from the mice that had experienced restricted feed lived approximately 40% longer than any other mouse in the control group (Depp et al., 2012).

Caloric restriction is an emerging study that has since transferred to realm of human observation and have produced encouraging results. While the exact mechanisms of caloric restriction are still unclear, scientists have unveiled potential research that supports the link of dietary restriction and successful aging. It is now believed that an alteration to metabolism occurs as a result of restriction, allowing for the reduction of oxidative damage and the preservation of functioning (Depp et al., 2012). Furthermore, Rowe and Kahn suggest that diet choices also serves as evidence in the avoidance of disease or disability (Rowe & Kahn, 1998, pg. 41).

Another behavioral feature that is associated with successive aging is the incorporation of physical activity in one’s daily routine. Involvement in physical activity has been linked to numerous benefits, including better bone health and lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. More importantly, evidence suggests that physical activity has a tremendously positive effect on cognitive functioning. Depp et al. (2006) suggests that physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and higher cognitive functioning, including the potential for an increase in brain volume (Depp et al., 2012). In a study conducted to uphold these values, researchers created a design that involved three separate criteria given to depressed older adults. The first group received antidepressant medication, the second group received an exercise plan, while the third group was given both. The results yielded then determined that exercise was an unequivocal benefit in the well-being of older adults. Still, there is a central issue in that only 22% of older adults accommodate for the proper amount of physical activity recommended. According to the National Institute of Aging, the proper amount of physical activity for an individual is “moderate exercise for at least thirty minutes at least five times a week or vigorous exercise three times a week for at least 20 minutes”...

References: Depp, C., Ipsit, V., & Dillip J. (2012). Successful aging. Blackwell Reference Online. Retrieved from http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/tocnode?id=g9781444331479_chunk_g978144433147925#citation
Giblin J. (2011). Successful aging: Choosing wisdom over despair. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv,. 49(3) 23-26. Doi: 10.3928/02793695-20110208-01
Meeks, S., Murrell, S.A., (2001). Contribution of education to health and life satisfaction in older adults mediated by negative affect. Journal of Aging and Health, 13 (1j), 92-119.
National Institute of Aging. (2010). Older Americans 2010: Key indicators of well-being. Retrieved from http://www.agingstats.gov/agin...a/2010_Documents/Docs/OA_2010.pdf.
Rowe, J.W, & Kahn, R.L. (1998). Successful aging. New York: Dell.
Savy, P., Sawyer, A. M., & Warburton, J. (2014). Introduction: Longevity and sociology. Health Sociology Review, 23(1).
Strawbridge, W., Cohen, R., Shema, S., & Kaplan, G. (1996). Successful aging: Predictors and associated activities. American Journal of Epidemiology, 144(2).
Unger, J.B., McAvay, G., Bruce, M.L., Berkman, L., Seeman, L., (1999). Variation in the impact of social network characteristics on the physical functioning in elderly persons. The Journals of Gerontology, 54(B), 245-251.
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