Yes! We all shrink with age… On average, people lose ¼ to ½ inch every decade after age 40 with more rapid shrinking as time goes on. For many this is a gradual process and nothing to worry about.
The main reason people “shrink” has to do with their spine. As gravity pulls down, as the cartilage between our joints wears down, and as our spines are weakened by osteoporosis, we shrink. As cells age, they function less well.
Eventually, old cells must die, as a normal part of the body’s functioning. Old cells also die because they can divide only a limited number of times. As we get older, the soft tissues of the body tends to lose their ability to retain moisture. As we age, we tend to become less active, all humans go through physical changes with age, including an increase in body fat and decrease in bone mass. However, men who lost more than 1.5 inches of height had an increased risk of heart attack and death, according to researchers.
Bones tend to become less dense. Healthy discs are plump and moist, and this enables them to provide the necessary shock absorption for your spine and also to keep the spine flexible.
As people age, the following occur:
- The lens stiffens, making focusing on close objects harder; the pupil reacts more slowly to changes in light.
- The number of nerve cells decrease, impairing depth perception.
- About the age of 40, eyesight weakens, and at around 60, cataracts and macular degeneration may develop. Hearing also declines with age.
- About one-third of Indians between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. About half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss.
- Colors may look less bright and contrasts between different colors may be more difficult to see.
While little research has been done on how to improve height, at least one study indicates that yoga may help slow or reverse height loss in older people with dowager’s hump. Staying as active as possible, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet with good levels of calcium and vitamin D are all ways to slow down the decline in height, say scientists.