By BRUCE HOROVITZ Kaiser Health News For 93-year-old Joseph Brown, the clearest sign of aging was his inability one day to remember he had to have his pants unzipped to pull them on. For 95-year-old Caroline Mayer, it was deciding at age 80 to put away her skis, after two hip replacements. And for 56-year-old Dr. Thom- as Gill, a geriatrics professor at Yale University, it’s accepting that his daily 5 mile jog now takes him upward of 50 minutes, never mind that he long prided himself on running the distance in well under that time. The physiological changes that occur with aging are not abrupt, Gill said. The changes happen across a continuum as the reserve capacity in almost every organ system declines, he said. “Think of it, crudely, as a fuel tank in a car,” Gill said. “As you age, that reserve of fuel is diminished.” Drawing on their decades of practice along with the latest med- ical data, Gill and three geriatric experts agreed to help identify examples of what are often, but not always, considered to be signs of normal aging for people who practice good health habits and get recommended preventive care. Gill recognizes that he hit his peak as a runner in his 30s and that his muscle mass peaked somewhere in his 20s. Since then, he said, his cardiovascular function and endur- ance have slowly decreased. He’s the first to admit that his loss of stamina has accelerated in his 50s. He is reminded, for example, every time he runs up a flight of stairs. In your 50s, it starts to take a bit longer to bounce back from injuries or illnesses, said Stephen Kritchevsky, 57, an epidemiolo- gist and co-director of the J. Paul Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest University. While our muscles have strong regenerative capacity, many of our organs and tissues can only decline, he said. Dr. David Reuben, 65, expe- rienced altitude sickness and jet lag for the first time in his 50s. To reduce those effects, Reuben, direc- tor of the Multicampus Program in Geriatrics Medicine and Gerontol- ogy and chief of the geriatrics divi- sion at UCLA, learned to stick to a regimen — even when he travels cross-country: He tries to go to bed and wake up at the same time, no matter what time zone he’s in. There often can be a slight cog- nitive slowdown in your 50s, too, Kritchevsky said. As a specialist in a profession that demands mental acuity, he said, “I feel I can’t spin quite as many plates at the same time as I used to.” That, he said, is because cognitive processing speeds typically slow with age. There’s a good reason why even KEARNEY, NEBRASKA - AUGUST 2-5, 2018 Registration Deadline: Monday, July 16, 2018 Entry Forms Available by May 15 www.nebraskaseniorgames.com For More Info: 308-237 -4644 member of: All men and women age 50 & over are invited to participate. Bowling 5K & 10K Run Disc Golf Horseshoes Gentle Yoga Swimming Table Tennis Golf Power Walk Badminton Track and Field Cycling Pickleball 3-on-3 Basketball Wellness Walk Tennis Pitch Tournament Basketball Free Throw/Hot Shot Racquetball FUN FITNESS AND FRIENDLY COMPETITION! KEARNEY NEBRASKA presented by: Is there such a thing as normal aging? Continued on next page Courtesy Photo CAROLINE MAYER , with her husband, Ed, visited the Cape Cod Canal earlier this year.