When it comes to aging, most of us are well aware that our bodies will change over time. But do men and women age differently? While it's important to bear in mind that when we talk about "men" and "women" in this context, it's coming down to biological sex more than actual gender identity or gender presentation, questions about whether there are differences in the ways men and women age remain. Do our bodies go through different processes and changes based on our chemical balances and hormones? The science behind these questions says yes, and a fascinating video from Elite Daily details how these changes manifest for different people.
There's a ton of research backing up the fact that time affects men and women in different ways. For example, a 2015 study published in Brain Imaging and Behavior discovered that the subcortical structures in the brain appear to age much faster in men's brains than women's, possibly suggesting an explanation for why men are much more likely to develop Parkinson's or similar neurological illnesses than women are. On the flip side, other research suggests that women are more susceptible than men to experiencing brain cell lose associated with Alzheimer's. Even when we look at average estimated life expectancy, there's a notable difference between the sexes: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the average life span for a male is 76 years, while the average life span for women is 81 years. Five years is a pretty significant difference, if you ask me!
When it comes to the changes our bodies go through, it's also important to keep that there are many factors in play, aside from just our biological sex. It's fair to wonder, for example, how our diets impact aging, or how much exercise affects the ways our bodies age. But at the end of the day, our bodies are all unique, so no single person's experiences will match another person's down to the very last detail. And that's perfectly OK — although I still think it's fascinating to see what trends and patterns research picks up on, especially when it comes to people's bodies.
Thanks to our friends over at Elite Daily, you can check out the video below to see the most common changes people experience as they age:
1. In Your 20s
As someone who gets a period, I think it's so important to be aware of your menstrual cycle. While tracking the dates you get it can obviously be helpful, tacking changes in your cycle — including your symptoms — also matters. Your period can tell you a whole lot about your health, and if something changes or seems off, it's important to get it checked out ASAP.
2. In Your 30s
Many factors affect your fertility. If you're struggling to get pregnant, remember that it's not your fault! It's always a good idea to talk to a medical professional and learn as much about your body as possible, especially if you are trying to conceive.
3. In Your 40s
As someone who has a super young face (yes, I still get carded to see R-rated movies on a regular basis) I'm personally looking forward to the day when my hormones shift and my face shape changes a bit. I think it's fascinating that our faces, as well as our bodies, can change with age.
4. In Your 50s
People who get periods pretty much all know that menopause is somewhere on the horizon for us. As much as it tends to be fodder for jokes, though, it's good to remember that menopause is natural, normal, and healthy. It's also worth noting that people don't lose their sex drives during menopause or become "less feminine" (if that's something you identify with) just because they're menopausal — no matter what the stereotypes might have you believe.
5. In Your 60s
Personally, I can't begin to imagine where my life will be when I reach my 60s, but I'm pretty excited about it none the less. In my opinion, with age comes a lot of wisdom, and I love hearing from older people about what life lessons they have for us younger folk. And while we're on the subject, no, the pleasures of life don't have to end with age: Studies show that six in 10 women over 60 still have active sex lives.