Health, Fitness, and Sexuality in Late Adulthood

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  • 0:01 Late Adulthood
  • 0:56 Diet & Exercise
  • 3:26 Sexuality
  • 5:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As people age, their bodies change. But what does that mean in terms of health, fitness, and sexuality? Watch this lesson for information on how diet and exercise impact health and how sexuality changes in late life.

Late Adulthood

Leo and Pearl have been married for almost 60 years! They are both in their 80s now, and they're definitely not the spring chickens they used to be. They have new aches and pains, and gray hair and wrinkles. As they age, they want to stay as young and healthy as possible. But how can they stay young?

Leo and Pearl are in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. During late adulthood, people notice many new things occurring in their bodies. The signs of aging, which began all the way back in their 20s, are more pronounced in later life. And, like Leo and Pearl, many people want to try to keep themselves young and healthy. Let's look at some of the changes that occur in late adulthood related to health, fitness, and sexuality, as well as what people can do to help live long and healthy lives.

Diet & Exercise

Leo used to love Pearl's cooking. He would eat all of his dinner and then go for seconds or even thirds! And Pearl would cook lots of different foods: veggies, fruits, whole grains, and meat. But lately, Leo doesn't eat as much. It's like he's lost his appetite. And Pearl, too, eats less, so she's cooking less variety. Instead of a main dish and two side dishes, like she used to make, she'll just make one dish and call it a night.

A key part of health is in the foods that a person eats. As people age, it becomes harder to get all the nutrients that they need. This can be due to many things, including the loss of teeth, which makes some foods difficult to eat, lowered appetite, and a tighter budget.

Like Leo and Pearl, many older adults find that they have a lowered appetite, and they enjoy their foods less. This is in part due to the fact that, as people age, their senses of taste and smell become dull. Leo and Pearl can't smell or taste the food as vividly as they used to, which affects their appetite.

You might be wondering what the big deal is. So what if they don't eat a lot? As we mentioned, this can cause them to not get all the nutrients that they need, which in turn can lower a person's immune system and lead to serious health problems. Take Pearl, for example. Last year, she had a respiratory infection that landed her in the hospital for weeks. It could even have been life-threatening!

So, what can Leo and Pearl do to boost their immune systems? There are two main factors that they can control that can help them improve their health and immune systems:

  1. Diet: As we said before, they aren't getting enough nutrients. Focusing on nutrient-rich foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables can lead to a healthier immune system and better health in general.
  2. Exercise: As people age, many of them become less active than they were. But that's a problem! By making sure that they move a little every day, even if it's just going for a walk, Leo and Pearl can boost their immune systems and slow the rate of memory loss that happens in older adults. And that's just the start! Exercise provides many benefits, and by moving every day to increase their overall fitness, Leo and Pearl can help their overall health improve.

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