The body ages in different ways and at different rates, depending on lifestyle and genetic predisposition. Generally speaking, the most rapid aging process typically occurs during the twenties and thirties. This is the decade where a person’s body is most likely to experience the greatest amount of physical change due to their age, lifestyle and other factors.

During the twenties and thirties, a person’s body goes through a wide array of physical changes and growth. This is the time in a person’s life when their bones, muscles and organs are growing faster than at any other time in life. This growth and development is necessary for a person to grow into adulthood.

During the twenties and thirties, a person’s skin may begin to show signs of aging. This is because the skin loses its elasticity and collagen production decreases. As a result, skin wrinkles, sags, and discolors more easily.

Ask people what they think they’ll look like in 25 years, and chances are they’ll mention how their parents looked at that age. And while genetics certainly play a part, research shows there’s more to the story. Only about 30% of what we see as aging is inherited, explains John Rowe, M.D., Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

When you look specifically at things above the neck—like cognitive function, vision, and hearing—that number goes up to about 50%. “People feel there’s some intrinsic clock playing out a program in their body that they don’t have influence over,” says Dr. Rowe. “It’s just not true.”

Yes, good news: We have real control over how our bodies age. Aging is happening on a cellular level at every moment, so for a long and healthy life, it’s vital to stay on top of the changes within your body and your mind.

Over to us, then.

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