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Stressors, Microstressors Vs Macrostressors, Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Healthy Lifestyles and Successful Aging

Chapter 3

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Longer Lifespans

        A.         Longevity and Life Expectancy

1.      Population trends indicate that, more than ever before in our history, adults are living longer and healthier lives.

2.      Life expectancy, the prediction of how long an individual will live, has increased dramatically over the last several hundred years, particularly for women.

3.      In all cultures and ethnicities, women live longer than men do.

4.      Women generally take better care of their health and manage their stress better.

         B.          Centenarians

1.    Healthy Life Studies of those who have the greatest longevity, the centenarians and supercentenarians, have found that rather than experiencing a typical aging process and simply living longer, these individuals age at a slower pace throughout adulthood.

2.   Centenarians generally have controlled their weight, avoided smoking, and handled stress well.

3.   There seems to be a genetic component to longevity, demonstrated by the findings that long life generally runs in families.

II.               Healthy Lifestyles

          A.       Physical Fitness                           

1.      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2009b) report that only 32.5% of American adults engage in regular leisure-time physical activity.

2.      Adults who can complete a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous and intense activity or a minimum of 30 minutes of moderately intense activity on at least 3 days of the week will find they have enhanced their physiological and psychological functioning as well as reduced the risk of many illnesses.

3.      The benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle are both immediate and long lasting.

4.      Among the many physiological benefits of exercise are:

a.      Improved sleep

b.      Flexibility

c.      Muscle strength

d.      Better balance and coordination

e.       A stronger immune system (Aldwin et al., 2006; Chodzko- Zajko, 2000)

5.      By maintaining a regular fitness program and a desirable weight, individuals may reduce their risk for

a.      Coronary heart disease

b.      Higher blood pressure

c.      Osteoporosis

d.      Diabetes

e.      Arthritis

f.       Some types of cancer (CDC, 2010c; PCPFS, 2010b)

         B.   Nutrition1.  Most adults need to alter their diet to include more calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, D, and E.

         C.    Sleep

1. Lack of quality sleep causes psychological and physiological problems that can dramatically affect daily functioning.

2.  Poor sleep can result in sluggishness and lack of activity, which can reduce quality of life by causing further problems (Reynolds et al., 2001).

3.      In the short term, poor sleep or lack of sleep can cause

a.      Attention and memory problems

b.      Depression

c.      A greater risk of falling (AARP & [ILC-USA], 2003; [ILC-USA], 2003)

4.      Poor sleep patterns over long periods have been associated with:

a.  Social withdrawal and disengagement with activities (Reynolds et al., 2001)

b.   Shorter life spans

c.   Overuse of over-the-counter and herbal remedies (Kryger, Monjan, Bliwise, & Ancoli-Israel, 2004)

d.   Vulnerability to disease and illness (International Longevity Center–USA, 2003)

III.            Common Challenges to Healthy Lifestyles


1.  Among the worst factors for successful aging, in addition to lack of physical activity and poor nutrition, are smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and overwhelming stress.

2. Nicotine is responsible for 80–85% of all lung cancer and obstructive pulmonary disease deaths.

3.   The CDC (2009c) reports that more deaths are caused by tobacco use than the combined deaths from human immunodeficiency virus, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders.

4.  For those who stop before they develop a smoking-related disease, they can return to the level of health of nonsmokers within 5–15 years.


1.    Another area of concern is the strikingly high numbers of adults who are obese, a condition that can increase the risk for many illnesses.

2.   Another signal of the national concern over obesity came in 2004 when Medicare changed its policy to allow for payment for obesity treatment (Tomiyama et al., 2007).

3.   Data collected in 2005–2006 indicated that 34.3% of American adults were obese, a rate similar to that found in 2003–2004 (CDC, 2007).

4.   On a societal level, the obesity epidemic is likely to have numerous causes and influences,  many of which stem from

a.      Poor food choices

b.      Inadequate physical activity

c.      Overconsumption of processed foods

d.      Fast foods, larger portions

e.      Increased sugar intake (Kaplan, 2007)

10.  On a personal level, obesity is likely to be the result of

a.  Poor lifestyle choices, although it can be a symptom of other health concerns

                  Alcohol Abuse

1.    Alcohol abuse usually peaks in young adulthood, although the rate of alcoholism among older adults is rising.

2.   The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA; 2007) reports that one in every 12 adults, approximately 17.6 million Americans, either abuses alcohol or could be diagnosed with alcoholism.

3.   The number of men who had experienced alcoholism was nearly four times higher than of women, consistent with previous research (Bucholz, 1992).

4.   Two-thirds of the older adults with alcohol-related disorders are earlier-onset problem drinkers, meaning they developed an alcohol problem prior to age 60. Later-onset problem drinkers, those who develop an alcohol problem as an older adult, are often using a dysfunctional coping method (drinking) to deal with issues surrounding retirement, social isolation, physical and cognitive changes, or the death of a spouse (Hanson & Gutheil, 2004).

  5.  Older adults are also more likely to take medications or over-the-counter drugs, risking dangerous side effects due to mixing medications and alcohol.

   Stress1.     Individuals who are overwhelmed with stresses and engaging in inadequate coping mechanisms are vulnerable to numerous psychological concerns such as anxiety, depression, and even suicide attempts.

2.   High stress is also associated with a weakened immune system, leading to increased vulnerability to many problems and illnesses.

3.      Stressors can be categorized in terms of

a.   macrostressors, major life events, or

b.   microstressors, daily hassles or minor events such as misplacing something you need right away (Felsten, 2002).

4.    Younger adults perceive greater amounts of stress than is reported by middle-aged or older adults (Hamarat et al., 2001).

5.   A primary aspect of successful aging is the ability to engage in healthy coping mechanisms when dealing with stressors, thus avoiding the destructive outcomes caused by high stress and burnout as much as possible.

a.       Healthy coping mechanisms generally fall into two categories

                                   i.   One aimed at problem solving

                                  ii.  The other at managing our emotions (Heiman, 2004)

IV.       Aging Well

A.          Successful Aging

1. Generally speaking, the criteria for successful aging include high-quality physiological functioning, psychological coping, social interaction, and life satisfaction.

2. Achieving successful aging includes using the lifespan developmental principle of plasticity to focus not only on ways to minimize decline and deficit, but also on improvement, adjustment, and coping (Aldwin et al., 2006).

3.    Reeker (2001) found that in addition to social resources, those who were aging successfully also had a sense of purpose in their lives.

Chapter 3 assignment in assignments                                  As discussed on your text, and listed in the outline above, there are microstressors and macrostressors of life. Which do you believe has a bigger impact on stress and young adults? Why? Support your position.

The post Stressors, Microstressors Vs Macrostressors, Chapter 3 appeared first on Smart Essays.

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