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Healthy Aging Series: Primary Vs. Secondary Aging

By October 26, 2017No Comments

Primary Aging

Primary aging is the gradual – and presently inevitable – process of bodily deterioration that takes place throughout life. It leads to slowed movements, fading vision, impaired hearing, reduced ability to adapt to stress, decreased resistance to infections, and so forth. It is like getting the grey hair wither you want it or not.

Secondary Aging

This is the processes result from disease and poor health practices (e.g. no exercise, smoking, excess fat and other forms of self-damage) and are often preventable, whether through lifestyle choice or modern medicine. Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease do not have to happen to everyone because they age, more because they choose unhealthy life style practices which leads to the development of those diseases.

Nothing has been demonstrated to slow or reverse the primary aging process in humans; instead, the factors that are known to affect longevity do so by their influence on disease development, which is part of secondary aging. Preventive strategies against secondary aging maintain health and functional capacity, rather than extending, the survival curve.

So being physically active leads to healthy longer lives and influence the secondary aging processes more than primary aging. Exercise is the fountain of youth! Being physically active is one way to slow and reverse secondary aging. The CBC series Myth or Science- Quest for Perfection asks interesting questions related to aging and exercise and follows them up with science to prove that Exercise is the Fountain of Youth.


Article Written by Laura Doyle, Registered Physiotherapist BHSc (PT), B.Ed., B. KIN

As a registered physiotherapist, Laura works at McMaster Family Practice. She sees patients while promoting healthy living and aging along acute and chronic health conditions. Laura is a Member of the Momentum community who makes time at lunch to workout. She is passionate about moving every day to maximize function and fitness throughout the lifespan.