The say “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many”, and this is a great concept to keep in mind to help embrace the ageing process and ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age. However, although wise words can be very impactful, it’s important to be pragmatic when it comes to your health. So, what are the top ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age?
- Be social
They say no man (or woman) is an island. Humans are innately social beings and interconnection is a vital part of healthy ageing. As we get older priorities may shift, but we should always make an effort for friendships – both old and new.
We need to ensure that our emotional needs are met, so that we stay healthy and happy. It might be achieved through having a yarn with the next door neighbor, playing lawn bowls, or just spending time with the grandchildren. Whatever your age, staying connected on a human level is a prerequisite for continued well-being.
- Stay active
When it comes to healthy ageing, staying active is one of the best ways to keep limber, to maintain good cardiovascular endurance and to prevent arthritis, osteoporosis and similar conditions. Not only does it keep you fit, but exercise releases endorphins.
The ‘happy buzz’ effect produced by this natural chemical is just one of the many positive side effects of regular physical activity. The key to finding the motivation to be active is to do what you enjoy. This is so that exercise doesn’t feel too much like hard work – good examples might be gardening, or even just walking the dog.
- Keep learning
Keeping your mind active is equally important as keeping your body moving. In life we are perpetually learning. Discovering knowledge and new skills is a big part of what keeps each day new and exciting. Studies have shown that you can limit cognitive decline as you age with some simple practices to help strengthen memory and mental acuity.
Maybe it’s crossword puzzles, a new hobby or a volunteering project that keeps you on your toes. It could be finally learning to play the piano, or even a new language. Whatever it is, make sure you keep your thirst for knowledge – it will ensure you stay healthier and happier for longer.
- Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself means paying attention to your overall well-being. Try to eat a fresh balanced diet, get regular check ups at the GP and stay away from too much alcohol, refined sugar, salt and fats. Takeaways and processed packaged meals often seem to be a whole lot easier (there’s little preparation involved), however, too much of this type of food could very well contribute to diseases and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary blockages.
Look for convenient, yet healthier alternatives, such as nutritional food delivery packages or, (if applicable) home care catering might be worth looking into.
- Think happy
Don’t underestimate the power of being positive.
Life sure can be challenging at times, but a walk on the bright side of the street can work wonders for your wellbeing. It’s been proven that having an optimistic outlook can drastically reduce the risk of an early death and high ‘life enjoyment’ is directly associated with better health and longevity. It’s all about shifting your attitude. Sometimes lifting your mood can be as simple as appreciating a walk on the beach, time spent with friends and family, or a good meal/cup of tea.
- Rest and relax
As you get older, it’s important to be active, but it’s also equally important to make sure you get enough rest and relaxation. It can sometimes catch you unaware, but as you get to a certain age your body just doesn’t work in quite the same way it used to. Getting a full eight hours of quality sleep is so important for health and well-being (whatever your age) but, sometimes it can be more difficult for older people to get adequate shut eye.
This could be to do with pain or medical conditions, medications or a lot of other varying factors surrounding poor sleep and lifestyle habits. Some tips to help you sleep better include – avoiding consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, avoiding falling asleep with the TV on, and exercising more regularly.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
It’s important not to take things too seriously in life. We can stress so much about things, but too much worry and anxiety can easily take a toll on overall health. While it’s natural sometimes for concerns to play on our minds, it usually causes more harm than good to focus too much energy on the things that we can’t change or have control over.
Stress can be a killer. It’s simply not worth it. As time goes by we see the things we worry about have become insignificant. As cliched as it might be, the saying ‘don’t worry, be happy’ is very apt.
Putting your health and happiness first (and taking stock of the above tips) will go a long way to map your well being and longevity as you mature. To quote yet another adage “the greatest wealth is health.” It’s an oldie, but a goodie!