Getting older can be scary for some and healthy ageing is often overlooked. The unexpected issues, body changes and lifestyle amendments can come as quite a shock, that most of us would really like to avoid. But sometimes, life likes to throw things at you full force to challenge how you live, while highlighting habits that are no longer necessary for your overall health.
Whether you’re gracefully ageing in a nursing home, or living at home independently, there are many things you can incorporate into your life to enhance healthy ageing.
1 – Stay physically active
Whether it’s joining the gym and attending aqua aerobic classes, going on a long walk along the shore-front, or even some light housekeeping. Staying physically active is vital and one of the main properties to ageing as healthy as possible.
You might not know it, but exercising, has so many benefits, especially for those of an older age. Exercising regularly can:
- Prevent falls- You will become more balanced and stable through exercise, allowing you to avoid falling overall, or knowing how to protect yourself and decrease injury if you do.
- Reduced risk of stroke or heart attack- Regular cardiovascular exercise is key to keeping your heart-rate up and blood flow around the body which will help boost your overall health.
- Reduced risk of developing dementia- A recent study of over 1600 people found that those who did not exercise were more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease from ageing than those who exercised regularly.
- More confidence and independence- An additional study done by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that the elderly participants of regular exercise led to improvements in functional reach and balanced, and a reduced fear of falling.
As a whole, there are many benefits to exercising at an older age, with the above just naming a few. Keeping up with your physical health is one of the most important things to obtain if you are seeking health ageing in later years.
2 – Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
It may seem that of a simple mind to suggest eating healthy as an attribute to ageing with minimal impact to your health, however, so many people do not put this task into practice when it can really benefit you and your well-being in the long run.
Obtaining a well balanced, low cholesterol diet can help a person of age avoid a number of health issues. Such as a weak immune system, weak bones and even tooth decay. It is extremely important to keep your diet high in fibre and nutrients to help your body tackle simple things like digestion or maybe the common cold going around.
This is because, as you age, your immune system begins to become weaker and struggles to do things that wouldn’t be remotely challenging when in your youth. This is important to remember, your body begins to work differently the older you get so you must adapt to get the most out of life!
The best foods to eat would be more fruits and vegetables. Those of a dark green colour are rich in nutrients and will really benefit you on the inside. Keeping to proteins, but varying them with more fish, beans and peas are beneficial to not gain excess weight when trying to eat a good meal every day. Some sausages or steak is lovely, but best in small portions and with moderation in mind. And lastly, we all know the stereotype with ageing is gaining the largest sweet-tooth known to man! You can still keep to this stereotype while keeping to a healthy diet by switching to other sources of sweet things. These can be fruit, yogurt, or even a light mousse to tackle the craving.
Remember, everything in moderation! You can still keep to a tasty and satisfying diet without the suffering or eating over processed of high in fat food for an enjoyable flavour.
3 – Don’t neglect yourself
It is crucial for a person of age to stay up to date with their health, wellbeing and medications (if needed).
Going for regular check-ups at your doctors and dentist is critical to ensure you don’t have any undermining problems arising, as usually the most problematic issues you don’t notice at first. So, to keep yourself in front of any problem and tackle one fast would be to ensure you see your doctor as often as you can. It might sound like a pain, but it is a precaution worth taking and doesn’t take much of your time at all.
Similarly to this, you must ensure to take all medications as directed by your doctor. They aren’t giving you the medication as they think it won’t work, they are giving it to you for your up-most benefit to be able to live as well as you can. Not taking a full course of medication or only taking it when you feel like it can make the issue worse, or cause the bacteria to become resistant to the medication. Always do as instructed by your doctor to be your healthiest self, and your ageing process will become that of a dream.
4 – Get the sleep your body needs
It is a known fact that sleep makes you feel better. If you’ve had a rubbish day or need to feel refreshed, sleeping is the perfect way to boost your mood. However, the advantages of sleeping go far further than just boosting your mood, and is a key part of ageing well.
It was found in a study in 2010 that women of the ages 59-70 who got less than 5 hours sleep per night, or more than 6 and a half per night had a higher death rate due to their sleep pattern than those of other ages.
We all know that illness’, location or even the weather can affect the night’s sleep you get. However, it is very important to catch up on what you’ve missed or don’t over-do the activities of the day, and not push yourself too far to make sure you do not result in illness.
A lack of sleep could cause a number of consequences to your health. These can cause higher blood levels- which can be associated with heart attack risk, or curb inflammation-a disease linked to premature ageing, diabetes or even stroke.
Getting a good sleep is perfect to make you feel good and ready for the day, but it’s actually not a super lengthy sleep you need to feel like this. It is best to stick to a sleep routine of around 6-7.5 hours to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Shockingly, you can oversleep, causing your body to become overtired which is not helpful to anyone. So remember, beneficial sleep is far better for you than oversleeping.
5 – Stay socially active
There are many ways to stay socially active in your free time. For example, seeing friends, loved ones or visiting your local area.
Staying active within your life and the community has many long term benefits while you are ageing. You never would’ve guessed how helpful your friends really are!
Simply going out for a walk, or popping to your local shops weekly can reduce the risk of various mental health issues such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease.
Being lonely is one of the biggest ageing problems in our generation causing life changing issues like the ones stated above. At least 51% of people aged 75 live alone with no social settings or people around them. So encouraging your elderly loved ones to go out for a short while, or even yourself popping over to see them is still social contact, which can be enough to help them keep a healthy mindset. Because, after all, it’s not just about the physical health, it’s about mental health too.
6- Boost your Vitamin D intake
Another top tip for healthy ageing and that is to boost your Vitamin D intake. A vital addition to help keep us healthy and to our optimal condition, you would be surprised to note that there are a number of people out there who are unaware of their vitamin deficiency.
How can you begin to boost you intake of Vitamin D? It is recommended that a simple 15-20 minutes outside a day within the sun can give your body that boost that it needs.
An important addition, Vitamin D when incorporated into our health care can help to maintain our health and avoid the development of bone deformities such as rickets and osteomalacia. Containing nutrients to keep bones, muscles and teeth healthy, making sure that you increase your Vitamin D intake is essential for healthy ageing.
There are many factors you need to whittle into your lifestyle to ensure a healthy ageing process. Keeping to the ideas stated above is massively important to get the best out of your life and body. They may sound simple, but have many benefits when put into practise properly.
Try them out, you never know how much better you will feel after!