Age may be but a number, but we still all go through it! No one likes to grow up, but grow up we must and it’s how we handle ourselves and look after our health that determines how we age. If there’s one thing that is certain in this life, it’s death. Before we get there though, we age. We go from babies, to children, to teenagers, to adults, to being middle-aged, to pensioners and hopefully after – rather than before – all those transitions, is death. No one is immune to this and time changes all of our bodies. Our skin sags as it loses elastin, our hair thins and goes grey and our nails and teeth become more brittle. As medicine advances, we are living longer and longer and while this isn’t a bad thing, we should all be learning how we can grow old with grace and be as healthy as we can for as long as we can. That’s not to say we should ever turn down a slice of double decadence chocolate cake; heck, if you’re going to be eighty you may as well enjoy it!
It’s only in the last twenty to thirty years that we have been staying healthier for longer and this is down to medical research showing us how we can take care of our bodies and preserve ourselves. We spend our adult lives exercising self-preservation in our aging and our personal lives. We use anti-wrinkle products for the wrinkles on our skin, we take finasteride tablets to ward off hair loss and promote hair regrowth and we wear sunscreen daily to prevent liver spots and wrinkles. We eat the right foods and bump our diets up with leafy green veg and fresh chicken and fish to add the right vitamins to our make-up. Healthy behaviors we ignore as teenagers we strive for as we age and this is not a bad thing in the slightest. All of these things are a prevention, but not a cure. We will still age, whether we like it or not. There is however, a difference between aging with poise than aging with our teeth falling out and skin sagging. There’s a pride we take in our exteriors as we want it to match how we feel on the inside.
Aging gracefully is a process and when I talk about aging gracefully I am referring of course, to our healthcare and how we can keep active as we move into the autumn of life, it’s nothing to do with maturity so absolutely keep being silly and having fun! Laughter keeps our souls and minds young but it won’t do much for us physically aside from muscle aches. There are some ways you can age healthily and stay in tip top shape and we’ve put those together for you here.
- Fatigue is a common outcome of elderly living. The draw of a nap is always stronger after a large lunch but fighting that fatigue should be a priority. Revitalize the body with keeping your body hydration levels up and eating prunes and dates, which are high in antioxidants, can keep you awake in the afternoons.
- Keeping your mind active and working with puzzles, games and conversation. Jigsaws and word games keep our brains active and healthy and this can actually help to stave off diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Every muscle in the body needs regular exercise and this is no different for the brain so keep those word games going, enjoy long walks and play recall games while you do it to keep your mind healthy.
- Socially, eating with someone else is fun, engaging and can help you prevent weight gain. While you are eating you are chatting and enjoying the company you are keeping which slows how much you are eating at one time. This will allow your body to properly digest your food at a good pace rather than facing you stuffing food down alone.
- Where you can, change up your routines. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially for the forgetful, but if you can change your routine and keep things fresh, you won’t be limiting your brain stimulation. Walk different routes to your usual places and try new foods. Not only will you be expanding your horizons, you’ll be able to enjoy new scenery and may discover somewhere new to go.
- Did you know that by eating fatty foods, you are at an increased risk for dementia? By increasing the levels of omega-3 in your diet, you are reducing brain inflammation which is a possible cause of Alzheimer’s. You can find omega-3’s in nuts, fish, green leafy vegetables and olive oil. So switch your cooking around, your brain needs greasing in goodness!
- Physical exercise to keep your heart healthy is a given. Keeping active through walking, dancing and swimming are all kind to your joints and your heart as well as allowing you to be social. Being social is a type of muscle as without it, you will be lonely and start to wither mentally. Your mental health needs taking care of as well as your physical health as you age.
Getting older doesn’t have to be something to fear. In fact, you may find your age gives you a whole new lease of life. With age comes retirement and with that comes freedom. The freedom to go and meet new people, go to new places and travel to areas in the world you may not have been interested in during your younger years. Age is not a dirty word, so while you may have been all about prevention in your adulthood, embrace your years now. Accept the time of your life you have got to and enjoy it as much as you can in the healthiest way possible. You’ve made it this far, why not go all the way and aim for that telegram from the Queen? That right there is a life goal you can tick off!