Posted on Mar 16, 2020, 2 p.m.
Ageing naturally involves change, in both positive and negative ways. Many people worry about growing older, as we only tend to hear and think about the negative things, such as illnesses and ailments. But, the second half of your life can be the most rewarding time of your life. You may find that you are much more confident than your younger self, you have the added benefits of wisdom and patience. Whilst your hair may be grey and your face has a few more wrinkles, it is possible to grow older in a healthy and happy way.
Making some small and simple changes to your daily life and habits can be the only thing you need to do in order to enjoy a healthy and happy ageing process. With that in mind, here are 4 steps you can take in order to ensure that your ageing journey is as happy and healthy as possible.
Eat whole foods
It sounds obvious, but eating a well-balanced diet is absolutely vital for good health, energy levels and preventing illnesses. Ideally, your diet should be low in saturated fat, with plenty of lean meats, whole grains, oily fish and fruit and vegetables.
Eating these foods is more a way of eating than a formal, strict diet and studies have shown that having a diet which consists mainly of these foods can help you to live longer and protect your body against things such as heart disease, stroke and potentially even cancer. As we age, our bodies need vitamins now more than ever, so by eating a well-balanced diet, you are ensuring that your body is getting everything that you need. If you feel like you are lacking in some vitamins, then consider taking a multivitamin or a supplement which is overall beneficial, such as high strength fish oil.
Daily exercise can help you to feel strong and healthy and will lower your risk of developing health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. If that isn’t enough, being regularly active can also boost your self-esteem, give you more energy and improve your sleep quality. It is recommended that adults get around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, but if that sounds a lot, simply start off small and work up to those amounts.
Simple things such as a brisk walk can be enough to get your heart rate up, but you might want to try out new things, such as cycling, aerobics classes or even pilates or yoga. Exercise helps to keep your brain cells healthy and keeps the blood and oxygen flowing freely through your body.
Loneliness is hugely harmful to your health, especially as we age. It has been shown that if you feel lonely, no matter if you live on your own or with someone or have plenty of friends or none, you are more likely to get depression and dementia. Older people who report feeling isolated and left out tend to have more trouble carrying out everyday tasks such as bathing and climbing stairs. Researchers have found that people who are lonely have higher levels of the stress hormone which causes inflammation or swelling, which can then be linked to diabetes and arthritis.
Spending time with other people can prevent you from feeling anxious or lonely. As you age, you may find that you are no longer able to do things that you used to be able to do, so try to develop new interests and hobbies. Be sure to keep in regular contact with friends and family, whether it be over the phone or in person.
Make the most of your doctor
As you get older, it is a good idea to get some routine tests carried out to ensure that your body is working to its maximum potential. Your doctor will likely want to carry out blood pressure and cholesterol level checks, as high readings can increase your risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but any issues which are found can be reversed with medication.
You could also consult with your doctor about the pros and cons of getting your optional seasonal flu jab, which is free once you get to 65, or if you have a health condition which puts you at higher risk of serious complications should you catch the flu.
As we age, our eyesight and hearing can be affected, so you need to get these checked regularly. Hearing loss is a common issue in older adults. You should also regularly get your eyes checked, as any changes in your vision can be corrected and picked up before they further affect your eyesight. Eye tests are free once you are over 60.
Article courtesy of Jamie Costello, blogger and health advocate.
Jamie Costello is a Healthcare Assistant based in the UK. His educational background is studying Health, Care & Wellbeing at Manchester Metropolitan University. When he's not writing he regularly participates in sport and enjoys time with his family and friends.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement