Healthy ageing is impacted by many variables. Some of these are beyond our control, like DNA. Others, like physical activity, a balanced diet, routine doctor visits, and attention to our mental health, are within our reach. You can take steps to manage your health, live as independently as possible, and preserve your quality of life as you age.
Continue reading to find out more about what studies have to say and the actions you can take to encourage healthy ageing
Taking good care of your body
Maintaining physical fitness entails being physically active, eating well, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and taking charge of your health care.
Physical exercise and activity
Healthy ageing is built on physical activity. According to scientific research, people who regularly exercise not only live longer, but also may live better, meaning they experience more years of pain- and disability-free life.
Make wise food decisions
The Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet high in whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.
A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, but low in dairy and high in fish, may improve one’s health.
Additionally demonstrated to have significant health advantages is a low-salt diet.
Having a restful night’s sleep
You can maintain your health and alertness by getting enough sleep. Memory and mood are affected by the quality of sleep.
Your health will improve if you stop smoking. Reduce your risk of lung disease, cancer, heart attack, and stroke, Enhance blood circulation, Enhance your ability to taste and smell and Boost your capacity for exercise.
Alcohol and other drugs
Age-related social and physical changes can increase an individual’s susceptibility to alcohol misuse and abuse, so older adults should avoid or limit their alcohol consumption. Every organ in the body, including the brain, is impacted by alcoholism or heavy drinking.
Visit the doctor frequently
Healthy ageing depends on routine doctor visits for health screenings.
Regarding your mental health
How we think, feel, act, make decisions, and interact with others is influenced by our mental health. Healthy ageing depends on controlling social isolation, loneliness, stress, depression, and mood through medical treatment and self-care.
Maintaining social connections can be challenging as people age due to changes like hearing and vision loss, memory loss, disability, trouble getting around, and the loss of family and friends.
Social isolation, on the other hand, refers to a lack of social contacts and having few people to regularly interact with. Loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated.
There are many different ways that stress can manifest itself in life. Stress can occasionally be a result of trying circumstances or events.
Depression and general attitude
Depression can be challenging to identify. Some elderly people with depression may experience numbness or lack of interest in activities, and they may not be as willing to discuss their feelings. Alterations in mood can also affect ageing.
Recreational pursuits and interests
Your favourite activities may benefit your health in addition to being enjoyable.
Maintaining your cognitive health
As we get older, our cognition—our capacity for clear thinking, learning, and memory—often changes.
What studies say
- In a study of adults aged 40 and older, walking 8,000 steps or more per day was linked to a 51% lower risk of death from all causes than walking only 4,000 steps.
- Researchers found that, regardless of age, moderate to vigorous physical activity is strongly associated with muscle function in a 2019 analysis of data from the NIA’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
- Exercise can help you live longer and better even if you are not losing weight, according to research.
- People who closely follow the above mentioned dietary pattern have a significantly lower risk of sudden cardiac death, according to a 2021 study that examined the eating habits of more than 21,000 participants.
- The low-sodium diet has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- A diet with less vegetable oil and more fatty fish can lessen migraine headaches, according to a study involving 182 older adults who suffered from frequent migraines.
- Consumption of green leafy vegetables was found to be significantly associated with slower cognitive decline in a study that followed almost 1,000 older adults over the course of five years.
- In a study of adults over 65, researchers discovered that those with poor sleep quality had trouble focusing and solving problems.
- According to a study that examined information from almost 8,000 people, people in their 50s and 60s who slept six hours or less per night had a higher risk of developing dementia in later life.
- According to a 2021 study, older adults who napped frequently and didn’t get enough sleep were more likely to pass away within the next five years.
- According to one study, smokers were three times more likely to pass away within a six-year follow-up period than non-smokers among men and women aged 55 to 74 and 60 to 74, respectively.
- Between the ages of 55 and 64, adults who gave up smoking lived about four more years.
- Additionally, there is proof that both men and women who abuse alcohol exhibit signs of early ageing in specific brain regions, according to researchers.
- According to a 2016 study, older adults who drink heavily for extended periods of time may put their hearts at risk.
- Regular checkups help doctors detect chronic diseases early and can assist patients in lowering disease risk factors, according to a 2021 study.
- Recent research indicates that loneliness, social isolation, and cognitive decline are all associated with an increased risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia in older adults.
- According to a recent study, older people who lack social support are more likely to suffer from chronic lung diseases and depressive symptoms.
- Loneliness was linked to a higher risk of heart disease, according to a 2021 study of more than 11,000 adults over the age of 70.
- According to a study published in 2019, older adults who maintained regular contact with friends and family engaged in more physical activity than those who did not.
- Making new social contacts was linked to better self-reported physical and psychological well-being, according to a study of over 3,000 older adults.
- According to research, persistent stress can alter the brain, harm memory, and raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
- A recent investigation looked at the alterations in cortisol levels over time.
- After reaching middle age, cortisol levels in the body rise steadily, according to research, and this age-related rise in stress may be responsible for changes in the brain.
- The National Institute of Mental Health-funded meta-analysis lends credence to the idea that anxiety and stress alter brain structure in ways that may affect memory, Judgement, and mood.
- According to statistics, individuals who were emotionally stable lived three years longer on average than those who tended to be in a negative or anxious emotional state.
- Numerous studies from all over the world have shown that depression raises the risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders, according to a review article supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Recurrent depression has also been linked to dementia, according to research.
- Researchers discovered a connection between the frequency of depressive episodes and an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease in a study involving more than 1,000 older adults.
- A 2020 longitudinal study found a connection between better cognitive control and a happier mood.
- According to research, your outlook on aging—whether it’s negative or positive—might have an effect on your health as you age. Positive attitudes towards ageing may reduce the likelihood of dementia and obesity.
- According to research, people who engage in hobbies, social activities, and other leisure-time pursuits may have a lower risk of developing certain health issues.
- A study found that older adults who read or engaged in other hobbies for at least an hour per day had a lower risk of dementia than those who did so for no more than 30 minutes per day.
- In terms of enhancing older adults’ quality of life and wellbeing, research on music, theatre, dance, creative writing, and other participatory arts shows promise, with benefits ranging from improved cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to decreased stress and increased social interaction.
- A 2020 study found that having a pet (or having frequent contact with pets) was linked to improved cognitive and, in some cases, physical function.
- According to research, eating well, exercising regularly, and picking up new skills can all support cognitive health in older adults.
- A study of adults aged 60 and older revealed that sustained participation in novel, cognitively taxing activities improved memory function.
- The two new skills acquired in this study were learning how to quilt and using computer software to edit photos. Learning a new game, instrument, craft, or other skill can be entertaining and may also help prevent memory loss as you get older.
What steps will ensure that you age healthy?
- Try engaging in brief bouts of physical activity throughout the day or designating specific times each week to work out.
- Exercises like brisk walking or yoga are inexpensive or free, and you can start with them right away.
- Maintaining a regular sleep routine. Try to maintain a consistent bedtime and wakeup time each day. Sleeping better can be aided by exercise.
- A minimum of once a year, and possibly more depending on your health, should be spent at the doctor.
- Regular examinations can detect illnesses and conditions like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease that you may not be aware of.
You may be able to begin treatment months or years earlier than you otherwise would have been able to with the help of routine checkups.
- Maintaining relationships with others may elevate your mood and enhance your general wellbeing.
- Keep in touch with loved ones and friends by phone or in person.
- It can be beneficial to schedule daily time to connect with others.
- By enrolling in a class to learn something new or improve a skill you already have, you can meet new people.
- Techniques for meditation, exercise, and engaging in activities you enjoy can all help you manage stress.
- You may be able to recognize and combat unfavorable thoughts by journaling.
- Make an appointment to see your doctor or other healthcare provider as soon as possible if you believe you or a loved one may be depressed.
- Look for chances to get involved in activities. In order to become more involved in your community, think about volunteering at a school, library, or hospital.
- Following factors improve mental health
150 minutes or more per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise
Not a smoker
Avoiding heavy drinking
A premium diet in the Mediterranean style
Reading, writing letters, and playing video games are some examples of mentally stimulating activities.
Healthy ageing depends on maintaining good physical, mental, and cognitive health. Generally speaking, you can support your physical health by remaining active, eating well, getting enough sleep, and visiting the doctor frequently. Engage in social interaction with family and friends, make an effort to maintain a positive attitude, and engage in enjoyable activities to look after your mental health.
“Ageing is just another word for living.” – Cindy Joseph