How to Live Well as You Age

When it comes to ageing, we all want to slow the process. Read on to learn about the choices you have as you get older.

Ariella Birnbaum Ariella Birnbaum
ARTICLE4 MIN READ
How to Live Well as You Age

What does it mean to live well? It’s not about maintaining the same lifestyle as you had in your 20s or even your 40s. Instead, we can say that it’s about having the physical and mental health to enjoy life well after 50. Some say people age like fine wine; the older the wine, the better, but you can’t put yourself in a dark cellar until you come of age. So, take care of yourself early on so you can live your best life well into your golden years.

Maintaining an ongoing relationship with your doctor through routine check ups can help prevent problems and catch conditions early. The doctor needs to know your medical history, so be prepared for those questions and answer them openly and honestly.

Tips for ageing well

You are never too old to start eating right, exercising, or loving yourself. It all begins with the desire to live well. Set goals, make new friends, and do other things to live the life you want to live. Read on to find out what you can do to live a happier and healthier life.

Take care of your skin

You may not realise it, but your skin is an organ. In fact, skin is the largest organ in the body. Apart from protecting you from the elements, your skin provides you with sensations like pain or pleasure - vital for keeping you safe as well as experiencing joy.. Wearing sunscreen, attending annual skin cancer screenings, staying hydrated and investing in some simple but effective skincare creams will put you in good stead.

Exercise regularly

Regular moderate exercise will help  you maintain independence. It will also considerably reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments. If that’s not reason enough, exercise is also known to reduce stress and enhance mood, sleep, skin, and bone health.

To increase oxygen and blood flow, it’s recommended that you complete a 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous aerobic exercise each week, or 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate exercise each week, or a combination of the two. This will help to keep brain cells in good condition. If that seems like a lot, then breaking it up into smaller sessions over the course of the week will make it more manageable.

In addition to cardio work, at least twice a week, it’s beneficial to complete some moderate to high power muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups. Lifting weights, even light ones, can help to maintain muscle mass and stronger bones as you get older.

Lastly, to round out the physical exercise, practising Tai Chi is recommended. This exercise includes deep breathing techniques with moderate movements. It reduces arthritis pain, strengthens muscles, promotes flexibility, improves balance, and reduces stress. Maintaining your balance as you age is crucial for preventing nasty falls and other accidents.

Mental health matters

You will live well and age well if you are content with your life. To elevate your mood and keep it that way:

  • Be proud of your age. People who keep a healthy mindset for ageing well, live longer and might even overcome a temporary disability more quickly. Ageing is a privilege so be proud of it!

  • Spend time with loved ones and friends. People who feel lonely are more prone to developing dementia or depression. It’s possible for people to experience loneliness regardless of whether they live with someone or have many friends.Seniors who feel excluded from life and lonely struggle to perform simple chores like taking a shower. Staying engaged with family, friends and the community is crucial for longevity and for remaining vibrant.  Studies show that owning a pet can also reduce stress, blood pressure, improve mood swings, and reduce loneliness.

  • Stimulate your mind. Your brain will benefit from fun activities like Sudoku, chess, crossword puzzles, and reading. To increase your brainpower, continue to learn and try new things. It might also lessen your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Regular meditation is also thought to help improve mood and memory. Seniors who feel excluded and lonely struggle to perform simple chores like taking a shower. 

  • Exercise your interests. Keep working if you want to. Working can keep your mind sharp, your social relationships intact, and it can give you a reason to get out of bed each morning. If you don’t want to work any longer, consider regular volunteering - it offers many of the same benefits, oftentimes without the pressure or stress of paid employment. Attend art galleries, complete puzzles, take painting classes or dancing lessons,, learn a new instrument. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it.

Get your rest

The older we get, the more likely we will suffer from insomnia and have trouble falling and staying asleep. Getting up and going to bed on time each day is beneficial for a peaceful sleep. Synchronise your body clock and get the rest you require.

It will help if you:

  • Sleep in a dark room. Never sleep with your television on as the bright light it emits can disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine in the evening.
  • Take power naps, usually no more than 20 minutes during the day.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor as some of your medications may be keeping you awake.

Watch your diet

You can reduce your risk for many ageing-related disorders by eating a healthy and balanced diet. Here are some tips:

  • Protein is important. Fish and beans are two good sources. Processed meats should be avoided due to the high sodium content.
  • Where possible, avoid packaged and highly processed foods that typically include a high amount of added refined sugar. Instead choose unpackaged foods like meat,fruits and vegetables, and whole-grain foods like rice, cereals, bread, or pasta.
  • Include three servings or more of low-fat or fat-free dairy products in your diet each day. Foods like milk, yoghurt, and cheese contain vitamin D.
  • Try healthy fats like avocados, flax seeds, grass-fed beef, and coconut oil.
  • Add fibre with whole grain foods, kidney beans, chickpeas, pears, and berries.
  • Pick up darkly colored fruits and vegetables (blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale), preferably fresh, but you can add frozen or canned to your list.
  • When cooking, solid fats should be avoided; instead, use oils.

Wrap Up

As individuals live well into their 70s, 80s and even 90s, it is imperative to implement good habits as you age. Taking care of your health is more than merely going to the doctor when you’re sick. Eating well, regular exercise and regular checkups with your dentist, GP and eye doctor are important. So too is maintaining a healthy mind. Keep working, take up a hobby, catch up with friends regularly. All these things combined will serve to help you age well and to enjoy the twilight years of your life.

Reducing the stress where possible will help you live a longer and healthier life. Ensuring you have a valid Will in place and a prepaying your funeral means two less things to worry about.

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