We are all getting older. That is alas, how it is supposed to go. The grand scheme of things if you will. But it doesn’t mean we have to withdraw and start collecting cats, or take up knitting and spend hours getting all those Christmas sweaters up to par. Really. That’s not how I see it at all happening, and you shouldn’t either. So do we have to stop doing what we love when we are over 60, 70 or 80? Absolutely no.
Youthfulness is zest for life, its energy, its drive and it is health. It is passion and a little bit naughty perhaps too at times. It is all in there, we don’t run out of it, it can get a bit buried under responsibilities and such, but dig it out because it is the key to ageing well. Here are some tips to help find that youthfulness and keep it into the golden years.
1 – Keep moving
Perhaps more than ever before your body needs you to keep moving, everyday! It is never too late to start exercising and what is best for you might be a bit of a surprise (and I will talk more about this in another blog). Resistance training in particular is a fantastic exercise for our older population. It increases muscle strength and mass, increases bone density, increases core strength which in turn increases balance. It reduces conditions such as sarcopenia and supports the aging body in ways that reduce frailty and injury from falls for example. Moderate activity everyday is recommended, incorporating activities that enhance flexibility, strength, fitness, endurance and balance are fantastic for keeping youthful and active. So walk, take up yoga, lift, swim, mix it up. Just remember, a beginner is a beginner at any age and always ask for advice from an experienced trainer or health professional to get you on the right path. Start gently and you will quickly impress yourself.
2 – Eat well.
As we age our needs do vary (and again more will come in this area too). We generally don’t use the energy we did in our youth, unless you are still training regularly (and if you are I am sending you a big thumbs up. Well done). Still, our bodies change, some things are needed less, some might be needed more. Did you know that being a bit (just a bit) heavier as we age is a good thing. That extra padding, if you like, is far healthier than being slim when, if illness or injury occurs there is not much back up around the poor skeleton. So just briefly, maintain adequate protein intake, carbohydrates and fibre in the form of whole-grains, fruit and veg, and moderate amounts of fats. Keep up calcium intake and don’t forget vitamin D, if you can’t get out in the sun, take a supplement. Stay hydrated. Make nutrient-dense choices.
3 – Socialise
Make time often with friends and family. If you are finding yourself a little isolated put yourself out there, join an interest group for example. I know there are photography groups, walking groups, yoga and pilates for example, all right here in the Riverland. It may seem a bit scary initially but I promise, you will be glad you did. It is fantastic for your mental health, it reduces stress and forms bonds. No man is an island, so the saying goes. (If you run a local group please let me know, I’d love to have a list). Eat together, play together and laugh together.
4 – Keep life interesting
Stimulate your mind. Find something interesting? learn it, try it, travel to it, watch it, join it. What ever IT is, follow your passion. All that time you wish you had when you were working and raising kids, you now have. Off you go… that is what retirement is for. Enjoy life!
5 – Take your health seriously
Don’t assume that, that ache or pain is just ageing. Find out, ask questions, have your check ups and look after yourself. It is so much easier to enjoy life when you aren’t worrying about extra pains and problems. Some things are unavoidable so get the best advice and treat your body like a temple. Even if you haven’t been it can’t hurt to start now. Feed it well and exercise it. Diet plays a crucial role in many avoidable diseases and can help with many that are not. Arthritis, inflammation, Alzheimer, diabetes and heart disease for example – the key is to support your health with diet and give it the best chance at wellness.
If you would like more information on this topic or anything at all related or otherwise let me know and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
Yours, always with much gratitude,