It’s never too late and the sooner we start the better.
How well we age is of course determined by a wide range of factors from genetics to lifestyle to our general state of health, but if we have taken care of ourselves well throughout life then we are more likely to age healthily.
In our 50’s and beyond, there are many things we can do to help ourselves age healthily.
As our brain gets older, cells die and the brain shrinks, but decline in cognitive abilities can be reduced by how well we look after ourselves.
A healthy life style can influence even gene expression.
The trick is to challenge ourselves throughout life. Staying mentally active and interested in new things is key. We are never too old to learn and keeping up a momentum of stimulation and acquiring knowledge is good in preventing short-term memory loss and dementia.
Keeping active is also great for your brain as well as your body. Choose an activity you enjoy and are likely to continue through the winter and summer months, such as indoor swimming and gardening in the summer.
These activities need to be reasonably strenuous to increase your heart rate for a prolonged period of time. This could simply be going for a long walk, gardening or swimming laps of a pool. It is important as we grow older to keep the blood flowing round the body as this can prevent early signs of arthritis, limited mobility and more.
A healthy breakfast such as a high fibre breakfast cereal with fruit sets you up for the morning, making you feel energised and alert. Equally, even if you don’t feel dehydrated, drink plenty of fluid throughout the day, especially after physical activities. When you get older you can become more prone to dehydration.
Try and have at least eight hours of good sleep every night. Getting a good quality night’s sleep is vital for your body to recuperate from the day’s events and can reduce the risk of developing stress and depression. After your lunch, have a large glass of water and keep active as this will reduce your need to have an afternoon nap.
If you need a nap then do so, but bear in mind having an afternoon nap can influence your night’s sleeping pattern.
It may be that there are a lot of things playing on your mind, which is often a distraction. One major influence to one’s stress levels is the thought of ageing. It’s easy to say, but it is probably best not to dwell on this and enjoy yourself and live for the moment by taking on new experiences. If necessary do talk through any worries you may have to someone you trust can help, such as friends and family members.
It is really important to mix up your routine by exploring different activities. This will allow you to meet like-minded individuals who share similar interest and make new friends. Walking is great and does not cost any money, you get the fresh air, raise the heart rate and experience the great outdoors.
Make sure you keep adapting and changing your walking route to reduce boredom. There are walking groups you can join, dance classes, or even language lessons. All of these hobbies help brain functionality and gives you something to look forward to.
Be social. Whether it’s dining out, participating in a new hobby, attending your place of worship or volunteering for the local community, these are all great ways to get out there, stay sociable and try new things. There are many places where you can volunteer and give back to your local community.