Growing old is all about experiencing changes, either mentally, physically, or socially. Most people have a hard time coping with the challenges that come along with ageing. Do you also feel anxious about growing old? Being anxious or scared won’t bring you any good. Instead, you should learn how to deal with these changes.
Need help with how you can improve your quality of life in later years? Continue reading to find out how you can age gracefully.
What is meant by healthy ageing?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging is “the process of developing and maintaining a functional ability that enables well-being in older age.” Most people believe that healthy ageing means the absence of disease. However, it’s all about maximizing your ability to do things you love as you get older.
Understanding the concept of healthy ageing
Healthy ageing focuses on promoting health span, not just life span. It is influenced by many factors such as physical and mental abilities, environment, genes, and society. The concept of healthy ageing focuses on maintaining physical health, and quality of life in the elderly. You can promote healthy ageing by adopting healthy behaviors such as physical activity, good nutrition, and social engagement early in life.
Why is healthy ageing important
People around the globe are living longer, but their ability to enjoy health and well-being is compromised, especially in low and middle-income countries. Healthy ageing keeps you active in the older years of life. It aims to maintain independence, improve your quality of life, and keep you healthier as you reach your golden years.
Tips to age well
Ageing is an overwhelming experience for most people, leading to stress and anxiety. As we grow older, our mental and physical abilities are compromised, significantly increasing disease risk. Are you also coping with ageing and thinking about how to deal with getting older? Stop stressing and follow these tips for ageing gracefully.
- Learn to cope with the change
- Find meaning and joy in the things around you
- Stay connected with your friends and family
- Engage in a variety of exercises
- Stretch more, do yoga, stretching foam rolling, make it a habit
- Lift weights, the muscle will keep you young
- Vary your habits
- Work on your diet
- Intermittent fast – this aids autophagy (removal of dead cells to make space for renewal)
How to slow down the ageing process?
Ageing can be horrifying as many changes are happening within your body and around you. Unfortunately, you can do nothing to stop the ageing process, but you can slow down the process. Are you wondering what slows down ageing? Here’s how you can combat ageing:
Healthy dietary patterns
Developing smarter eating habits is the key to promoting healthy ageing and protecting yourself from health-related problems. Your goal should be to ensure that your body gets all the essential nutrients. For this purpose, you should start consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, dairy products, fish, and poultry.
The Mediterranean diet is recognized as a “healthy food” dietary pattern and is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases and other physical impairments. Similarly, Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is also known for its health benefits, especially in patients with having increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The MIND diet (A combination of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet) is another effective dietary pattern supporting healthy ageing. Elders who follow this eating pattern show better recognition than other eating habits.
Intermittent fasting for seniors is also becoming a popular health trend as it significantly affects the body. This dietary regimen cycles between periods of eating and fasting. It helps with weight loss, boosts brain power and cognitive function, improves blood sugar levels, prevents heart diseases, and reduces inflammation. A study showed that elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment who followed intermittent fasting had better cognitive function.
Healthy dietary patterns in the years leading to old age prevent diseases and impairments associated with ageing. So, if you are concerned about your well-being as an older adult, you should start making better food choices from today.
Regarding healthy ageing, exercise or physical activity is a crucial factor as it helps improve the quality of life, health, and physical functions in older people despite chronic health conditions. As people age, muscle function continues to decline, due to which older adults lose independence in everyday activities. However, even a moderate amount of daily exercise helps older adults gain muscle strength and function.
According to research, daily physical activity is associated with better mental health and emotional and psychological well-being. It maintains body weight, strengthens muscles and bones, lowers blood pressure, and eliminates disease risk.
Weightlifting is another great strategy to slow down the process of ageing. By adopting a dedicated and disciplined weightlifting routine, you can improve the quality of your life, build muscle strength, maintain muscle mass, and prevent yourself from degenerative diseases. So, engage yourself in strength training exercises at least 2 to 3 times a week.
Don’t know where to get started? Be a part of activities such as brisk walking, yoga, jogging, and cycling, as they will make a huge difference in keeping you more active and energized. You can either do such activities alone or ask your friends to be a part of it.
PEMF, Energy medicine the 5th element to healthy ageing
Just like oxygen and water, Earth’s magnetic field and corresponding PEMFs (pulsed electromagnetic fields) are also vital for a healthy life. But most of us don’t even understand its importance.
Earth’s PEMFs comprises two main components, i.e., the Schumann and Geomagnetic frequencies. These frequencies are known for their positive impacts on the human body, such as energy production, eliminating body pain, and maintaining cardiac rhythms.
Today we are facing a shortage of these frequencies on planet earth, and to overcome this problem, scientists have come up with PEMF therapy. It involves using technology to restore cellular function and improve overall wellness. Its benefits include:
- Relief pain and reduce inflammation naturally
- Improve sleep quality
- Boost energy levels and vitality
- Makes you stronger, younger, and flexible
- Strengthen bones
- Improves healing and regeneration
- Improve circulation and heart health
Getting enough sleep
Sleep is another lifestyle factor that directly impacts healthy ageing. Quality sleep helps you stay healthy, improves your memory, boosts your mood, and keeps you alert.
Sleep and cognitive functioning continue to decline in older adults, which makes them irritable and forgetful. A study showed that the lack of quality sleep is directly associated with depression in the elderly.
Although treatment options are limited for sleep disturbances, Mindfulness meditation has found clinical importance in promoting sleep quality among older adults in the short term.
Sleep is traditionally categorized into 4 stages:
- Awake – Non-REM: This stage lasts for a few minutes and shows few changes in brain activity
- Light sleep – Non-Rem: This stage lasts 10 to 60 minutes. The body enters a more relaxed state in which respiration slows, heart rate decreases, and body temperature drops.
- Deep sleep – Non-REM: This stage lasts 20 to 40 minutes. Muscle tone, breathing rate, heart rate, and body activity reduce.
- REM (rapid eye movement) sleep: Lasts for 10-60 minutes: heart rate, respiration, and brain activity increase.
Each sleep stage directly influences your mental and physical health. For instance, NREM decreases the level of cortical arousal, which enhances creativity and memory. Similarly, REM Is associated with better cognitive functions.
Try to get enough sleep so that you wake up feeling fresh and energetic. It will keep you more focused and allow you to engage efficiently in daily activities.
Develop positive attitude
As you grow older, you are more likely to develop insecurity, fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. The best way to overcome such feelings is by developing a positive attitude towards everything. Remember that a small change will go a long way and support healthy ageing.
Surround yourself with positive people or groups where you find yourself laughing regularly. Include a few that you can safely confide in, a burden shared is a burden halved. Let go of grudges and try to see the funny side in life’s ups and downs.
Make time to relax, take care of your mental health, and don’t let the feelings of despair control you.
Visit your doctor regularly
Periodic health evaluations, routine checkups, and follow-ups are essential for healthy ageing. Regular checkups prevent chronic diseases, provide better treatment, control risk factors, and improve patient-reported outcomes.
More importantly, be your own Doctor, take ownership of your own health, set yourself health goals, before someone else does.
Quitting smoking will positively impact your health, no matter which age group you belong to. Smoking cessation in older adults is linked to reduced risk of death, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, and better tolerance for exercise.
What is the positive ageing strategy?
The positive ageing strategy aims to build communities to promote positive ageing for older adults, where the elderly are valued, encouraged, and recognized for their contributions. Positive ageing is defined as developing a positive mindset, satisfaction, and happiness as you grow old. This mindset helps overcome the opposing challenges of ageing, making your life experiences easier, enjoyable and memorable.
What factors contribute to positive ageing?
The following attributes will help you in keeping a positive attitude about life throughout your older age:
- Positive thinking
- Sense of humor
- Adapting and embracing change
- Maintaining social relationships
- Learning to live with limitations
Ageing is the reality of our lives, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, but we can change our attitude towards it. Remember that aging doesn’t always have to be about negative emotions and feeling lonely. By incorporating healthy lifestyle choices and developing a positive attitude, we can not only improve the quality of our life but also slow down the process of ageing. It’s never too late to start your journey towards a better, longer, and healthy life. Cheers to growing old!