Over recent years, improved healthcare and more educational awareness has meant that our population is ageing. More people are taking better care of themselves, which means they are able to enjoy a more active and fulfilled life well beyond retirement age.
Maintaining and improving health depends a lot on the choices people make as they get older. By adopting healthy habits and sticking to them, many people are able to still lead reasonably active, independent lives well into their 70s and even beyond.
Eating healthily is probably one of the most important factors in maintaining our health into old age. A balanced diet consisting of fruit, vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates is recommended and, if you are carrying extra weight, now’s the time to finally shed the extra pounds as older people, in particular, become much more susceptible to physical ailments if they are overweight.
Exercise, even if that just means an hour’s brisk walking a day, can also improve the quality of your life for years to come. For those who feel the need to work out, a well defined fitness program concentrating on rebuilding muscle mass can also make bones stronger. Whilst stronger bones reduce the risk of osteoporosis for all ageing people, post-menopausal women are particularly at risk from this condition.
Changing bad habits is never too late. Even if you’ve been a smoker for most of your adult life, if you quit, you significantly reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease within a year of quitting cigarettes.
Sharpening the Mind
Many of us tend to associate old age with a decline in our mental faculties and, whilst we are more at risk of suffering with mental conditions the older we get, it is still possible to stave off these kinds of effects if we keep our brains stimulated.
Many older people in retirement these days don’t necessarily see it as a time to start slowing down and relaxing but as an opportunity to learn new things. It could be attending night school classes, to learn more about a particular hobby or interest and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of elderly people feeling comfortable in using the Internet to learn even more things and to stimulate their minds.
People with hobbies and interests tend to suffer with less stress, a benefit which is also positive for those who are getting older and is of even greater benefit to your well-being in old age, as this is when people actively get involved within their own social community and expand their social network. Elderly people who tend to lock themselves within their own homes tend to suffer far more with both physical and emotional ailments.
People who tend to age better are those who see the entire ageing process as an opportunity for further growth and not as any kind of barrier to themselves enjoying life. Those who take the rough with the smooth and remain flexible and accept that life is full of constant changes which they’re happy to embrace, seem to fare far better than those who become resigned to getting older and feel that the clock is ticking away.
By remaining optimistic about the future and looking after yourself both physically and emotionally, there is no reason why most people shouldn’t be almost as active in their 70s and beyond as they were in their 20s, given a good diet, some exercise and a sense of moderation.