HomeLifeSeven habits to start today for healthy ageing

Seven habits to start today for healthy ageing

Getting older is a process. It can bring up a lot of emotions when you think about ageing and what can come along with it. But ageing doesn’t have to mean decline, after all, they’re called the “golden years” for a reason.

Your fifties and beyond can be some of the best years of your life. These are the years to enjoy the relaxation, exploration and freedom that comes with retirement.

To set yourself up to enjoy these years as much as possible, follow these seven habits of people who age well.

What does it mean to age well?

Ageing well means different things to different people. For some, it may mean staying active and independent. For others, it may mean being surrounded by loved ones. There is no single definition of ageing well, but there are some common themes. Typically, ageing well means more than just living longer; most people want to maintain a good quality of life as they age.

They maintain a positive outlook on ageing

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, seniors who think of age as a means to wisdom and overall satisfaction are more than 40 per cent more likely to recover from a disability than those who see ageing as synonymous with helplessness or uselessness.

So when it comes to ageing, you are what you think. Perspective and mindset can play a huge role in how physically and emotionally resilient you can continue to be as you age.

Read: How to embrace ageing positively

They follow a Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet has been shown to be one of the best diets for ageing well. This diet is rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients, all of which are essential for maintaining a healthy body as you age. It’s holistic, nutrient-rich diet full of plant-based foods, wholegrains, nuts, seafood, and healthy fats – and even lets you enjoy red wine (in moderation). It also helps you to cut back on excess salt.

According to Harvard Medical School, this type of diet may help you age better by warding off heart attacks, strokes, and premature death.

This diet has also been shown to help reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Food filled with sugar, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats can speed up the ageing process, make you feel slow and sluggish and increases your risk of gaining weight.

They stay active

Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to slow the ageing process. It can help to improve brain function, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve overall physical strength and balance. Regular exercise can also help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality and help with balance and movement.

Remember, your workout goals don’t have to be overly ambitious as you age. Focus on gentle movements that help you stay fit and flexible such as yoga and tai chi. Incorporating enjoyable exercise into your daily life will help you stay active, independent and maintain your quality of life.

Read: New study links exercise with better cognition

They stay socially connected

Positive social relationships have a huge impact on physical health.

Studies show that those with stronger personal relationships live longer, and those with poor relationships suffer from chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diminished immune response, depression, sleep problems, and dementia.

Plus, spending time with people you like is fun and enjoyable.

They take care of their skin

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s one of the first places that signs of ageing will show up. Wearing sunscreen should be a priority at any age as sunburnt skin not only ages quicker, but rates of skin cancer increase in later life. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your skin hydrated, too.

They prioritise their sleep

Getting a proper amount of sleep can be the best protection against some of the most common diseases that come with age.

A good night of rest not only reduces our chances of heart disease, stroke and obesity, but it also can reduce inflammation and improve our brain’s ability to concentrate and focus.

Chronically not sleeping enough is linked to a higher risk of conditions such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, depression, and diabetes.

And it turns out that ‘beauty sleep’ isn’t a myth. During sleep, your body releases a growth hormone that helps restore collagen and elastin, the essential building blocks of young, healthy skin.

Read: Nine simple tips for when you can’t sleep

They challenge themselves, and their brains

Doing the same things over and over again every day can really bore your brain. Varying even the smallest of daily duties, such as taking a different route to work or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand can help challenge your brain, and that may help ward off dementia.

You can help keep your mind sharp by challenging your brain with activities that are mentally stimulating. This can include anything from puzzles and brain games to learning a new language or taking up a new hobby.

The seemingly small choices you make each day have a profound and lasting impact. You control what you eat, your sleep habits, how much you exercise and what you spend time doing. The decisions you make and the habits you form today may make a difference in the near and distant future.

What lifestyle habits have you implemented to age well? Do you have any other tips to share? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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