Fighting Fit: Healthy Ageing in 5 Simple Tips
Whether you plan to spend your golden years embarking on a long awaited world tour, lazing on a beach, slowing down and tending to the garden or engaging with a variety of local community groups, maintaining good physical fitness is vital to healthy ageing and your ability to continue getting the most out of life.
The good news is staying healthy in old age is quite straightforward and a matter of forming good daily habits and lifestyle choices which are focused on regular physical activity, regular social participation, good nutritional choices, mental activity and sufficient rest. Here are five basic health tips for those living approaching their older years, which are equally applicable at any stage of life:
1: Get moving!
The first and most obvious tip for healthy ageing is the same advice you probably received from your parents and sports coaches throughout your life – stand up and get moving! It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym every day for an hour or more as your younger self might have done; even a simple walk around the block or garden or some gentle stretching at the beginning and end of the day should suffice. The key is to fit in on average 30-60 minutes moderate exercise per day, which according to recently updated Australian government fitness guidelines is defined as “exercise at a level that takes some effort, but at which you are still able to talk”. Of all the healthy ageing tips we share in this article, regular physical activity is perhaps the most powerful.
2: Stay socially active
We all instinctively know how much better we feel after catching up with an old friend or spending quality time with family and loved ones. And research backs this hunch, with the effects of chronic loneliness on health similar to smoking and alcoholism according to one academic study from 2010. Therefore another key ingredient to staying healthy in old age is simply to keep socially active. Whether that be volunteering for a local community group or catching up with friends for lunch – the details doesn’t matter, just as long as you’re interacting with fellow human beings on a regular basis.
3: Eat well and exercise regularly
The most delicious word of advice we can give is simply this – eat healthy, nutritious food and eat it regularly, with the idea being to seamlessly incorporate healthy food into your daily diet rather than it being the exception. One of the most common health tips around and especially relevant to healthy ageing – it’s simply a matter of prioritising natural, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and water over salty, sugar-laden processed foods and drinks.
4: Keep your brain busy
Following the “use it or lose it” principle, our brains also require regular upkeep as much as our physical bodies. Just like regular physical exercise keeping your mind healthy is quite simple, with common activities such as completing crosswords, Sudoku puzzles or reading and writing all contributing towards the fitness of your brain. If you can manage to combine regular physical exercise with brain-stimulating mental exercise then you’re well on your way to enjoying healthy ageing!
5: Sleep on it
Our final tip for combining health and ageing is to get sufficient sleep every night of the week – with 7 to 9 hours sleep the optimum amount for the elderly and younger adults alike. The truth is most people tend to get less than this amount, but the good news is sleeping well is simply a matter of forming a daily routine, limiting noise and bright lights in your bedroom and staying away from electronic devices one hour before bed.
Japara is a leading provider of Aged Care services within Australia. For more information on Japara, our range of word-class aged care facilities and our high quality aged care services, please visit us at japara.com.au or call us today on (03) 9649 2100 for a friendly chat with one our staff.