We all age; it is a natural part of life’s journey. Taking a positive approach to ageing physically and mentally can significantly improve how we feel and look.
In the UK, we have an increasingly ageing population and embracing healthy living has never been so important. There are many steps we can take to having a healthier old age: here are seven steps to get you up and, if not running, then moving at least!
- A Healthy, Balanced Diet
A daily diet which is rich in nutrients is key to healthy ageing. Often referred to as the Mediterranean Diet, it is renowned for the protection and support it gives to our heart and cardiovascular system. The essentials are:
- a variety of fruits & vegetables (try to ‘eat a rainbow’)
- whole grains
- lean proteins
- healthy fats
A healthy diet also means keeping a good level of hydration by drinking water regularly throughout each day. Good hydration means your skin will maintain its elasticity and your digestive system will work well.
It’s widely known that good levels of calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong, healthy bones. Collagen is also vital for our bones but as we age, we produce less of this vital nutrient. The good news is that high-quality specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides® – as found in bonebalance™ – are clinically proven to help form bone matrix – the tissue that gives bones tensile strength and flexibility. Readily and highly absorbed into bone tissue they:
- Stimulate collagen metabolism in the bones
- Stimulate the bone building cells – known as osteoblasts
- Reduce bone breakdown cells – known as osteoclasts
- Improve the bone matrix and bone mineral density
- Take Regular Exercise
Regular physical activity is vital for maintaining strong muscles, joints and bones in our body. Walking, swimming and yoga are low impact exercises which help us retain and enhance our flexibility. By adding intensity to our exercise programme we boost our metabolism and keep our heart healthy. Meanwhile, strength training can help maintain muscle definition.
If you are not a regular exerciser, it is important that you consult with your GP before embarking upon a new programme.
- Look after your Mental Health
Mental wellbeing is important for healthy ageing. Incorporating mindfulness practices, such as deep breathing and meditation, will help. In addition, engaging in cognitive activities, such as puzzles, reading or learning new skills, helps to keep our mind sharp.
- Sleep Well
It can often be overlooked, but if we ignore the importance of good sleep we do so at our peril. We should aim for between 7-9 hours of good sleep each night in order to support our mental, physical and emotional health. It is recommended to establish a bedtime routine which helps us to relax. Don’t look at TV/Computer/Phone screens in bed or for an hour before you want to fall asleep as these will activate your mind and leave relaxation difficult to achieve. You should also try to establish a regular time when you get out of bed in the morning.
- Manage your Weight
Linked to all the above points is our bodyweight. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall wellbeing and our ability to enter old age in a healthy and happy manner. Points 1-4 will help achieve a healthy weight, but for some people it isn’t as straightforward. If you think you need help in achieving a healthy weight, see your GP to get expert guidance on creating a sustainable weight management plan.
- Stay Connected: Keep your Social Bonds
It is very important that we maintain connections with friends and social groups as by so doing we will combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Don’t be afraid to join new groups and clubs, attend events or volunteer to help in activities within your community.
Don’t overlook the positive power of technology: it can be used so well to bridge gaps by keeping us connected with loved ones, especially if they are far away.
- Be Positive and Stay Young
Having a positive mindset is very beneficial and particularly helpful to help us embrace healthy ageing. A good trick is to spend time with people who are also positive, those who inspire and uplift you. Together, try new activities and explore different things. This will help to keep you ‘young at heart’!
Remember, growing older is part of life’s journey. Embrace that journey with happiness and enthusiasm. The steps above will help you to move along your pathway in a healthy way, allowing you to lead a vibrant and fulfilling later life.