How Do We Stay Healthy With Age?

Wednesday, 15. February 2017

How Do We Stay Healthy With Age?

The world's population is aging, which is why this topic is important. How do you stay fit and healthy as you age?

Imagine two men. Both are the same age and have been retired for several years. One sits around at home watching TV and likes to drink. The other is active, social, and pays attention to his diet, even if he does indulge once in a while.

Needless to say, one of these men will live longer and have a better quality of life.

Unfortunately we often forget that age is a process. We are going to age, but we can still do so healthily.

Influenceable and unchanging factors

Our health at any age depends on a few factors:

  • social conditions
  • diet, exercise, and alcohol and nicotine consumption
  • genetic factors

We cannot influence genetics and social factors are often difficult to change. We do have absolute control over our diets. Even if it's hard, making a conscious decision to change our habits is important.

Small but regular changes add up! The great advantage of small changes is that they are much easier to implement than drastic lifestyle changes.

Here are a few factors you can easily change:

Sleep

Sleep is essential for a healthy life. Mental and physical performance decreases rapidly with lack of sleep. Good sleep becomes increasingly important because deep sleep phases are reduced as we age. So make sure that you not only get sufficient sleep, but get high-quality sleep.

Nutrition

No matter what age, diet is very important. A good diet should be balanced and varied.

The older we get, the less energy we need. Our muscle mass decreases as our fat mass increases due to changes in digestion.

Being a healthy weight is also important. Being overweight is never good, but the elderly often suffer from underweight. Both have a negative impact on health and performance.

It is important to keep a balanced diet, where the body receives enough vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and proteins. Proteins are important because too little protein leads to muscle breakdown, which quickly leads to frailty and immobility.

Move

The main reason for the reduction in physical fitness is not increasing age, but lack of exercise. We are meant to move. If we don't, we age faster.

Physical activity and mobility are key.  At best, exercising 5-7 times a week for at least 30 minutes with both endurance and strength training is important. Make sure you vary your workouts.

Regular exercise maintains performance until well into old age, maintaining muscle mass, strengthening the immune system, reducing stress and the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

This is the key package to staying fit as you age.

Mental health

Regular mental activity has a positive effect on your happiness and well-being. In addition, mental activity reduces the risk of dementia.

Our brain is designed to learn new things throughout life. Even in old age, you can still learn new skills.

The best way to train your brain is with the following activities:

  • Brainteasers
  • Learning an instrument
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Reading

In addition, the following factors have a positive effect on mental health:

  • Regular social interaction
  • The willingness to make new experiences and to learn new things
  • A positive attitude toward aging
  • Meaningful work
  • Coping skills

Relaxation

Caution: This point is very important. Too much pressure and stress weaken the immune system and promote mental health. The balance between tension and relaxation is extremely important.