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Ageing Gracefully and Well AGING GRACEFULLY
Feeling Confident with your Age
You could be as fit at the age of 60 as someone at the age of 30. Living a healthy lifestyle can extend to 15 years of a fantastic life. Making better health choices gives a favorable outcome in terms of getting older. How long you live and the quality of your life are to a large extent within your own control.
Staying Psychologically young. This is not about making yourself look younger, it’s based on the QUALITY of life you have. This means having a positive mental attitude, and staying cognitively and physically active.
There’s a good body of research that links positive attitude with the number of years people live. One study of 100,000 women found that women who were optimists were 30% less likely to die of heart disease than pessimists. Another study showed that optimists were less likely to become frail, in other words suffer from lower strength and endurance, balance problems, as well as vulnerability to trauma and other stresses.
Attitude is a major factor in staying young. There are young people who seem old and old people who seem young.
DON’T THINK ABOUT YOUR AGE
The key to feeling good is how you get yourself to feel, not your physical age. Feeling old is a self-proclaimed prophecy. Life experiences affect people in different ways, sometimes people become more reclusive as they age, believing their time in the outside world has come to an end. They close off, socialise less and less, and spend their days alone, within the confines of their four walls. Then there are those who embrace their freedom, taking every opportunity to get out and meet people, try new things and immerse themselves in what’s happening around them. They feel young and want to enjoy life. When people see themselves as old they are more likely to abandon physical exercise, however engaging in 150 minutes per week has many benefits for health. If one feels old, it may be tempting to take less care of the diet when in fact future health is determined by it.
WORK AS LONG AS YOU’RE ABLE
The sense of purpose that comes with working has a major effect on your outlook. Having to get up and be somewhere not only gives your day a structure but also allows you to use your talents and brain power.
The social network that comes with a place of work is invaluable for good mental health as is ongoing learning. It is proven that work, whether paid or volunteering is partly the reason that some people live to old age. If you’ve retired from your main job, there are many opportunities to do part time work with hours that suit you.
MANAGE HEALTH PROBLEMS
If you’re suffering from illness or health issues, positive thinking becomes even more important. The physical habits mentioned above should be introduced if not already, and sugar intake reduced as much as possible. One team of researchers who analysed 35 studies of populations with existing health conditions, found that those who had optimistic outlooks had significantly less risk of dying than those with pessimistic attitudes. It’s never too late to take charge, the better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll cope with health problems.
Goals are important for everyone, particularly those who are retired. Whether personal, physical, emotional or spiritual, having a list of things to accomplish gives great satisfaction. Enjoying experiences and opening your mind to new things is imperative for keeping motivation high and feeling fulfilled. Goals help you develop and grow at any age, especially those that are outside of yourself and involve other people. When your focus is only on your own pleasure or pain you’re much more likely to have difficulty with the aging process.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
Research done over 18 years concluded that the perception of aging has more impact on survival than blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It showed that those who had a positive outlook and believed they were fit and able were able to work full time, do housework, and socialise the same way as young people do. They didn’t give much attention to their chronological years and as a result lived 7.5 years longer than those who had negative ideas about getting older. Take the number away and tell yourself just how able you are, if you buy into the stereotypical ideas then you’re fast forwarding your life with no basis for it.
Author: Claire Jackson
Editor: Nancy Andwati