Written & provided by: Registered Dietitians Team by ShoppersTM I’ll be the first to admit that keeping up with food trends and knowing what...Continue reading
The topic of aging is rife with misconceptions, with many people believing that memory problems, ill health, and chronic pain are part and parcel of growing older. But research shows that we’re more in control of how we age than we think.
A 2014 study by the American Psychological Association showed that genetics only accounted for 30% of age-related memory changes, with the rest due to environmental and lifestyle factors. Other conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers can also be lifestyle related. This goes to show that there’s a lot we can do to help ourselves age better.
Read on for five tips to help you age with strength, confidence, and independence.
1. Stay (or get) physically active
Study after study has demonstrated that exercise is key to staying healthier for longer and aging well. It has myriad health benefits, such as helping to sharpen your memory, boost your immune system, increase your energy, maintain strength and mobility, improve sleep, boost mental health, and diminish chronic pain. And that’s not all, physical activity may help delay or improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, as well as making you less likely to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. And it’s not just those who’ve exercised all their lives that get to enjoy the benefits – even those who start later can reap the rewards of being more active.
If you’d like to incorporate more exercise into your routine, aim for 150 minutes per week or 20 minutes per day, with a mix of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity, as well as muscle and bone strengthening activities. Moderate aerobic activity includes walking quickly or bike riding, while vigorous activity could include jogging or cross-country skiing. Meanwhile, strength activities include climbing stairs, lifting weights, push-ups, and yoga.
2. Stay connected to your community
Loneliness is an increasing issue among Canadians of all ages and can be a risk factor for other conditions including depression, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Maintaining social connections as you get older is therefore key in order to age well.
Make sure you speak regularly on the phone and meet up with friends and family members. And don’t rule out making new friends by joining a local group or volunteering in your community. Check out our post on 5 ways to stay more connected with the people you love for more great ideas!
If reduced mobility is stopping you from leaving the house to socialize, we have a range of mobility aids that can help, including canes, rollators & walkers, scooters, and more.
3. Try new things
As we get older, life changes – we retire, our children leave home, those close to us may pass away – and things that used to bring us purpose and joy may no longer be there. That’s why it’s important to adapt to these changes and find new things that bring meaning and joy to your life. This could include volunteering in your local community, starting a new hobby, or travelling. Later life can be a time of exciting new adventure if you let it!
4. Stay mentally active
Staying mentally active can help prevent cognitive decline and memory problems and help you to age well. Challenging your brain with activities like puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, and chess are common ways of staying mentally sharp. But even things as simple as cooking a new recipe or changing your daily routine by taking a different route to the store can help train your brain.
5. Eat well
Eating a varied and balanced diet is important throughout life, but as we age it becomes even more important. Avoiding sugary foods and refined carbs and loading up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts can help boost energy levels as well as protecting against conditions such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
The information presented in this blog post is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this post as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for professional counseling care. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.