It’s official: We are all living longer.
Recent findings from the World Health Organisation suggest that the proportion of the world’s elderly population (those 60 and over) will almost double from around 12% to 22%. Whilst this is certainly good news, the upcoming demographic shift is one that will certainly be made more difficult for us if those elderly people are struggling with health issues. Countries like Japan have already experienced an ageing population (30% of the country is over the age of 60), but now more countries from middle and low incomes are coming to terms with an increasing number of elderly people in their ranks.
Whether you’re a middle-aged person who is wondering how their elderly life might pan out, or if you’re already in your twilight years and are looking to improve your lifestyle, these tips should point you in the right direction:
Get active and stay active
Regardless of your age, it’s vitally important to be physically active. Daily physical activity, whether it’s taking a walk, attending an aerobics class or taking a dip in your pool, is absolutely crucial to improving your chances of a happy life in your golden year. Each of us have a different Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories required to keep your body functioning whilst you’re resting) which means that we each need to stay active to varying degrees in order to maintain our weight. By exercising regularly you can keep on top of weight gain and keep your muscles healthy through to old age.
You are what you eat!
Whilst we’re on the subject of BMR, what you eat throughout your life has a huge impact on your health as an older person. Having a varied, healthy diet is a cornerstone of good overall health and something that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re hoping to remain physically and mentally healthy into your later years. We all have our own tastes, but you may have to eat foods that you don’t like in order to keep a healthy balance of nutrients in your body. The NHS has a good guide on how to build a healthy diet, but be prepared to make significant changes to your diet in order to change for the better.
Talking to new people, meeting up with old friends and seeing your family are all great ways of keeping yourself social throughout your life, but its especially important when you get to later life. As we get older, we get tired more easily and we’re more liable to stay in our homes instead of venturing outside, this can be especially relevant during winter. Keeping socially active keeps self-esteem at a healthy level and also makes us more mentally alert in our later years. Engage in local community schemes, or see what’s on at your local library or community hall to find an activity that will suit you.
Using your mind
We might not all be able to stay sharp as a tack for the rest of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep ourselves mentally engaged. Simple crosswords, Sudoku or even video games can help keep our minds ticking over throughout our lives.
These kinds of activities require no physical exertion on our part, but they do help us keep present and engaged with the world, which is important should we wish to be still knocking around until our nineties…