Mind And Body: “You’re only as old as you feel” is a saying that never gets old. And, to an extent, it’s true. If you maintain a youthful air about you, it is likely you will feel younger, and your age will simply be a number like a phone number or a house number; pretty insignificant.
Looking after your mind and body as you age is essential, so continue reading for our ultimate guide on how to achieve that goal.
Maintaining a high level of independence is vital for many older people, allowing them to prove themselves and stop them feeling like a burden to their loved ones. While that attitude is understandable, accepting that things change as do your needs, as you age, means that you will be able to make key adjustments to your lifestyle earlier rather than when needs must. For example, if you reside in a house, you may begin to find stairs trickier. Do you wish to remain in the home when you struggle with mobility in that way? Could you downsize and find yourself a property that will be more suited to your requirements?
Doing some research about medical alert systems might be a useful step to take, too. They can be used within a home to alert someone to a fall or accident you may have had, literally saving lives. You may find that your vehicle is unsuitable, too. Part exchanging or selling and buying a different one might be a sensible option when you realise that you need more support. Cars that are higher up tend to be more popular as they are not so problematic to get in and out of.
A Balanced Diet
For years and years, we have heard a variety of experts proclaiming that a balanced diet is imperative to ensure we lead healthy lives, avoiding junk food on a regular basis. While the specifics about what one looks like can differ somewhat depending on the precise approach, the overall message is the same, yet many people are still reluctant to pursue a balanced diet.
For us, everything in moderation is the key message. If you look at a cream cake and think it looks tasty (it likely will be), don’t stop yourself from having it; just try not to have one every single day. The same goes for fatty foods, such as hamburgers and pizza. Try having a burger in a bowl rather than a bun or a smaller pizza with a side salad. Nothing should be forbidden, just reduced in size, quantity or regularity.
An Active Life
It is a fact that our bodies start to become weary as we age and sometimes, illness puts a stop to activities we have previously done for some or all our lives. However, for some people, retirement equates to doing less, moving less and therefore being able to be less active.
Keeping active is essential, if possible, to continuing to lead a healthy and happy life. You may need to look at making some tweaks to existing active routines, such as shorter walks rather than hikes and flat ground rather than mountains, but you can still gain the same enjoyment from those activities, and they will still have significant benefits on your physical and mental wellbeing. If you are unsure what might be suitable for you, chat to friends and see if they have any suggestions.
As you get older and less mobile, lower impact exercise, such as aqua fitness or Zumba Gold, is a great idea. Many offer the first class for free to allow you to see if it is best suited to your needs. If you find it is too challenging to stand and move your body for a prolonged period of time, a seated exercise class might be better.
An Active Social Life
For many, exercise and socialising go hand in hand, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Spending time with other people is vital. As you age, you may find that the number of close friends reduces significantly in a short space of time, which can lead to a level of loneliness, impacting significantly on mental health. Rather than restricting your life outside of your home, get out more often and spend time with other people.
There are so many clubs available to you, almost on your doorstep. If you are unsure, chat to a friend, neighbour or perhaps someone from your church’s congregation. Spend time looking at noticeboards and reading the magazines and newspapers that are delivered to your door. Whether you are interested in chess or photography, baking or books, there is bound to be something perfect for you.
Arrange regular catch ups with friends over coffee and cake (though not too regular or you won’t be able to maintain a balanced diet!) and chat until the owners are not-so-subtly tidying up around you, waiting to close up for the evening.
And while getting out of the house is the preferred option, with the rise in technology available to you, friends and relatives who reside further away are no longer out of reach. Chat to them over the phone, via video calls or send them regular emails. Keeping in touch will boost your mental wellbeing and overall happiness.
A Challenged Brain
If the younger generations are spending all their time watching Netflix, why shouldn’t you? Well, it’s hardly challenging for the brain and can lead to a low mood if you do the same thing day in and day out. Try to take part in some form of challenging activity every day. You may like to partake in a newspaper’s crossword or, if you are online, Wordle. These things will help to keep your brain active, and they can make you feel as though you have achieved something, too.
Quiz nights are a way of incorporating a social life and a challenged brain, so keep an eye out for any local to you. You never know, you might win a cash prize – and that would definitely be good for your mental health!