Ever wonder why some people live to 90 or 100 with utmost grace and happiness?
Getting older is inevitable. It’s a process that brings with it a lot of emotions- for individuals themselves, for caregivers and for loved ones. While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can do things to slow down the physical and mental ageing process. From the foods you eat, to the people you interact with- everything about your life has an effect on how your body ages. After all, these years are called the “golden years” for a reason.
Of course, good genes and health are vital but your outlook to life matters the most. Do not take life too seriously, taking everything with a pinch of salt (except your food) might just be the answer to blowing out those 95 candles on your birthday cake.
Ageism “the silent epidemic” – Ageism comes with prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping based on age. It happens at work, to celebrities (especially women), in the healthcare industry and even in movies.
What does it mean to age gracefully?
While ageing gracefully is very relative and can mean something different to everyone, whether it’s letting the greys kick in or finally being able to say “I am a senior citizen”, it all boils down to one thing —
Do what makes you feel good.
Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care.
Tips for ageing gracefully —
- Exercise and stay as physically active as you can- Noone is asking you to run marathons or swim across the ocean but staying physically active or engaging in some form of exercise on a regular basis can slow down ageing. A simple walk around your neighbourhood, a swim or even group exercise classes. Whatever suits you as long as you’re moving your body. Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, helps you retain your mobility, lowers stress and even improves sleep.
- Mind your diet- Healthy foods are the way to go when it comes to ageing. Load up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat like yogurt or cheese. Avoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Most importantly try to stay away from processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol and unhealthy fats. Last but not least, you should keep your salt intake to the bare minimum to keep your blood pressure down.
- Drink plenty of water- Stay hydrated. It’s as simple as that. Your brain, skin, vital organs and energy levels will thank you. Fill a large water bottle in the morning and take it with you wherever you go. This way you remember to drink water and can monitor your liquid intake.
- Be kind to your skin- If you treat your skin with care (inside and out), protect it from the elements and be gentle on it- it will reflect on your skin.
- Mental health matters- the health of your mind matters a lot more than you think. Keeping your stress levels low and staying mentally healthy will help you age well. Do things that will elevate your mood like spending time with friends and loved ones, going for an outing, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, joining a class, reading a book. Do things that make you happy that ignites joy deep within your core. Mental health is linked to your physical health. If your mind is happy it will reflect on your body and vice versa.
- Live in the moment and practise mindfulness- Mindfulness is all about acceptance and living in the moment. Focus on the present and let everything just wash past you. Practising mindfulness can help you age better,mentally and physically. You can predict life, so try to make the most of every moment. Enjoy how you turned out after all, you’re currently the person you couldn’t wait to grow up to be.
- Get enough sleep- Good sleep is important for your physical and mental health. Sleep helps your body reset, heal and rejuvenate. As we get older our body needs longer to reset, so make sure you give yourself enough time to rest and sleep.
- Take care of your mouth- this might sound odd but take care of your teeth. Bad oral hygiene ages your teeth, smile and overall self. Brush your teeth twice a day, flossing is a must and don’t forget the mouth wash.
- See a doctor regularly- Seeing a doctor regularly can help make sure everything is running smoothly and on track. See a doctor anytime you feel like something isn’t right. Do regular tests, screenings and do not forget to take your medicines.
- Be grateful- Learn to appreciate the life you have lived and the life you are living. Find easy ways to cultivate gratitude, have a gratitude journal or recount everything you’re grateful for before you sleep. Try to stay positive and look at this chapter of your life through a hopeful and grateful lens.
- Accept your age- Ageing gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20 year old when you are well above 60, it’s about living your life while having the physical and mental health to enjoy it and the secret ingredient is acceptance. Acceptance of your age, embracing it and knowing its your strength and not your weakness.
Ageing gracefully does not require ‘going under the knife’ or to get boat loads of plastic surgery. Ageing gracefully is more about being healthy and happy than hiding your wrinkles and lines. Maintain a healthy lifestyle at a pace that suits you. It’s natural to have challenges at every stage of life. Don’t be afraid to speak to someone about your concerns.
“Your face is marked with lines, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It’s beautiful.” – Lindsay Sands