How to Age Well - 10 Tips for Healthy Ageing
Ageing well is a universal aspiration, marked by physical vitality, mental acuity, and a fulfilling life. It is no longer secret that your body accumulates changes as you age. The ageing process typically begins in one's late 30s, marked by a faster rate of cell loss compared to replenishment and decreased organ function. This elevates the risk of various diseases and disorders. However, genes, lifestyle, and environment also play crucial roles, and adopting healthy habits can mitigate some of the negative aspects of ageing, and enable people to pursue their passions throughout their lives. Let's dive deeper into the art of ageing gracefully.
What Is Healthy Ageing?
The World Health Organization defines healthy ageing as, ‘a continuous process of optimising opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life throughout the life course.' Healthy ageing is accomplished by focusing on the five pillars of good health behaviours, which, when adopted, can reduce the negative physical and mental effects of ageing and age-related disorders.
1. The Role of Nutrition in Healthy Ageing:
A nutritious diet plays a significant role in enhancing an individual's overall well-being as they enter their older years. Proper nutrition ensures that our bodies receive all the essential nutrients, enabling us to maintain physical and mental strength, and making it easier to manage age-related decline. Nutrients of particular benefits include:
Macronutrients according to the name are required in large quantities. People in their later years can benefit from:
- Protein: Dietary protein intake is required for maintaining skeletal mass. With increasing age, the body loses its ability to replenish the protein reserves, leading to the risk of various diseases. Recommended intake varies according to factors like age, height and weight, but the protein intake should be 10-35% of calories. (Wolfe et al., 2017; Deane et al., 2020)
- Fiber: The recommended daily intake for those above 60 years is 30g for men and 21g for women. It plays an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease, and diabetes, reducing inflammation and keeping a normal bowel function. These help mitigate common age-related disorders and promote a healthy body.(Donini et al., 2009)
- Water: dehydration is a major concern with the older age. Remember to keep yourself hydrated!
Micronutrients are supportive nutrients, required in very small amounts. Because they are required and also present in small amounts, deficiency of these nutrients is common.
- Vitamin D: This is an essential nutrient required to build bones and muscles. The deficiency may contribute to various age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The recommended daily amount is 20mcg for people over 70.(Meehan & Penckofer, 2014)
- Vitamin B12: A deficiency in B12 can result in anaemia and potentially cause permanent nerve damage. As we age, our body's capacity to absorb vitamin B12 decreases, underscoring the importance of having it regularly evaluated by a medical professional. (Hughes et al., 2013)
It is important to understand that good nutrition is essential for holistic well-being and cellular health. It helps reduce the risk of age-related metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
2. Importance of Exercise and Physical Activity
A decline in physical strength and health is usually seen with increasing age. Taking care of physical health helps maintain a strong body composure, gain strength, and avoid chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. Metadata analysis shows that higher levels of physical activity can increase the odds of healthy ageing by 39%. (Daskalopoulou et al., 2017) Recommendations for maintaining good physical health:
CDC suggests that adults over 65 years need at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity.
With exercise, rest is also essential. A minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep per night is recommended for adults in their early 50s. Lack of sufficient sleep has been associated with the risk of developing dementia, and cardiometabolic disorders, and can take a toll on a person’s mental health as well. (Stone & Xiao, 2018)
3. Cognitive Stimulation:
Cognitive ageing refers to the alterations in an individual's cognitive abilities as they grow older. It often involves a decline in reasoning, memory, and processing speed (Cognitive Aging, 2022). Engaging in brain exercises can aid in preserving cognitive function. Consistent practice of these mental challenges can enhance brain health, vital for promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.
4. Social Engagements:
Social interactions are a crucial component of ageing gracefully, influencing our behaviour, cognition, decision-making, and interpersonal relationships. Building and nurturing connections within our social circles and communities can effectively combat loneliness, reduce stress, and alleviate depression and mood disorders, ultimately lowering the risk of heart disease and cognitive decline.
Maintaining your physical health is essential, but it's equally important to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. Neglecting these aspects can heighten the risk of heart problems, Alzheimer's disease, and diminished functional capacity. Effective stress management is key, and it involves cultivating a support network of trusted individuals and engaging in therapy, exercise, and meditation to foster emotional resilience.
10 Tips for Healthy Ageing
Use the following tips to age happily:
Take Care of your Skin:
Skin is the largest and an important organ. It protects your body from environmental dangers, regulates temperature and is an important sensory organ. To keep it youthful:
- Wear Sunscreen to protect from UV damage
- Stay hydrated
- Get checked for melanomas or skin cancers
- Use anti-ageing products in your skincare routine
Regular exercising has its benefits and significantly lowers the risk of diseases, improves mobility, lowers stress, improves sleep, skin and bone health as well and uplifts your mood. Recommended exercises
- Adults aged 18-64: 150-300 minutes of moderate or 75 -150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Along with strength training twice a week.
- Adults aged 65 and above At least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise with two days of strength training. They can also take part in exercises that emphasize functional balance to prevent falls.
Types of exercises include:
- Resistance band training or weight training
Get a Colourful Plate!
Healthy foods are the key to healthy ageing. Your food should provide you with a complete nutrition profile.
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Lean Proteins- fish and beans
- Carbohydrates- whole grain cereals, bread, rice or pasta
- Low-fat dairy- milk, yoghurt, cheese
- Healthy fats
Limit the intake of processed food, sugars, high-salt foods and bad fats.
Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and alcohol consumption have adverse effects on health and are known causes of premature ageing. They increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It also affects the cognitive and reasoning ability.
Lower your Stress
Effects of stress on the body are diverse- from visible changes on your skin to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Use relaxation techniques like:
- Breathing techniques
- Exercise or Yoga
- Treat yourself to a self-care day!
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic illness. It can cause metabolic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes; high cholesterol, high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke. Get a small break and go on walks, hikes, vacations and community activities like workshops.
Don’t underestimate your Beauty Sleep
Good night’s sleep is important for your physical, mental and holistic wellbeing. Poor sleep has been linked to biological. Have warm milk or chamomile tea before sleeping. Putting a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow has been shown to help promote a relaxing sleep.
Mental Health Matters!
Having a positive mindset helps in the long run! Keeping your stress levels down helps you live life to the fullest. To keep your mood and spirits high:
- Spend time with friends and family: Nurturing relationships with loved ones provides a source of support and happiness. Play with your four-legged friends and spend time creating memories. This has been shown to reduce stress and loneliness.
- Do things you enjoy: Take time out from your busy schedule to participate in activities that you enjoy. Take a walk in the garden, wake up to watch that sunrise, volunteer at your local NGO- whatever elevates your spirits!
Get Regular Checkups
It is a good idea to get regular blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Get a full body checkup at least once a year if you are over the age of 40. Understand your gut health and nutritional requirements from your doctor.
Keep yourself Engaged!
Engage yourself in activities, and entertain yourself with new hobbies that help you get a sense of purpose. Studies have shown reduced loneliness, bet cognitive function, improved physical function, lowered risk of dementia, reduced stress and better self-esteem. (What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?, n.d.)
Supplements for Healthy Ageing
Sometimes our food isn't of the highest quality and we might not get all the required supplements from the food. This is where supplements come in handy. Nutrient deficiency gets more prominent with age, leading to a variety of conditions. This deficiency can be mitigated by supplements.
One size does not fit all, similarly, all supplements aren’t for everyone. Consult your doctor before starting any supplement to make sure it doesn’t have adverse effects. Here are a few supplements that can help individuals embrace their golden years with renewed vitality and enthusiasm
Nicotinamide mononucleotide is a molecule longevity expert Dr David Sinclair stands by. NMN is the precursor to NAD+, a vital coenzyme in the body that affects over 500 cellular processes. As we age, NAD+ reserves decrease leading to loss of energy, reduced DNA repair, and accelerated ageing. NMN supplementation is shown to reverse biological ageing and improve the quality of life.
Calcium plays an important role in maintaining bone health. Women especially are at a higher risk of osteoporosis and a calcium supplement may improve the bone density and prevent fractures. Calcium isn’t the only factor for bone health, the body’s production of Vitamin D also plays an important role in the absorption of calcium. Sudden decreases in hormone levels- estrogen and testosterone, and not getting enough exercise also negatively affect bone porosity.
This potent blend of compounds contains NMN, CoQ10 - an important compound aiding in energy production, pterostilbene- strong antioxidant, herbs and amino acid that targets almost all the hallmarks of ageing, making it a scientifically backed choice for everyone who wants to age with grace and vitality.
It is another potent antioxidant blend that targets various pillars of healthy ageing. It is blended with Trans-Resveratrol, Pterostilbene, N-acetyl cysteine and more. These supplements aid in cardiovascular support, cleaning up free radicals and preventing cognitive decline.
While ageing is unavoidable, being miserable in your golden years is now a choice. Health is the centre of longevity and adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve the quality of life. By understanding the pillars of ageing, and integrating lifestyle and environmental factors, we can work towards a future where healthy ageing is attainable for all.
1. Is it possible to age well and stay healthy as we get older?
Yes, it's possible to age well and stay healthy as we get older with proper care. Following a nutritious diet, exercising and addressing health concerns, graceful and healthy ageing is attainable.
2. What are the secrets to successful ageing?
Secrets to successful ageing include a balanced lifestyle, social connections, regular exercise, good nutrition and adequate sleep. .
3. What are the 5 pillars of successful ageing?
The 5 pillars of successful ageing are good nutrition, adequate exercise, cognitive stimulation, emotional well-being, and social interactions.
4. What are the 3 main types of ageing?
The three main types of ageing are Chronological- the number of years you have lived; Biological- the age of your cells and tissue based on physiological evidence and Psychological ageing which is how a person feels and behaves.
5. Are there any supplements that are particularly beneficial for healthy ageing?
Some supplements such as NMN, Vitamins, Calcium, and antioxidants can be beneficial for healthy ageing. It is advised to consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.
- Donini, L. M., Savina, C., & Cannella, C. (2009, January 1). NUTRITION IN THE ELDERLY: ROLE OF FIBER. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics; Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2009.09.013
- Wolfe, R. R., Cifelli, A. M., Kostas, G., & Kim, I. Y. (2017, March 1). Optimizing Protein Intake in Adults: Interpretation and Application of the Recommended Dietary Allowance Compared with the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range. Advances in Nutrition; American Society for Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.116.013821
- Hughes, C., Ward, M., Hoey, L., & McNulty, H. (2013, June 18). Vitamin B12 and ageing: current issues and interaction with folate. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry; SAGE Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004563212473279
- Meehan, M., & Penckofer, S. (2014, July 25). The Role of Vitamin D in the Aging Adult. Journal of Aging and Gerontology. https://doi.org/10.12974/2309-6128.2014.02.02.1
- Deane, C. S., Ely, I. A., Wilkinson, D. J., Smith, K., Phillips, B. E., & Atherton, P. J. (2020, October 7). Dietary protein, exercise, ageing and physical inactivity: interactive influences on skeletal muscle proteostasis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society; Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0029665120007879
- Daskalopoulou, C., Stubbs, B., Kralj, C., Koukounari, A., Prince, M., & Prina, M. (2017, September 1). Physical activity and healthy ageing: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies. Ageing Research Reviews; Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2017.06.003
- Stone, K. L., & Xiao, Q. (2018, September 1). Impact of Poor Sleep on Physical and Mental Health in Older Women. Sleep Medicine Clinics; Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsmc.2018.04.012
- Cognitive ageing. (2022, August 31). Nature. https://www.nature.com/collections/cbjacdabdf#:~:text=Cognitive%20ageing%20is%20the%20age,and%20progresses%20over%20the%20years.
- What Do We Know About Healthy Aging? (n.d.). National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-do-we-know-about-healthy-aging