The Three Golden Rules of Ageing
The realisation that you are getting old can come in waves. As you age you will begin to notice that your hair is greyer than usual or that you're beginning to develop fine lines and age spots on your face or that your bones have begun to feel worn out or brittle.
Here’s what you need to know:
Although wrinkles and grey hair are the visible signs of ageing, the ageing process will also affect your teeth, heart and other bodily functions. On an average, people start feeling old in their 60’s and the average age at which old age begins is 68 years. But one has to keep in mind that age, after all, is just a number. There are people who are in their 50’s and frequently criticize their ageing appearance, while on the other hand there are people who live into their 90’s and still have the zest of a 20-year old.
The first golden rule to ageing is to take control.
Whether you are 30 or 90, it is important to pay attention to your physical and mental needs. As you grow older, it becomes crucial to maintain a healthy body weight as it can inadvertently affect the functioning of the rest of the body. When it comes to your diet, you should know that as you age, your body absorbs fewer nutrients. This makes it crucial for you to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and take supplements, especially vitamin D and calcium.
A healthy diet should be complemented with adequate exercise. As you age, your muscle tissue becomes less flexible and you start losing bone density. Exercise can help prevent this. Start with light exercises and don’t overdo it. Seek advice from your doctor and hire a personal trainer if you are starting a new exercise regime. Simply taking a 30-minute brisk walk outside is also a great idea to keep yourself active.
Exercise and proper sleeping and eating habits will help your physical health, and benefit your mental and cognitive health. Doing sudoku, crosswords, playing cards, and reading are other ways you can continue to learn even as you grow old.
The second rule is to focus on the positives.
Research shows that older adults are generally happier and less stressed and worried than middle-aged and young adults. This usually comes from improvements in the emotional aspects of life. Although there can be declines in health and income, older adults are more focused on positive information.
So, if you are waking up with aches and pains remember that there are millions in the world who are going through the same thing. Take your concentration off your bodily pain by focussing on improving a talent or helping others, especially younger people.
The last rule should be to reject ageist attitudes.
Although it is true that as people age, they may gain weight or become frail and forgetful, this is no reason to stereotype older adults. The media and society, in general, portray older people as disconnected and irritable; unfortunately, these depictions are often myths that create barriers which get in the way of older adults staying connected or pursuing what is meaningful to them. Various milestones such as birthdays, career shifts and the deaths of siblings and peers are reminders of the passage of time, but you should not lose focus on finding meaning and quality in life.
For many, old age creeps up slowly without much fanfare or acknowledgement. While most people are capable of enjoying relative continuity over decades, the key to successful ageing is being able to adapt to the changing context of our lives, while remaining positive throughout.
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