It’s one of life’s evil tricks that, as we age, our bodies start to feel the wear and tear of our energetic and sometimes, misspent youth.
Excessive lifestyles, such as over-eating, not exercising, drinking too much regularly, relying on drugs in some cases to help us through stressful days, or just a stressful lifestyle, can take its toll on us in our senior years. By 2050 there will be 3.2 million people worldwide aged over 100, placing a huge burden on health services around the world.
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It’s not too late to change our lifestyle and mindset about our physiological and cognitive health, to see us into the twilight years.
To stay healthy in our later years means not over-eating, avoiding being overweight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and taking some “tried and tested pills”.
In fact, new research has shown that slightly under-eating at table each evening and limiting calorie intake is more beneficial in the long run. Our bodies have been designed to take periods of shortage of food.
It is thought that around 1500 calories a day is enough for women, and around 1800 for men. This is assuming they are physically active and have received necessary minerals, vitamins and proteins in their diet.
Excess weight and obesity are a threat because stomach fat is layered among the organs, This impacts on the body’s metabolism and raises the risk of illnesses such as diabetes.
In order to prevent heart disease and diabetes, there is no reason we cannot have the bodies we had as 20-years olds. While falling back on the “it’s just middle-age spread” line, may be comforting, it is still much easier to remain healthy, than cure illness.
Slightly more attainable, perhaps, is a healthy Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, nuts, grains, olive oil, fish, shellfish and a daily, moderate intake of wine, but with only small amounts of red meat.
People also need to keep on the move to stay healthy, with regular physical activity such as brisk walks of at least 40 to 50 minutes each day.
A healthy adult should be taking more than 10,000 steps per day, the equivalent of walking six to seven kilometres. Fewer than 5000 steps is seen as a “sedentary” lifestyle.
The experts also believe that taking certain supplements such as selenium and vitamin D can help boost long-term health.
Vitamin D deficiency is said to be responsible for a number of illnesses, while about 10 to 15 per cent of older adults are thought to have vitamin B12 deficiency which is associated with neurological and blood diseases.
A healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial for staying fit and well at all ages.
It is never too late to make a difference. Your family will thank you for it.