If your aim is to be lively and robust in your old age, you will need to learn some anti-ageing secrets that focus on the mind, body and spirit. Your body is an integrated whole. There are many aspects of a healthy life that rely on each other. Crush the spirit and the body will follow. Stimulate the mind and your mood will lighten. Exercise the body and your mind will be sharper. In many ways, these anti-ageing tips are interdependent.
It is widely acknowledged that your genes play a major role in your health but then you cannot choose your parents. But you must understand that you don’t need to be a slave to your family’s past. It is my belief that every human being must accept the ageing process and gracefully accept your age. We have all come across so many people whose body shows their age but they try to conceal it with ill-fitting clothes and mask their faces with heavy make-up!
Anti-ageing should be for your mind, body and spirit. There is no point in having a youthful body with an old person’s mind living in the past and a flagging spirit!
I am giving below some well accepted ways to handle the ageing process in your body:
Stimulate your brain — It is one thing to live a long life, but if you want to live a long and vibrant life, you are going to need a vibrant and sharp mind. The brain, like the rest of the body, needs exercise to avoid becoming sluggish and even disease-ridden.
The brain needs to be challenged to keep the neurological pathways open. Learn a new language, read, keep yourself busy, admire nature, relish smells and sounds of your surroundings. The younger you keep your mind, the younger your body and your whole being will become.
The old adage “use it or you’ll lose it” has relevance when it comes to your mind.
Eat Well — More has been written about eating well than can be absorbed by anyone. Foods that are good today don’t seem to find favour a few years later and vice versa leaving readers confused and confounded. When I was a young adult, I was told that eggs were bad for cholesterol. Today I am told that eggs are good for you. As I discussed with people, I was told that red meat was better than chicken now and that pooris were better than parathas. Is all this cyclical and based entirely on food lobbies in the world?
Based on all the reading that most retirees would have done over the years, we would know that oily foods are not good, too much sweet should be avoided, food with roughage or high fibre is good and one should not eat carbohydrates after 7 pm. Our bodies also give us a clear signal when we don’t eat right.
The best way to plan to get a well-balanced diet is to go to a nutritionist or a dietician.
Exercise — I have stated in several places in this book that exercise is critical for managing our body, especially as we get older. Hundreds of studies show that exercise combats the loss of stamina, muscle strength, balance and bone density that increases with age.
In addition to working out, walking or swimming for 35–40 minutes at least 3 times a week, it is good to do some light weights to tone up your muscles.
Exercise must be blend to handle a cardio vascular work out combined with some muscle strengthening.
Maximise your intake of antioxidants — Free radicals contribute to the onset of age-related diseases, and antioxidants neutralize free. Everyone should take a combination of antioxidants through diet and supplementation.
Antioxidants can be increased in your diet by increasing the intake of dark-coloured vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and spinach. Alternately, take a food supplement because we don’t always eat what is good for us and often the soil in which our food grows has been denuded of the resources our food should normally have.
“I always tell people that taking antioxidants is like driving with a seatbelt” says Blumberg, an authority on the subject “They can protect your life, but they are not a license to drive recklessly.”
Sleep — Research shows that if you sleep less than six hours a night, you are at far greater risk of having a heart attack or experiencing a stroke. What’s more, your mind seems to deteriorate at a faster pace.
On an emotional level, a lack of sleep makes you less peaceful and more prone to anger. Sicknesses related to viral infections are also more prevalent among people lacking proper rest.
I have met many people who have trouble sleeping. They take the easy way out and ask their doctors to prescribe sleeping aids and what is surprising is that doctors have no hesitation in prescribing these. All such aids are addictive and getting back to a natural sleep will prove to be a huge challenge once your body gets “addicted” to an external sleeping stimulus. It is best to try and meditate to sleep rather than rely on external aids.
If you have specific concerns about ageing, ask your doctor about proven ways to improve your health. Remember, healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet and including physical activity in your daily routine can help you feel your best as you get older.
And finally, while these are all tools to slow down your ageing process, remember that nature is the biggest doctor for your age. If your body is fit, well exercised and free of any major disease, accept the process of ageing gracefully. There is much more to look forward to in life as you move towards retirement than simply a body that looks twenty years younger but feels much older!
As Mark Twain has said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”