Four Allies For Healthy Aging
Healthy ageing means acknowledging and embracing the changes of our bodies and perspectives on life. Ageing can be a positive process, especially if you are armed with knowledge of what supports good health, and are open to discover new approaches and maybe even a few new habits. Here are 4 allies that can support you in your journey of healthy, positive ageing:
As the body changes with age, nutritional needs also change. For example, recommended intakes for protein, calcium and vitamin D increase. At the same time, older people tend to eat less so achieving these levels through diet alone can be challenging.
Ensuring you get enough nutrients – through subtle dietary changes and/or use of supplements - can contribute to improved wellbeing.
Other tips for improved diet and nutrition:
- Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid each day.
- Plan meals ahead of time
- Make shopping an enjoyable social event; invite a friend to join you
- Prepare meals that are appealing to the senses
- Make mealtimes social. Enjoy the food and rapport while helping yourself and others stick to a healthy diet
- Consider high quality nutritional supplements if needed to help achieve the right nutrient levels
- If you have any concerns about your diet, keep track of your food consumption for a week to help assess your nutrient level intake; discuss it with your doctor or other healthcare professional
The impact of moderate physical activity each day is invaluable to health and wellbeing at any age.
Exercise does not need to be strenuous, just regular. Engage your family and friends. Enjoy regular physical activities such as swimming or gardening. Find additional motivation by checking with your local community or fitness center for specific programs for older adults. To see the benefits on maintaining muscle mass, progressive resistance exercise training (using all the major muscle groups) needs to be undertaken at least twice a week, in conjunction with an adequate daily protein intake distributed over meals and snacks throughout the day.1,2
Weight management is key for good health at any age. With age can come weight gain or weight loss. It is better to have a little extra weight in reserve for times of illness or stress, as unintentional weight loss can lead to malnutrition and other health issues. If you have any concerns about your weight or the weight of a loved one, please speak to your healthcare professional.
Positive Attitude & Social Connection
Looking after mental health is important for everyone especially for those interested in healthy aging. Here are some tips that can help to boost wellbeing:
- Share time with loved ones even if it’s simple things like everyday meals
- Stay connected with family, friends and community whether it’s in-person, by phone, email or social media
- Keep moving - Physical activity promotes mental, physical and social wellbeing
- Get a good night’s sleep – it can help with recovery, lower stress and support greater energy and optimism.
1World Health Organization. Global recommendations on physical activity for health 65 years and above. Geneva: WHO; 2011. Available online at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/recommendations65yearsold/en/(accessed May 2016).
2Bauer J, Biolo G, Cederholm T, et al. Evidence-based recommendationsfor optimal dietary protein intake in older people: a position paper from the PROT-AGE study group. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2013; 14: 542-559.