The Key? There are SEVEN of them… Read on and you may never see your bathroom scales, dinner plate or friends the same way again.
Only three of the seven keys involve nutrition and fitness. The other four are related to attitude, optimism and social interactions. How you choose to live your life has more impact on your health than any other vitamin or pill. Besides the seven keys, the runner ups are the following five actions that matter so very much…
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
The benefits of water are vast..And after 60, your sense of thirst diminishes. You may not even realize you are thirsty. But drinking adequate water helps to boost flagging energy, cut down the risk of heart attack, ease constipation and so on.
EAT MORE FREQUENTLY
Small meals at regular intervals are a great way to get all the nutrition you need. Let moderation replace deprivation and you will feel happier and healthier.
KEEP JUNK OUT OF YOUR BODY
A diet high in junk ingredients- excess sodium, trans-fats, saturated fat, sugar and refined carbs. These are disastrous.
GET THE REST YOU TRULY NEED
As you age, sleep patterns change, body resets itself and levels of melatonin and growth hormone drop. It is possible to be well rested if you work with and not against your sleep cycles.
LEARN TO RELAX
Cutting stress by meditation, listening to music, enjoying nature promotes the deep relaxation that we need. This can help your body to heal faster, your mind function better and your digestion work better.
Dieting or trying to lose weight may not always be the best bet for women. Losing weight at an older age may also mean muscle loss, that would lower the mean metabolism, make you weaker with less flexibility and balance, and also make you lose bone density. So rather than losing weight, focus on eating for good nutrition and disease prevention. Then follow a good resistance training exercise routine.
KEY NO #2 EAT FEWER CALORIES BUT MORE FOOD
Eating more fruits and vegetables boosts your intake of vitamins and free radical – busting antioxidants. Research has shown that the waist to hip ratio is inversely associated with blood levels of vitamin C, independent of body mass index.
KEY NO #3 EXCERCISE TO SLOW AGEING
- Ease the ache of arthritis
- Lower your Alzheimer’s risk
- Keep bones strong
- Soothe anxiety
- Reduce your chances of developing arthritis
- Help you sleep better
- Boost your energy levels
- Help you achieve your healthiest weight
- Maintain muscle strength
- Improve balance and flexibility
It is never too late
Taking regular exercise can offset the changes to muscle and tendon structure that occur as people grow older. Exercise improves the quality of life.
KEY NO #4 FIND SOMETHING INTERESTING TO DO
People who maintain hobbies and interests in their later lives suffer less stress and depression; have better moods, improved immune system and lower risk of heart disease.
Optimism, effective coping styles were found to be more important to successful ageing than traditional measures of health and wellness.
Make sure you do something every single day that improves you or the world.
KEY NO #5 CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Fill your life with family, friendship, laughter and love. Close connections are a source of joy and offer a sturdy shield against the stress that can lead to health problems in the long run.
KEY NO #6 FOCUS ON LOVING YOUR LIFE
Having an optimistic attitude towards life in your later years can dramatically enhance your chances of living to enjoy more of it. Staying happy and feeling control in face of life’s challenges builds what experts call ‘stress resiliency.’ Without this near-magical force field, your mind and body can become steeped in stress hormones leading to depression, anxiety and a higher risk of heart disease; it can even make conditions such as glaucoma, rosacea and diabetes worse. How can you get there? One key element is an ability to enjoy the moment. ‘The factors that made later life satisfying included the capacity to enjoy life for its own sake, and finding meaning and purpose.
Have a laugh
It releases endorphins that create a feeling of joy and euphoria, lowers stress hormones, relaxes muscles and stabilizes breathing patterns. Watching a funny film improves blood flow to a similar extent as exercise – indeed, a really good laughing session can increase calorie burn-off by about 20 percent. Regular laughter – some doctors advise 15 minutes a day – has been shown to help people to cope better with pain, fight infection, speed up the healing process and improve general health.
Count your blessings
Focusing on what’s good in your life really does make everything seem better.
Make sure you reserve some time just for you at least once a week and preferably every day. It doesn’t matter what you do- jogging, meditation, an art class or gardening – as long as it enables you to forget your troubles.
#7 STRESS YOUR MIND IN POSITIVE WAY
If you think that mental fatigue, forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking and even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are unavoidable in the years ahead, the new science of ageing has news for you: by stressing your mind in productive ways, you can lower your risk of mental decline. And you don’t need fancy computer programs or complicated ‘brain games’ to do it – simple ‘brain calisthenics’ (one neuro-scientist calls them neurobics –aerobics for your brain cells) that involve new ways of doing everyday things are all it takes.
While ‘bad stress’ leads to depression and cognitive problems (and even physical ailments), this ‘good cells, increasing blood flow, and boosting production of neurotrophins – chemicals that protect the brain cells. Exercise increases levels of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which acts like brain fertilizer. This chemical increases the number of connections between neurons, helps to spur the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, may aid in the growth of new neurons and protects existing nerve cells in the brain from free radical damage.
Add in Neurobics’
Activities that involve one or more of your senses in a new way, such as getting dressed with your eyes closed, or that combine two or more senses in unexpected ways, such as listening to a piece of music while smelling an aroma, can strengthen synapses between nerve cells and make brain cells produce more brain-growth molecules.
There are many other instant ways to stimulate new brain connections in fresh, beneficial ways.
– Figure out in your head how to say the name of everyone in your family backwards
– Similarly, read a whole sentence from the newspaper or a book backwards.
– Multiply numbers in your head. Start with two-digit numbers multiplied by a single digit (for example, 82 X 7) and work up to multiplying by two digits.
– Try counting challenges. For example, count by 13s up to 390.
This isn’t as silly as it sounds. Challenging and even frustrating changes in thinking patterns can help to strengthen brain wiring and build new networks that preserve sharp thinking for longer.
According to research, training over several weeks in memory, problem solving, decision making resulted in prolonged increases in cognitive ability. Training on an average took about a decade off the cognitive age of these volunteers.
So the message again is “use it or lose it.” The more candles on my cake means, I get a little more exercise in blowing them out. You can free yourself from ageing, by reinterpreting your body and grasping the link between belief and biology.
Therefore, ageing is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.