Tom and I want to grow old and we want to grow old healthily and active. For this, we pursue 3 goals in life.
Our first goal is personal: we want to feel happy and healthy and have an active life.
Secondly, we have a social goal: we want to be able to help each other and others in our social circle, if necessary and desired.
Thirdly, we pursue a collective goal: the happier and healthier we are, the less burdensome we are for others and public care.
So for us to remain happy and healthy as we grow older, these three goals have to add up. To achieve these 3 goals, we maintain a specific lifestyle, which I describe below in an imaginary day of our life.
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Table of contents
- 1 Be happy and healthy as we grow older
- 2 Maintaining a healthy body and mind
- 3 Moving around a lot
- 4 Start the day with a hearty breakfast
- 5 Do a puzzle before lunch
- 6 Be active in your community
- 7 Cook up a healthy lunch
- 8 Go to an aerobics class
- 9 Be happy
- 10 Eat a light evening meal or skip it
- 11 Time for an evening power-walk
- 12 Get a good night’s sleep
Be happy and healthy as we grow older
With proper diet and exercise, and by having a goal in our lives, we ourselves are at the helm of our happiness and health. Of course, good genes and luck also play a role, but we have a lot of control by having the right lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy body and mind
Health and fitness were rarely considered when we were children. Unless we got seriously ill, we lived without a care in the world. We ate junk food, played games for hours on end, and drank soda pops at midnight. And the best thing? We never had to pay for it. Our bodies were in superb condition no matter what we put them through!
As we get older, our thoughts invariably switch to our health. We realize that we simply cannot sustain a life of indulgence. We want to extend our life expectancy and be free of debilitating conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
Moving around a lot
So we have to get active and we have to keep fit. For aging people (and this process starts much sooner than you might think) a healthy lifestyle is super important. Physical activity helps us to stay energetic, healthy, and – most important of all – independent of family and institutionalized care.
While all too many people spend at least 10 hours or more sitting or lying down each day, healthy folk make the most of their time by staying active.
Are you concerned about your own sedentary lifestyle? Let’s imagine how a well-spent day could look like. This might inspire you.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast
Strangely enough, the answer to what is a healthy breakfast doesn’t just depend on how our condition is, but also where we were born. The dietary guidelines between countries differ.
Whether you are used to oatmeal and coconut milk, just fruits, or fried egg with vegetables is not that important. What is important:
- Vary often, don’t eat the same thing every day;
- Eat mostly plant-based;
- Pay attention to the composition so that you get the right nutrients;
- Take the right supplements.
Aging people are at a high risk of malnutrition, primarily because their absorption efficiency has decreased. We stay in good health by eating an easy-to-prepare breakfast that is inexpensive and rich in fiber, such as oatmeal, eggs, or soft fresh fruits.
Do a puzzle before lunch
As we get older, our reflexes and senses change. Moreover, our brain cells become damaged over time, possibly leading to debilitating conditions, such as dementia, while our ability to think logically can become impaired.
Healthy pensioners know that it’s important to keep their brains alert and active. That’s why we will often find them doing a puzzle – such as a crossword or a jigsaw – before lunch. These kinds of puzzles tighten concentration and alertness, improve memory, and sharpen brain function.
Tom hates games, so he keeps his brain alert by studying scientific books and articles. I love games, so I do jigsaws, but also my daily dose of Lumosity.
Be active in your community
Many towns and villages have community centers with lots of activities. An active person participates in these activities or volunteers with errands or takes care of participants that seem to be alone.
Cook up a healthy lunch
As we get older, our diet increases in importance. A good diet can reduce our risk of diseases and illnesses, and it can make us more energetic and mentally sharp.
Healthy people don’t just eat healthily – they also cook. They know that a balanced diet is key, take their cues from Mediterranean diets, and eat what their body needs: fruits, vegetables, calcium, whole grains, protein.
Go to an aerobics class
A decline in our body’s ability to function is a natural consequence of aging. But it is possible to slow this process down by engaging in physical activity.
Healthy active people take a trip to their local aerobics class in the afternoon. Here, they enjoy moderate activity, such as bike riding, weight training, swimming, or even water aerobics.
An advantage of a class is that it is also an opportunity to meet other people. If you prefer a daily walk or bike ride that is of course just as good.
Being content with your life and living without fears are 2 important ingredients for healthy aging. It is a pity that politicians and others mainly want to promote behavioral change by responding to fear.
Eat a light evening meal or skip it
Energetic people don’t eat for periods of about 13 to 15 hours. If breakfast was at 8 am their last meal is at 5 or 6 pm. It’s a great way to maintain the right weight and to stay tireless.
Time for an evening power-walk
A walk is a great way to break up our sedentary time. Although popping to the shops doesn’t really help us to get healthy, it is at least something.
Healthy people, though, know the true value of a hike, and they aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day.
The key is to walk fast. This provides you with a moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which is what is required. Although an evening stroll is okay, an evening power-walk is much more productive.
Get a good night’s sleep
A balanced person sleeps at least 8 hours. It will help not to watch a screen an hour before bedtime. TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone spread a blue light that hampers the production of natural melatonin.
Alcohol and caffeine keep us wide awake as well. Instead, learn how to manage stress, for example by meditating right before going to sleep. A good massage does wonders as well. This emphasizes feelings of health and of bonding.
How do you spend your days? Tell us in the comment box below.