Getting older has its perks! You get to dip into your superannuation, set sail on that ‘bucket list’ cruise and spend days enjoying cuddles from your grandchildren! You can, quite literally, spend time in your garden smelling the roses!
But to reap the fruits of your hard-earned labour and enjoy your golden years, you’ll need to make sure your health is in tip top condition. And that is not something you can put off until retirement.
Here, a quick refresher on the 3 healthy habits you should practice daily to ensure your golden years are truly golden later…
1\ Staying active for at least 30 minutes a day
One might think that getting older means we can kick up our heels and drink G+Ts on the beach – and yes, we can! But staying active and eating a well-balanced diet amongst those (moderated) drinks and lazy sunsets is essential as we age.
This is because our muscles, joints, bones and just about many other body functions degenerate and change as we age. Additionally, as we age our body weight distribution changes and we tend to consume more calories than we burn. According to the Institute of Health and Welfare, “carrying excess weight is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. As the level of excess weight increases, so does the risk of developing these conditions. In addition, being overweight can hamper the ability to control or manage chronic conditions.”
So it’s more important than ever to stay active and keep those bones moving, those muscles growing stronger and those tendons flexible. The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines encourage people 65+ to do at least 30 minutes of medium intensity exercise each day but if you are struggling to stay active, or maintaining a healthy weight, speak to your doctor who can perform a health assessment and develop a healthy weight loss plan that suits your lifestyle and needs. Or visit https://cansciencetaketheweightoff.com/ for more interesting facts about weight loss.
2/ Eating from the healthy food pyramid
As we age – and particularly after menopause - our body shape, composition and our fat accumulation and distribution changes. We tend to gain weight around the tummy and hips and a combination of being less physically active, eating more and consuming less healthy foods leads to weight gain. Almost two-thirds (63%) of Australians aged 18 and over were overweight or obese, according to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and overweight and obesity is a major public health issue and among the leading risk factors to ill-health in Australia. And this is NOT how we want to spend our golden years.
To maintain a healthy weight, we need to be active and eat well! That means fuelling our bodies with nutrient rich foods that promote health, healing and wellbeing. To do this, get back to basics – shop the perimeter of the supermarket where you’ll find all the fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry (skip the ‘processed foods’ aisles).
And load your trolley with 5 five food groups your body needs to perform at its optimum, as recommended by The Australian Dietary Guidelines.
- Vegetables and legumes.
- Grains (cereal)
- Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives.
3/ Doing things that enhance happiness and overall wellbeing
Everyone is different and what makes one person happy, feel valued or gives them a sense of purpose and overall wellbeing will be different for the next. Equally, you might have different activities that evoke different variations of happiness. For example, painting might bring you joy or a sense of calm and inner peace, volunteering at your local charity might give you a sense of contributing to your greater community, gardening may help you switch off from the ‘noise’ in the world, or spending time with your loved ones might bring you immense love joy.
Find your ‘inner peace and happiness’ activities and priorities them. According to a Harvard Study (which tracked respondents over 80 years), embracing community and prioritizing our relationships helps us live longer, and be happier. The perfect recipe for your very own golden era.