After one has lived sixty seasons or more, it brings a bag full of wisdoms collected over the years. One has heard and read about ways of slowing down the aging process (all things well , we all want to hit a century, right ?) and having a healthy and wonderful life as we grow old. But it never hurts to recap the age old truths. And learn a few new ones.
- It has also unfortunately been noticed that a lot many 65 + year old are among the most sedentary of all age groups – spending ten hours or more each day either sitting or lying down. It is especially important for this very age group to remain physically active so as to stay healthy, happy and independent with regular walking or exercise of at least 30 minutes every day. Pains and aches will be infrequent and the energy levels will be high. During any physical activity, the brain secretes more hormones called endorphins which give a positive boost to your mood, help your self-esteem and thus tackle blues of any kind. Do remember that daily chores like shopping, cooking, or housework don’t count towards your weekly 150 minutes because the effort is not good enough to ensure the conditioning your body needs.
- Eating a healthy diet, low on saturated fats and cholesterol, and regular workout will help keep the bad lipids (LDL, VLDL, Triglycerides) in your lipid profilein check as also improve the level of the good lipid (HDL). This is important to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke which generally gets higher with age. Foods like cream, ghee, lard, red meat, most cakes are to be avoided or have minimally. Preferentially, eat foods like avocados, almonds and cashews, mackerel and salmon. Trans fats which are contained in foods like milk and dairy and processed foods are also not to be consumed in large amounts.
- Eating plenty of fibre in your diet will lower your risk of heart disease, and some high-fibre foods can help lower your cholesterol. Aim for at least 30g of fibre a day in the form of fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread,beans, peas and lentils.
- Alcohol intake in a minimal manner daily can actually be a good idea! – one 330 ml of beer or a 30 ml peg – can actually keep you in good stead (remember Khustwant Singh living till 99) as long as it does not exceed the one glass ! Do check though if you are on any medications which alcohol may not go alongwith.
- There are studies coming up showing an independent and inverse association between low Vitamin D levels and late-life depression, particularly among women. Eventually whether these are substantiated or not, it’s still a good idea to replenish your diet with Vitamin D containing foods like dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, cheese and fish (especially salmon).
- It’s important to remember that loneliness can – and does – affect anyone, of any age. Some suggested ways for older people to connect with others and feel useful and appreciated again – Smile even if it feels hard at times, Invite friends for tea, Keep in touch by phone, Learn to love computers, Get involved in local community activities, Fill your diary, Get out and about.
- Help others – use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained over a lifetime to give something back to your community. You’ll get lots back in return, such as new skills and confidence – and, hopefully, some new friends.
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But, Beautiful old people are works of Art”
Dr. Manoj Agni
Consultant- Cardiothorasis Surgery
and Director-Heart & Lung Transplant Unit
Columbia Asia Referral Hospital