A lot of the negative associations that we have with ageing aren’t due to ageing itself, but to the eventual result of poor maintenance. Ageing is just a natural progression of life. It’s a wear and tear from external and internal sources. You can’t avoid it, but you can certainly influence many aspects of ageing progress and how strong and vital you remain in older age.
Just as you need to add oil and gas to your car and run the engine every now and then, you have physical, mental, and social maintenance needs. You can only ignore these needs for so long before wear and tear start to show.
Some quick maintenance tips for a longer, healthier life:
- Get good sleep. For most people this is 7-9 hours each night.
- Keep your weight at a healthy level for you. If you don’t know what that is, talk to your health care provider.
- Exercise regularly. This should be a combination of something aerobic (e.g., walking briskly), some weight bearing activity (e.g., lifting weights), and some stretching and flexibility exercises (particularly those that involve activities to improve your balance, e.g., yoga or Tai Chi).
- If you smoke,stop.Smoking will not only shorten the duration of your life, but the quality of your later years as well (e.g., smoking is one of the major contributors of premature cardiovascular disease, stroke, and lung disease).
- Eat small meals regularly throughout the day and be certain you’re getting recommended daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, fluids, etc. Avoid adding salt to food (or minimize how much you add) and avoid saturated and Trans fats when possible.
- If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to a drink or two each day.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is essential to feeling well and enjoying life to the fullest. Recent surveys show that most older adults do not eat enough grain and milk products, vegetables and fruits. Eating too little of these foods can leave you tired, more prone to illness, and at increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Follow the advice of other parts of this course (maintain positive relationships, do something with your life that contributes meaning and value, keep challenging yourself mentally).
An Exercise about healthy aging
Consider your thoughts about the following.
1. What are your goals for your health and well-being in the retirement years that you have ahead of you?
2. What do you think will be the most challenging obstacle(s) that you will encounter that might prevent you from achieving these health goals? (e.g. “I am a smoker”)?
3. What can you begin to do immediately to help overcome these obstacles and/or to prevent them from occurring?
For more information about planning retirement, the following sites may be helpful.
- MoneySense Magazine. www.moneysense.ca
- Goverment of Canada: Retirement Planning. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning.html
- Sources of Retirement Income. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning/sources-retirement-income.html
- Determining how much you need for retirement. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning/money-to-retire.html
- Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicprensions/cpp/retirement-income-caltulator.html
- Government Benefits (Chttps://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/plan-manage/retirement-planning/planning-for-retirement/government-benefits-cpp-oas-gis/
- How much you need to save for retirement. https://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/plan-manage/retirement-planning/planning-for-retirement/how-much-you-need-to-save-for-retirement.
- An Emotional Playbook For Couples In Retirement. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/06/27/an-emotional-playbook-for-couples-in-retirement/#785284ed75ba
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