By Josh Horsman
Ageing is inevitable: Unfortunately, even in our 21st century, technologically advanced world, science has yet to evolve to the point where the passage of time can be paused, or even slowed.
For many of us of midlife age, this reality is one we are reluctant to confront. The prospect of old-age and all its complexities often fills us with dread as the slightest realisation that we’re not as young and agile as we once were conjures up images of hunched bodies slouched in chairs, incoherent, helpless, and worst of all fully reliant on others for even the most basic of functions.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Really, it doesn’t. Ageing might be inevitable, beyond our control, but ageing well is not! If we make the right choices now, research shows we can significantly and drastically improve the quality of life we’ll have in the years to come.
Master the habit of eating healthy in your mid-life you will reap countless rewards in your old age. Not only will you be less susceptible to the diseases and physical decline, so prevalent in old age, you’ll be able to stay fit, active and independent for longer. Most Crucially, science has proven the links between what we eat and our brain health and functions including memory and learning. The Mediterranean diet, for example, has been shown to reduce loss of brain volume in those who follow the plan over a long period. This means that cognitive decline is slowed and the brain is protected against Dementia.
Staying active as you get older is crucial to preventing a number of illnesses associated with old age, and dementia is no different. Vascular Dementia is caused by blockages of the blood vessels in the brain and is thought to be caused by health conditions such as diabetes and obesity and is also triggered by smoking and inactivity. The solution is simple, use your midlife years to stay as active as possible while you’re able and this will significantly increase your quality of life in later years.
Great news for those of you who struggle to function without a solid 8 hours of sleep, having a regular pattern of plenty of sleep could actually be helping lower your risk of Dementia. This is because our brain uses the down-time while we snooze to clear itself of toxins, some of which could be responsible for causing Alzheimer’s in later life. The link between sleep and reduced Dementia risk has already been shown in animals and research at Oregon Health and Science University is now underway to prove the link in humans. What better excuse to get a bit more rest during your midlife years?!
Studies have shown links between higher levels of social interaction and reduced risk of Dementia. Staying socially active, it seems, keeps the brain active, memory sharp and helps to fight against cognitive decline. Being involved in community groups or spending quality time with friends is also a great way to maintain good mental health and reduce isolation.
There you have it, the key to ageing well really is in our hands. Mid-life is the time to act, so start planning today for a healthy tomorrow!