Written by Josh Horsman
We are an aging population. One hundred years ago, in 1918, someone born in the USA could only expect to live until they were 47 years old. Fast-forward to 2018 and today’s newborns are projected to live into their eighties. That’s an increase of 33 years over the last decade. There are currently over 48 million Americans aged 65 and over and that number is scheduled to double by the year 2060.
At first glance, these figures inspire optimism, it is encouraging to be able to look forward to the prospect of a long life. However these figures have to be viewed in a wider context. Whilst advances in medicine have enabled us to live longer, many serious age-related conditions are also on the rise. The simple fact is that we are living longer, but we are not always enjoying better quality of life. Instead, illness, restricted mobility and cognitive decline often blight the later years of those who live the longest.
The reality is that these illnesses are most often, at least partly, the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle followed in the preceding years.
Healthy aging is an attitude to making daily choices which form a healthy lifestyle which enables you to stay well and live longer. Making the right choices means doing what is good for your body and brain, this is the key to staying healthy. A healthy body and brain will reduce your risk of serious illness, helping you to live well for longer.
But what are the choices you have to make? To answer this, let’s look at to scientific research. Of course it is well known that exercising and following a nutritious diet are healthy choices on their own, but recent scientific thinking suggests that these things on their own are not enough. Several studies, including the groundbreaking ‘FINGER Study’ (2015) have concluded that a healthy lifestyle to effectively reduce your risk of physical and cognitive illnesses in later life must comprise of several different elements.
These are as follows:
The most crucial thing about healthy aging is that it is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. That means that it is something you must choose as early as possible in your life and then maintain them into your later years to reap the benefits. Most age-related conditions and illnesses that mostly affect seniors are progressive in nature. This means that the effects cannot be stopped or reversed after onset. Healthy aging is, therefore, about preventing these illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to have formed healthy habits by the time you reach midlife. By creating a healthy lifestyle while you are well you can maintain your health in later life and not only live longer, but have a better quality of life.
At MindMate, we know that it is not always easy to lead a healthy lifestyle and you may not know where to begin. That’s why you’ll find all the tools you need to eat well, exercise and maintain a healthy brain within our free app. Try it now to see your personalised daily workout plans.