Strategies to Stop Aging
Add Years to Your Life and
Life to Your Years
1. Brain Health and Mental Workout
Keeping your brain active keeps you young and helps stop the aging process.
How Can You Give Yourself a Healthy Brain Workout?
- Stay curious and be involved to keep your brain cells working.
- Engage actively in lifelong learning to keep challenging your brain and creating new brain pathways and connections.
- Keep growing your social networks to keep yourself vital and inspired, as well as introducing you to new ideas and experiences.
- Be creative and do things you enjoy. For example make the time to be artistic, musical, crafty, enjoy making something or sing!
Eat Brain Food to Help Stop Aging
- Eating brain food like Omega 3’s contained in oily fish (like salmon, trout, sardines), nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia, walnuts) builds brain and nerve cells which protects your brain from decline and is essential for learning and memory.
For more information see 15 Healthy Foods for Anti-Aging that Boost Your Brain and Memory
2. Stay Socially Connected
As we age, being social and adopting an attitude of curiosity and continuous lifelong learning to keep your brain connections healthy and vital, is very important to help stop the aging process.
Developing a strong network of like-minded “over Fifty’s” is a key objective of our Nifty over Fifty community movement.
We therefore invite you to join us to create your own blog, share your story, make new friends and join groups. See what you can do when you are part of our social Nifty over Fifty network.
Being connected when you have things in common, and can share and support one another keeps you energetic, vibrant and happy. We also have a Facebook group we would love you to join.
Living your life to the full and having fun and laughter
is the prescription to stop aging!
3. A Healthy Diet
Stop aging by eating healthily to lower cholesterol, boost blood flow, reduce cell damage and lower risks of heart disease and type II diabetes.
Try the Mediterranean Diet
The Mayo Clinic reports that most if not all major scientific organisations encourage healthy adults to adapt the Mediterranean Diet for heart health, with studies also showing a strong link for reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
The Mediterranean Diet Prioritises:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods – vegetables are exploding with nutritional vitamins, minerals, fibre, special phytonutrients, antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatories.
- Whole grains, fruits, legumes and nuts – almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are great for a quick snack or add them to your salad or vegetables.
- Extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.
- Spices and herbs for flavouring rather than salt – turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, basil, coriander etc
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.
- Eating fish and poultry, especially oily fish for Omega 3 benefits.
- Enjoying meals with family and friends.
For more information see 15 Healthy Foods for Anti-Aging that Boost Your Brain and Memory.
4. Manage Stress
High levels of stress and emotional distress are bad for blood pressure, cholesterol and other physical ailments and can speed up the aging process by shrinking cells.
Stress can also cause an imbalance of stress hormones that can lead to rapid aging.
Stress can be caused by things like social isolation, untreated depression, unemployment and anxiety.
Start reversing cell damage:
- Exercise regularly.
- Try taking up yoga which is great physically and mentally.
- Yoga and Tai Chi can also be beneficial due to the combination of specific breathing with the exercises.
- Try meditating each day.
- Regular walking and being outdoors with nature.
- Be creative and doing things you enjoy and are important to you – be artistic, crafty, musical, sing.
- Look for ways to improve your social life, social networks and sense of community. Try spending more time with family and friends and join a community like Nifty over Fifty to be inspired and entertained and to reconnect with your purpose and passions.
Minimising and managing your stress will make you feel more relaxed as well as improving your memory and brain fitness.
For more information see How to Increase Hormones of Health and Happiness.
5. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep recharges the brain and allows the body to rest and heal. Changes to our sleep patterns are a normal part of getting older.
The sleep cycle is repeated several times during the night and although total sleep time tends to remain constant, as you get older you tend to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Medical issues may also affect your ability to sleep.
Generally 7 to 9 hours sleep is ideal.
Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep
1. Create Your Bedtime Routine
- Stick to a regular bedtime – go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you are travelling.
- Take a warm bath – relax and slow down. When you get out of the bath the drop in body temperature may also make you feel tired and ready for sleep.
- Make time to unwind before lights out – turn off devices and TV an hour before bed, read a book, listen to music.
- Decide on your bedtime routine – by doing the same thing each night, for example an hour before bed turn off all electronics, soak in a bath and then read a book, this prepares and gives your body the signals that it is time for sleep.
2. Wear Yourself Out
- Avoid afternoon naps – if you are not tired you are less likely to sleep well at night.
- Exercise to wear yourself out – exercise at regular times each day but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.
3. Enjoy Being Outdoors and Get Some Sun
- Try to get outside everyday, usually avoid between 10am and 3pm when the suns rays are strongest. The sun triggers our bodies to know when to be awake and when to sleep.
- Large meals close to bedtime – trying to digest meals can keep you awake.
- Caffeine late in the day. Caffeine found in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks and chocolate can keep you awake.
- Alcohol close to bedtime as even small amounts can make it harder to stay asleep.
- Drinking fluids at night as trips to the bathroom will disrupt your sleep.
5. Create Your Relaxing Sleep Sanctuary
- Make your bedroom a sleep-zone sanctuary of relaxation.
- Train yourself to think of your bed as the place for sleep.
- Aim for a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
- Use low lighting in the evenings and as you prepare for bed.
The National Sleep Foundation has excellent suggestions to make your bedroom your sanctuary and the best environment for sleep.
6. Physical Exercise - Maintaining Muscle Matters
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and strength which becomes more common with age and can decrease lifespan and quality of life.
After 50, on average, adults lose 3% of their muscle strength every year.
The loss of muscle strength limits your ability to perform many routine activities and shortens life expectancy compared to individuals with normal muscle strength.
Consequences of muscle loss = dependency = lower quality of life.
Help fight sarcopenia and keep your muscles strong with a healthy diet with enough calories and high quality protein, omega 3 and regular exercise to increase your lifespan and quality of life.
Four Factors That Accelerate Muscle Loss
- Immobility, including a sedentary lifestyle
- Unbalanced Diet
- Severe Stress
Maintain Your Muscle Mass By:
Exercising regularly particularly resistance exercises, for example using resistance bands, lifting weights or calisthenic exercises like squats, push-ups, sit-ups, even simple walking can slow down your rate of muscle loss.
Join a Walk Group
Walking in a group is fun and motivating. The Heart Foundation have free walking groups all around Australia, just put in your postcode and search for groups near you. They also have a free walking app to keep track and reward you for stepping it up, as well as information about events and challenges. Try looking in your local area for walking groups or join the Nifty over Fifty community and create your own Walking Group.
Why is Exercise the Universal Life Preserver?
Exercise stops aging for a long, productive and independent life by:
- Improving blood flood.
- Potently reducing antioxidants.
- Creating the spark that wakes up our internal antioxidant system.
- Keeping you supple and providing anti inflammatory benefits.
Resistance Band Exercises
Try these muscle building exercises using resistance bands from the British Heart Foundation. Resistance bands are very economical to buy (currently Kmart have them for $8 for 3) and they are super easy and convenient to take anywhere.
We can control the rate that we age if we take some simple steps:
- Keep your brain healthy with mental workouts.
- Stay socially connected.
- Eat a healthy diet – try the Mediterranean diet.
- Manage your stress.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Regular physical exercise to maintain your muscle mass.
This is intended as information and not medical advice. Everyone is different so please consult your medical professional.
Please share your experiences and tips for how you keep fit and healthy.