As we encounter the natural process of ageing, let’s lead a more fulfilling life by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Changes in our body
Bodily changes occur as we grow older. Being aware of these changes and taking action can improve our overall health. Changes include the following:
- Skin becomes thinner and wrinkles are more noticeable
- Bones shrink and become more prone to fractures
- Joints are inflamed more easily, due to wear and tear
- Teeth become more brittle and gums recede from the teeth, resulting in tooth decay and gum diseases
- Hair becomes thinner and nails may become brittle
- Hearing loss may occur due to changes in nerves of hearing
- Vision can become out of focus as our lens loses its accuracy
- Body’s immune system can become weaker as blood cells that fight infections become less effective
- Lapses of memory occurring more commonly
With the increase in modern technology these days, having a sedentary lifestyle (“Want to burn more calories? Please stand up!”) is becoming more common. Sedentary behaviour such as sitting down to watch television or to use a computer and lying down for long period of time is hazardous for health. Such behaviour will possibly increase the risk of chronic diseases and increase obesity. A research on sedentary men and women has shown that those who are more active in walking are less likely to become physically disabled than those who are less active in walking.
It is never too late to start, so try to limit the amount of time sitting down and move more frequently, such as dancing to some good music in your living room when you are relaxing at home.
Aging is inevitable, but do not despair. We can still maintain our vigour and age gracefully by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
Scientific research has shown that exercising is beneficial for health, no matter what age you are at. Exercising regularly can reduce risk of major illness, improve sleep quality and reduce risk of stress and depression, just to name a few health benefits.
It is easy to neglect exercising amidst our busy lives. Nevertheless, older adults should try to exercise regularly to stay healthy. Try incorporating moderate aerobic activities (“Exercise Guide for a Healthy Lifestyle”) into your everyday life. Instead of driving, why not take a walk or cycle to your nearby supermarket? Get off one bus stop before your destination. For more vigorous aerobic activities to raise your heart rate, play a game of tennis every week.
In addition to aerobic activities, it is also important to engage in muscle-strengthening activities to maintain strong bones and regulate blood and sugar level. You can strengthen your muscles by doing push-ups, sit-ups or yoga. For those who have a green finger, heavy gardening such as digging works too. Muscle-strengthening exercises improve your flexibility as well, so do these activities on the same day or different days from your aerobic activities – whatever works for you.