As we get older, we might start to worry more about looking after ourselves. We might focus more on maintaining a healthy body, looking after our health and our appearance. But what are some practical steps you can take to age well?
High levels of stress have been linked to more wrinkles, even a predisposition to certain diseases and serious illnesses. Reducing stress levels could have positive effects on your body and could potentially slow down signs of ageing.
The Mental Health Foundation provides lots of helpful information on stress and how to help yourself through a period of stress. You can also try out some of the following methods for stress prevention.
Get a good night's sleep
Poor sleep can have negative effects on our hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. Not only that but it’s also associated with weight gain and increased disease risk. While a good night’s sleep can help improve your exercise performance, eat less and be generally healthier.*
If you would like to help improve your sleeping habits, here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
The emotional benefits of meditation can include:
- Learning to be present and live in the moment
- Building better stress management skills
- Increased self-awareness
- The ability to reduce negative emotions
- Increased patience and tolerance
Yoga is thought to be an excellent means of reducing stress. Stretching is also great for our muscles, posture and flexibility.** There are lots of benefits of yoga for older people to make it worthwhile.
Open up when you’re feeling down
If you’re feeling stressed, chat to a family member or close friend. Sometime’s just getting things off your chest can do a world of good. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to a professional, you could try an online therapy session.
If you’re feeling lonely, take a look at our article on how to maintain your social circle during retirement.
Maintaining a healthy body
As we age, our body goes through a lot of changes. Ageing can affect our digestive system, our skin, hair and teeth. It can also affect our mobility, flexibility and cognitive abilities. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take that could help slow down the effects of ageing on your body.
A nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy body. Certain vitamins and nutrients are thought to help with some of the potential negative effects of ageing such as ageing skin, inflammation, digestive issues, memory loss and ageing-related issues. Here are some resources to help you get a better idea of which foods could do you good come old age:
- 10 Anti-Aging Foods to Support Your 40s-and-Beyond Body
- What to Eat to Slow Ageing
- 30 Anti-Aging Foods for Women That'll Keep You Feeling Young
- 33 Foods That Fight Ageing from the Inside Out
It can be vital to do some form of exercise as you get older. The type of exercise you should do will depend on your level of fitness and your physical ability. It could be something as simple as taking a walk once a day or something more intense like swimming or cycling.
Movement can help us stay flexible and strong as we age. Here are some helpful resources and exercise guidelines for older people:
- Exercise as You Get Older - NHS
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults - NHS
- Exercises for Older Adults
- 6 Simple But Essential Exercises for Older People
Looking after your appearance
The effects of ageing are often visible on our skin, hair and teeth. But what can you do to help reduce signs of ageing in your appearance?
Vitamins for healthy hair and skin
There are lots of vitamins and supplements that can help maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. Holland & Barret have a section dedicated to this but there is plenty of information online about which vitamins are best for youthful hair and skin.
Always aim to get the vitamins and nutrients you need through a healthy diet and if you would like to start taking supplements, you should speak with your GP for more information on what’s best for you.
Keeping hydrated is good for our body but it could also help your skin - and hydrated skin could mean fewer visible wrinkles. If you’re not drinking enough water, make a conscious effort to drink more. You could start by drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning to kick off the day.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy products. As long as you’re drinking enough water and regularly moisturizing, you can pick up a cheap lotion from your local pharmacy. Try to find a light day time moisturizer for the mornings and a night cream to pop on before bed. Here’s more on how to look after your skin in your 60s and 70s.
Reduce or quit bad habits
Quitting smoking can have countless positive effects on your body. When we quit smoking, our bodies tend to recover over time. Our breathing can improve, we feel less lethargic and run down, we are stronger and healthier than before. You can read more about the benefits of quitting smoking here.
Not only does quitting smoking decrease our risk of developing smoking-related illnesses such as certain cancers, heart attacks and strokes, but it can also have noticeable effects on our appearance. Smoking can stain our skin, nails and teeth. When you quit, you are helping to reduce these negative effects. If you are thinking about quitting, the NHS have lots of useful resources on their website.
Reduce alcohol consumption
There are plenty of reasons to cut down on alcohol consumption. More energy, better sleep, better skin and a smaller waistline are just some of these benefits. Get to know your alcohol units and read up on facts and advice from the NHS.
Ageing gracefully with better habits
If you are willing to take some of this advice on board, you could find yourself feeling and looking better as you age. Small changes to your daily habits could make a big difference. As long as you eat well, sleep well, keep moving and drink enough water, you’re well on your way to ageing gracefully.
*17 Proven Tips to Help you Sleep Better at Night, Healthline, 2020
** Elderly Stretching Exercises Benefits Health in Numerous Ways