How to stay young

How to stay young

During 2016, the BBC aired a programme in the UK about how to stay young. The litmus test was to see how quickly you could stand up from a sitting position on the floor. Those that could get up quickly and easily without using their hands would live the longest. Those of us who are still sitting down there on a picnic blanket, well, we need to do some work!

With that in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay young. Which of these will work for you?

1. Relax

Hopefully you’ll have a long and happy retirement, and after years of giving your all, now is the time to kick back and relax. You’ll have ample opportunity to read all the books on your ‘to-be-read’ pile, swim, attend yoga and Pilates classes, perhaps pop into Tai Chi, and try meditation or mindfulness. Get out your easel and learn to paint, or invest in a hot tub. Take short breaks or long holidays. Give yourself permission to take time out and enjoy life. You’ve earned it after all.

2. Consider your diet

All your life you’ve been told how vital a good diet is, but as we age it becomes even more important. Being overweight is bad – you know that, but what about the invisible fat in your body? As we age, fat is stored around our organs, more so in women than in men. If you eat a high fat, high sugar diet you are running the risk of fatty liver disease, or storing fat around your heart or kidneys. It’s not ideal. Try eating high resistance starch, found in lentils and chickpeas, and see if that helps. A vegan diet is the healthiest of all as it reduces the risk of cancer, stroke and heart attacks. Too much animal protein will speed up ageing.

3. Watch what you put on your skin

Artificial cosmetics play havoc with the skin. Pay attention to the ingredients in the cosmetics you use in everything from soap and shampoos, to mascara and face cream. Many brands (even those household names we trust) contain toxins and your body has to work hard to remove them from your system – easier to do when we’re young. Now is the time to use natural cosmetics. A simple google search will help you learn more about natural remedies you can make in your own kitchen, costing next to nothing, and what’s more you will be amazed at the results.

4. Don’t forget to go nutty

Nuts can protect us from the risk of a heart attack. Research suggests that people who eat one handful of nuts just five times a week, have half the risk of heart attack compared to those who don’t. Walnuts are the best, so tuck in!

5. Move around more!

Again, you’ve been told this since you were a tot, but it becomes ever more important. If we want to avoid muscle shrinkage and weakening of our bones and muscles, exercise is the answer. Dancing is the best option of all because it improves balance, flexibility, stamina and muscle strength. Exercise boosts serotonin (the happy hormone) which means you’ll feel better, the more you do. It will help you battle anger and depression, and give you a fitness boost, meaning you’ll have more energy to do what you like in the evenings, and you’ll sleep better!

6. Keep a pet

Animals have been found to significantly reduce stress among owners. It gives us a real boost to have someone who loves us, so there’s no better companion than a dog or a cat. Dogs are especially useful as we age, because they have to be exercised and that ensures we go out and about, keeping fit and active.

7. Positive mental attitude

Now more than ever, a positive mental attitude is key to keeping you young. Optimism adds years to your life. If you’re happy and you know it, you can live up to seven years longer than a pessimist. If you embrace old age gracefully, some research suggests you’re at less risk of heart attack (presumably because you’re less stressed and your blood pressure remains stable!).

In addition to this, you can make a difference to your life by using positive affirmation. You need to be your own best friend and make certain you feel good about yourself. Use positive self-talk to boost yourself up. Tell yourself you’re looking good, and that you can do what you want. You can boost your own self-esteem and ensure your remaining years are full of joyous activities and experiences. You still have potential and you deserve to be happy.

8. Keep your brain active

By keeping your brain engaged you’ll ensure your concentration and memory are in top shape. It’s never been easier to do this. You have unlimited access to crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaws, word search and the like, but in this computer savvy age, you may enjoy computer games too – and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to be social you can get out to a pub quiz, or something similar, and remember you’re never too old to start learning a new skill, subject or language. Ask at your local library for access to classes or courses in your area.

9. Resist social isolation

As we age, and the people we have known and loved are lost to us, it can be tempting to retreat from the world. While it is perfectly alright to have time away, be wary of becoming lonely. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone and feeling sad about it. Taking up a new hobby or joining a class, or engaging in social activities can introduce you to people with similar interests to yours and it’s a good excuse for a cup of coffee and a chinwag.

10. Sleep well

Nothing makes us look older than a poor night’s sleep. If you maintain a schedule so that you always sleep at the same time every day, your body will respond. You’ll sleep better, and while you do so, the body will discard all your old cells and create new ones. It’s fine to have a short nap during the day. If you are sleeping badly, take a look at your bedroom and see if you can freshen it up and remove anything that prevents you sleeping well.

A good night’s sleep will help you fight the fatigue and leave you ready and willing to take on another healthy and active day. Use this energy in conjunction with our other tips, and you’ll be fighting fit into very old age!

Tom VermeerschCreated by Tom Vermeersch Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

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