Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number
By Marian Connor
I was thinking about age. We presented a workshop last week about ageing well, I thought today I would share some notes from it. You won’t often hear me say this but with any luck we will all become a statistic, the one that illustrates how much longer we are all living.
For the first time in history the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5. Today worldwide there are 565 million people aged 65+ and their legion grows.
We certainly are living longer but are we living well? To thrive we need to pay attention to and take responsibility. It’s hard to admit but no one is coming to save you. We need to help ourselves.
Our quality of life and individual ageing process will be influenced in part by genetics, but to a much greater extent by the lifestyles we choose, the environment we inhabit and our attitudes to life and living. The time to address these things is NOW; you are never too young or too old to begin ageing well.
None of us want to look old. We would like to appear youthful forever and to a degree we have quite a lot of control over how we look thanks to better health care, cosmetics and better surgical procedures freely available today. Whatever you do, eventually you will look older. But you don’t have to be old!
A gradual decline into oblivion is not a given for us as we benefit from all those years we have added to our lifespan, particularly if we address our health in a holistic way. I would like to make some suggestions from 8 in the Universe’ 8 Elements.
Moving is the perfect way to combat ageing and helps prevent disease. For your brain there is direct biological connection between movement and cognition. When we learn new motor skills we challenge the brain. This nurtures neurons by creating a positive environment in which they can connect and survive.
Movement releases endorphins, the natural opioids of the brain associated with pain relief and pleasure which will help maintain calm for longer in stressful situations.
Moving uses calories, an ideal tool to help maintain a healthy body weight. So get a wriggle on and do something, walk, dance, garden, clean the windows, your body will thank you.
Try to make sure you get at least 6 good hours of sleep nightly. This will ensure all the beneficial hormones produced whilst you sleep have ample opportunity to be processed in the body.
Create moments of rest within the day by pausing to be in the moment. Here is a link to an exercise we did on Mindful Eating.
Quietening the mind deepens breath, increases oxygen uptake and slows heart rate, beneficial at any age but very nourishing to our bodies as we get older.
We should pay attention to our diet ensuring we tailor our food intake to the requirements of our bodies at specific times of our lives, but let’s not forget to nourish through our senses too.
Looking at beautiful things helps with our stress response. Admiring Art is good for your health.
Musical activity involves many areas of the brain making it an effective tool to aid learning and memory. Sensory nerves affected by sound can be activated to alleviate low mood and depression.
Aromas can create positive responses and affect hormone production. Mint and Rosemary (avoid Rosemary if you have hypertension) stimulate parts of the brain concerned with memory and learning.
As we age our bodies become more sensitive to things that do not serve us well. Think about the products you put on your skin as much as the food you ingest. And the feel and texture of the things you wear and put next to your skin because sensory receptors within our skin may also become more sensitive.
Remember ‘now’ is always the right time to change the odds in favour of a good life.
Aged 3 Albert Einstein began to speak.
Mozart learned to play the harpsichord.
Aged 20 Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft.
Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice.
Aged 60 Frida Birnbaum became the oldest woman to give birth to twins.
Aged 75 Barbara Hilary after surviving lung cancer became one of the oldest and the first black woman to reach the North Pole.
Aged 90 Chagall became the first living artist to exhibit at the Louvre.
Aged 101 Mary Hardison became the oldest woman to tandem paraglide.
I hope one day we are all able to agree with Madeleine L’Engle.
“The greatest thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
Image Tile/Header – Age Cube created by 8 in the Universe
Hyperlink – The Alchemy of 8 (a short blog about our 8 Elements) by 8 in the Universe
Hyperlink – Mindful Eating – Instagram by 8 in the Universe
Hyperlink- Admiring Art is good for your health by Nick Squires for The Telegraph 22nd April 2016
Hyperlink – Eat for your age by Jo Lewin for BBC Food
Photograph – Mary Hardison from Utah, aged 101 and officially the oldest woman to tandem paraglide – March 2012
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