• Posted by CERC India
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Healthy ageing into your 80s and beyond

With life expectancy increasing because of the wonders of modern medicine, the important question is: how to grow old staying healthy so that we can actually enjoy those extra years. The goals are: remaining independent, keeping mentally sharp and staying mobile as long as possible.

1. Managing your health

Successful ageing requires lining up good health care and managing it smartly. There are three aspects here: finding a good primary care doctor; managing your medications and getting a proper health insurance policy. It is good to review your medications regularly with your doctor and report any side effects or problems.

2. Keeping your body strong

A fitness plan that maintains strength, flexibility and balance is vital. One of the ongoing effects of ageing is loss of muscle mass. Ageing also brings declines in aerobic capacity and flexibility. And, those factors together increase your risk of falls—at a time in life when bones tend to be more brittle. Exercise after consulting your doctor.

3. Staying mentally sharp

Losing cognitive abilities is the No.1 fear people have about ageing. Remaining physically fit, staying socially engaged and learning something new are three ways of staving off this risk. In fact, the key to brain fitness is to establish new neural connections by taking on fresh mental challenges. Try learning a new foreign language or taking lessons on a new musical instrument.

4. Having a sense of purpose

The notion of living a life of purpose and having a clear direction in life – setting large goals that direct your day-to-day activities – is protective on a number of fronts, say researchers. Not only does it contribute to healthy aging, but it may also stave off early death, according to a study of 7,000 Americans. It may be because purposeful people look after their health better and are physically fitter. Having a life worth living has long been linked with healthy ageing in several cultures, from Japan to the US.

Sources: Consumer Reports, Psychological Science
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