The 7 secrets to slowing down ageing
1. Worry less about losing weight
It's a mistake to assume a slim physique is always the sign of a healthy body. In reality, the ‘overweight = unhealthy’ equation really isn't that simple.
In fact, research now shows that the strategies that lost you weight in your 20s, 30s or 40s can actually lead to bone fractures, deteriorated muscles and weight gain when you reach your 50s, 60s or 70s.
So what's the answer? Well, instead of eating to lose weight, try to focus on eating to achieve good nutrition and disease prevention.
2. Eat fewer calories, but more food
Seems like this must be too good to be true doesn't it? But this is the reality if you want to slow down the ageing process.
Nutrition researchers have found that piling your plate with fruits, veg, beans and whole grains, and downplaying high-calorie fare such as burgers, is the key to health later in life.
3. Exercise to slow down ageing
Sounds obvious doesn't it? But you really can't downplay the importance of exercise for a healthy and long life.
In fact, actively not exercising nearly doubles your risk of a heart attack. Someone dies every 15 minutes in the UK alone as a direct result of not exercising according to the British Heart Foundation.
4. Find something interesting to do
It's official. Having hobbies and interests really does make you live longer.
A series of surprising studies also discovered that optimism was more important to ageing well than many other more traditional measures of health and wellness.
Not bad for an afternoon at the bridge table.
5. Connect with friends and family
There's an amazing amount of science behind this one. Spending time with loved ones has been shown to actually change the biochemistry of our brains.
Research has even begun to prove that spending time alone has the same effect on our brains as physical pain.
The theory also extends to our four-legged friends. Spending time with pets lowers stress level, which in turn boosts health and our chances of a long and healthy life.
6. Focus on loving your life
Dutch research based on nearly 1,000 people aged 65 to 85 found that optimism later in life can dramatically enhance your chances of living to enjoy more of it.
Staying happy in the face of challenges builds up a reserve of what researchers are calling ‘stress resiliency’.
Without this your mind and body can become steeped in stress hormones, leading to depression. Pessimism can even make conditions such as glaucoma, rosacea and diabetes worse.
7. Stress your mind in positive ways
If you are convinced that exhaustion, Alzheimer's and forgetfulness are inevitable with ageing, then science has news for you.
Exercising your brain regularly could be the key to avoiding these symptoms. Neuroscientists believe that stressing the brain in ways similar to muscles during exercise can produce similar benefits—a stronger, fitter, more flexible brain.
In a study of 3,000 people aged 65+, 10 hours’ training over several weeks resulted in significant and prolonged increases in cognitive ability.