Secrets to healthy ageing

Liji Varghese

What’s in the age? It’s just another number, or so it is said when a person adds on a year to his/her life. But some how, the number becomes a matter of concern after 60’s as one begins to feel the physical, psychological, and social changes.

With the proportion of people aged over 60 years growing fast– from 2000 until 2050 the numbers are expected to triple to 2 billion from 600 million – the health of elderly has become a global issue.

Change in physical appearance like wrinkles, graying hair, delayed reactions; restricted movement and proneness to chronic illnesses all mark the onset of the advancing years.

Though ageing is a gradual process and the changes associated with it cannot be stopped or reversed, yet by accepting the changes and realizing the potential for physical and social well being one can definitely slow down the effects.

Read on to unravel the secret to ageing gracefully….

Eat healthy

What you eat has a major impact on how you feel. With the advancing age the body’s metabolism slows down and your food preferences also change gradually with your taste buds asking for superior flavoured food. The key is to understand the changing needs of your body and maintain a balanced diet. Other than three meals a day it’s important to supply the body with enough fibre as digestive system becomes comparatively slower. Also try to keep the body hydrated with regular fluid intake.

Put some extra effort into making your food look and taste good and try eating with others to make your dinning enjoyable.


Old age results in loss of muscle mass, reduced strength and decline in functional capacity. Exercise helps in improving metabolism, which tends to be slow in the later ages of life, thus helps burn extra calories and maintain a healthy body weight.

Moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes every day helps improve muscle mass and bone strength.

Other than enhancing mobility and flexibility in elderly, exercise also helps alleviate symptoms of chronic condition.

Sleep well

Change in sleeping patterns is common as you age. Poor sleep accompanied by unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and other medical problems contribute to sleeplessness in elderly people.

Lack of sleep can result in memory problems, depression, night time falls and increased risk of chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight issues.

A good night’s sleep is essential for ones physical and emotional well being. Seven to eight hours sleep helps improve brain function, allows body to repair damaged cells and refreshes immune system.

Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool so you can have a comfortable and peaceful sleep.

Keep your mind active

Read, write, play crosswords, listen to music, indulge in group activities, learn new skills, try variation in your daily activity to keep your mind active as your body. Giving your brain new challenges everyday helps prevent cognitive decline and memory problems.

Insure your old age

This tip is something that you need to follow in your middle ages so that you can have an easy and tension free old age, wherein you don’t have to depend on anyone for your financial needs. Life becomes much easier when there are no financial worries. Post-retirement when there is no or little scope of income, insurance helps meet the daily expenses without having to worry much.

Other than the regular pension plan it is important to have a health plan that covers your medical expenses. While investing in such a plan it important to make sure that the insurer covers you for major diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS as the cost of treatment is much higher.

Stay active & connected

Latter part of life is associated with less leisure time physical activity (like walking, gardening, swimming etc) and socialising. Since, the body tends to feel the fatigue easily people avoid indulging in activity that they once used to enjoy. Go out, do things that you enjoy the most, make new friends, volunteer for community work and get involved in recreational activities.

Enjoy the essence of life

The advancing ages does not mean end of life, rather it is the second innings – a new beginning, where you can be at ease, sit back, think and analyse things you have done and invest time in activities you long wanted to do. Express yourself; accept the changes that you have no control on instead of stressing over it, face these challenges and face your limitations with dignity.

Healthy ageing is all about continuously reinventing yourself and maintaining your zest of life.