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Age Gracefully, Live Healthily

Aging is inevitable but healthy aging is do-able. With age, all vital organs start to lose its primary function. The body’s cells and tissues start to break down and become damaged over time.

What is Healthy Aging?

Healthy aging is a continuous process of optimizing opportunities to improve the quality of life throughout the life course. Diet and lifestyle choices may slow down or speed up the process of aging.

The Importance of Healthy Aging

  • Long lifespan
  • Lower risk of getting chronic diseases
  • Quick recovery from minor illnesses
  • Low chances of getting a fall and fracture
  • Lesser dependency on medication

The Consequences of Not Aging Well

Cardiovascular Health

Stiffening of the blood vessels and arteries are relatively commonly as we age. The heart needs to pump harder to supply blood to the whole body, thus increasing the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and other cardiovascular problems. [1]

Bones, Joints and Muscles

With age, bones tend to lose its density resulting in weakened bones that are more susceptible to fracture. Likewise, muscles will lose its strength and endurance over time leading to poor balance and unsteady gait.

Digestive Health

Medications and sedentary lifestyle may affect the functionality of intestines. Constipation and poor digestion are common.

Bladder and Urinary Tract

Urinary incontinence (inability to control bladder) is common due to the weakening of bladder and pelvic floor muscles.

Memory Skills

Brain function deteriorates with age. Both episodic and long-term memory decline over time, leading to poor memory.

Tips for Healthy Aging

Most people desire for a longer life to fulfil their wishes before they depart. However, not everyone is able to live a long and healthy life. If longevity is granted, what about vitality?

Below are some tips for healthy aging:

  • Maintain Social Connections

Meet up with old friends or participate in an activity together to energise your life and create new life experiences which you never had a chance when you were at younger age [2]

  • Be Physically Active

Regular exercise can lead to multiple health benefits such as:

✓ Better sleep

✓ Good appetite

✓ Lower risk of getting heart disease

✓ Enhanced strength and good balance to avoid fall

✓ Improved mental health to avoid dementia

  • Eat a Balanced Diet

Nutrients absorption may not be as good as younger days. It is important to replenish the body with adequate nutrients to support the repair of cells and tissues.

✓ Drink six to eight cups of water per day

✓ Avoid foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt

✓ Eat three main meals per day which include grains and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry as well as dairy products

References

  1. Aging: What to expect. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2023. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070
  2. Department of Health & Human Services. Healthy and active. Department of Health & Human Services; 2015. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/healthy-and-active-ageing

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