The good news is that we’re living longer here in the UK. Advances in medicine, active lifestyles, and better knowledge about what’s bad for us, are seeing more and more of us enjoying long retirements. The challenge is to stay healthy as we age so that we can make the most of that extra time. Here are 10 great pieces of advice that will help you feel better in both body and mind.
Get yourself checked out
You get your teeth checked regularly at the dentist. You wouldn’t neglect your eyesight. So if your hearing started to fail, why would you ignore the problem and try to work around it? Specialists in hearing healthcare – such as Hidden Hearing – recommend a comprehensive hearing assessment every 12 months, to pick up on any changes or problems. In many cases the hearing test is free of charge, and can be done at home if you are not able to get into town, so there really is no excuse.
Cut your meat consumption
Although there are good things that come from eating red meat, such as protein, iron and vitamin B12, eating too much of it can be seriously detrimental to your health. Red, and processed meats, such as bacon, sausages and ham, are proven to cause cancer and heart disease. Few of us carnivores would be happy about cutting steaks or bacon butties out of our diets forever, but try to keep it below 40g a day and you should be okay, statistically-speaking anyway. Eating less meat is also good for the environment, of course.
Get a move on
Try to do at least 15 minutes of moderate exercise every day. That could be as little as doing some digging in the garden, walking to the shops and back at a brisk pace, or using the stairs at work instead of the lift. This will keep your heart, circulation and muscles in better working order. If you don’t have a particular form of exercise you perform regularly then look into what sports are on in your local area – you may find something to your taste you’ve never considered before.
Drinking plenty of water keeps us regular, and helps to eliminate toxins in the body. You should aim for around 8-10 glasses every day, which is less than one an hour, so easily done. Drinking less alcohol and coffee also helps, as these dehydrate you.
Eat your greens
Along with your water consumption, keep an eye on how much fruit and vegetables you eat. Try to consume five servings every day, which is much easier than it may sound. Start with a sliced banana or apple at breakfast with yoghurt or cereal, with some natural fruit juice. That’s two already. Add in some green beans or broccoli at lunchtime and you’re more than halfway there.
Supplements boost your diet with important substances such as minerals and fats. A popular one is Omega 3, which leads to better skin and reduces inflammation. Remember though that whether taken in pill or liquid form, they are not a viable substitute for a healthy diet.
It’s not all about having a healthy body. Feeling good spiritually is vital, and one of the best ways to do that is to socialise regularly with other people. Meet friends, or make new ones, so you have someone to support you in times of need, to have a meal with, to give advice advice, or just for sharing a good healthy laugh.
Getting the right amount of sleep every night is essential, or you can be left feeling rundown, depressed and prone to stress and illness. If you have difficulty sleeping, then potential solutions are installing blackout curtains in your bedroom, cutting out screens such as iPhones and tablets before bedtime, and taking a daily nap. If your problem is an overactive mind that won’t let you drift off, it can help to meditate or do yoga, or to keep a notepad by your bed to write thoughts down and get them out of your head.
Plan your meals
When you walk into the supermarket to do the weekly shop with only a vague idea of what meals you want to prepare, it’s a recipe for unhealthy eating. Every week you should come up with a plan for the meals you’re going to cook for at least five of the seven days; write down the ingredients, and stick to it. Some flexibility is necessary obviously, but this should be a real help, especially if you’re dieting. Also remember that it’s never a good idea to go food shopping with an empty stomach as this leads to impulsive purchases of junk.
Exercise your mind
Keeping the brain active can help fight Alzheimer’s. Practise Sudoku or crossword puzzles, try learning a new skill or language, or just read regularly. Anything that keeps the neurons firing!