2022 is now well underway and a lot of us have moved past the “New Year, New Me” phase. For most of us, good intentions only get us so far and it’s incredibly easy to let old, not so positive habits creep back into your routine. It’s important to push against this however. With a new year you can set yourself new challenges, but this shouldn’t just be your focus in January. All year round we should be examining our lifestyle and checking in with ourselves. As we age, these healthy practices become more and more essential for our overall wellbeing.
In a recent article published on The Times, Anna Maxted outlines the ageing process explored in depth by Professor Rose Anne Kenny. Ageing doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, you yourself have the biggest influence over the ageing biology. By adjusting and improving lifestyle choices, we can equip ourselves with tools to reduce the severity of the ageing process and maintain both high levels of mobility, and mental and physical wellness. At LifeDock, we recognise that "growing old gracefully" is a slightly idealistic concept that's not achievable for everybody. However, with certain positive lifestyle changes, we believe that everyone can slow the ageing process and live better for longer in older age.
Kenny highlights several key factors for slowing ageing in her research, and we want to focus and expand on these each week in a blog series. Read on and check out our range of courses aimed at helping elderly and vulnerable people with mobility and exercise here.
Have you ever met anyone who you were surprised to find out was years younger or older than you expected? Sometimes our mental age doesn't alway reflect our physical age, and this has a lot to do with outlook and attitude. Attitude counts for a lot when navigating life. Whether its challenges at work, home or your own mental hurdles, having a strong positive attitude can have a huge impact. The science backs this up as well. According to Dr. Kenny's research, older adults with negative perceptions about ageing are likely to die seven and a half years younger and this is linked to higher rates of heart disease. Poor mental health, a negative outlook and bad attitude generally leads to stress, and stress is a huge cause of health problems later in life.
Western society and media has successfully perpetuated negative stereotypes surrounding ageing for many decades. Advertising from as early as the 1930s illustrates this distaste for ageing and now we're in a generation of filters, fillers and face-editing apps and this sensibility shows no signs of slowing down. Ageism permeates our culture, so it's no surprise so many people face ageing anxiety.
However, studies show that having a positive attitude about growing old actually prevent health problems and signs of ageing. By reframing our views on growing old, we can actually slow down the process.
Consider the things that make you happy and focus on prioritising those. Life truly is too short to be wasting time on things we don't get any joy from. In this position, you are much more open to the things you love, to determine what new things you want and to consider the possibility of new or better opportunities.
No one can fully prevent the ageing process, as much as they try! It's an inevitable, universal experience, and is probably the one thing every single person on this plan has in common. To accept and adapt to this change is a key step in having a positive attitude, By acknowledging the and embracing the journey of growing old, and all the good and bad that comes with it, you are in a much more resilient position and are able to learn and grow even more. If you perceive ageing negatively or deny it altogether, this creates stress to your mind which in turn contributes to a negative headspace and ageing symptoms.
Negative perceptions of ageing are outdated and the positive ageing movement is one that has gathered momentum over the last few years. By tapping into this movement and bringing yourself forward into a positive frame of mind, you can open yourself up to a huge range of opportunities and experiences. Research local sports and activity centres, join a society or start up a new hobby - something that will challenge you and break the status quo. As long as it's manageable and comfortable for whatever ability level you're currently at, there's no reason you can't start now.
Lifedock is the UK’s leading instructor training provider of creative, fun and effective physical activity programmes. They are uniquely designed to bring safe and effective exercise for a range of special populations, including frail and elderly, young people, children, people with learning and physical disability and people with mental health conditions. Courses include Chair based Exercise Instructor, Drum Based Exercise Instructor and Tai Chi Instructor (Chi Me) . Click here for the full range of our courses.