LONGEVITY: How to age actively
BEING healthy, physically active and socially engaged throughout your life has many benefits, especially as you grow older.
Some simple tips to help you to achieve healthy and active ageing include:
1/ Maintain a balanced diet. This is important for a healthy body and healthy brain
2/ Do regular physical activity. This is essential for your body and mind. Regular physical activity builds muscle and helps to control weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, pain, as well as bone and joint problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and help prevent falls and injury
3/ Actively participate socially and engage with others. This contributes to your overall health and wellbeing by strengthening your sense of belonging and creating social relationships.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET?
Eat a variety of foods from different groups. This means trying to eat:
- Fruit and vegetables - two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day
- Foods such as bread, cereal, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods, preferably wholegrain or wholemeal
- Milk and dairy foods - use low fat milk and yoghurt and hard cheeses
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans such as broadbeans, soybeans and lentils and other non-dairy sources of protein
- Fish - at least two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish such as trout, salmon and sardines
- Smaller amounts of food and drink that are high in fat or sugar.
- It is also essential to drink lots of water and other fluids in order to keep the body hydrated.
WHAT TYPES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SHOULD I DO?
It is important to remain active as you age. For active ageing you should try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, preferably all, days to help keep your heart, lungs, muscles and bones working well. It's a good idea to do a range of activities that help with fitness, strength, flexibility and balance.
WHAT TYPES OF SOCIAL ACTIVITIES SHOULD I DO?
Joining a local group or taking part in regular social activities with family, friends and neighbours is a good way to keep involved and connected with the community.
There are also social support services that can help you to maintain an active social life by having someone visit you in your home, or by arranging visits and outings in the community.
CAN I STILL ENJOY ALCOHOL?
Alcohol affects each individual in a different way, so there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. Always drink alcohol in moderation.
If you choose to drink you should be aware that there is always some risk to your health and social wellbeing associated with drinking. To minimise this risk you should:
1/ Consult your doctor if you are taking certain medications (either prescription or over the counter), or have any physical or mental health problems that could be made worse by drinking alcohol. It may be especially important for older people to note that alcohol can affect your balance
2/ Drink no more than two standard drinks on any day.
For information on alcohol, see DrinkWise Australia.
CAN I SMOKE?
There is no healthy level of smoking, it harms people of all ages. Scientific evidence shows that if you smoke you face much higher risks of death and or illness from many different cancers, heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, emphysema and other respiratory diseases, pregnancy complications and many more conditions. Those who smoke are also less physically fit and have more breathing problems.
Quitting at any age has benefits, with the largest reduction in risk in those who quit the earliest. If you would like some help to quit smoking or some more information you can visit Quit Now.
A personally controlled eHealth record is a secure online summary of your health information. You control what goes into it, and who is allowed to access it. Your eHealth record allows you and your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to view and share your health information to provide you with the best possible care.
For more information, see the Personally Controlled eHealth Record System.