Top 5 Things to Know About Healthy Aging
Have you recently watched the documentary about the Blue Zones on Netflix? The Blue Zones are regions around the world that have the highest number of Centenarians living in one area. After watching this documentary, combined with my own personal knowledge about the principles for healthy aging, here are my 5 tips:
- Have a Purpose
The individuals who have chosen to remain semi-retired may be onto something very important. The majority of individuals who have become centenarians have a strong sense of purpose. These individuals often find ways where they can contribute to the greater good and/or be of needed service. Whether it is paid or unpaid work, being a contributing member of society remains a very crucial component of aging well. Keep that mind engaged!
- Maintain a Social Network
A centenarian’s social network could be comprised of family and friends. It is important to maintain these relationships throughout life to avoid isolation. A social network comprised of family and friends can often be a source of financial and/or emotional support in times of need.
- Stay Active
Think of all the ways you can get your body moving. Staying active does not necessarily mean that you have to go to the gym and go on a treadmill, bike or lift weights. Do what you love but make sure you minimize the time you spend sitting down and/or remain in a sedentary position.
- Adopt a Plant-based Diet
A plant-based diet does not mean that an individual has to go vegan and/or vegetarian. Think of dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean and/or MIND diet. Both these patterns are focused on the consumption of whole grains, an abundance of different coloured fruits and vegetables, beans and/or legumes, nuts/seeds, good quality oil with a lesser focus on red meat and/or animal-sourced protein intake.
- Manage stress levels
Maintain a strong positive outlook on life. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can share laughter with you. If you to keep stress levels under control, it is more likely that you are able to have good quality sleep consistently. Many individuals find an escape to nature can be a method for stress reduction. When in nature, individuals can often spend time with others and be physically active at the same time.
Final Thoughts: I recently counselled an individual who is on the verge of turning 80 years old. By appearance and/or first impression, she does not look a day over 50. She recently told me that she’s now hoping she can live to 105 years old instead of 100 years old. What is her secret? She is living proof that someone is able to eat a plant-based diet, be physically active on a daily basis, enjoy nature, and spend lots and lots of time with friends. She thoroughly enjoys the process of preparing a meal which includes grocery shopping, cooking, and eating in the presence of friends. Although she is retired for the most part, she has maintained her license so that she is able to advise individuals when needed.
Gerstel, J. (2023, Sept 13). Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones: 6 Longevity Tips from Dan Buettner’s New Netflix Series. https://www.everythingzoomer.com/health/2023/09/13/live-to-100-secrets-of-the-blue-zones-6-longevity-tips-from-dan-buettners-new-netflix-series/
About the Author
Rowena Leung is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. For almost 15 years, Rowena has practiced dietetics in a variety of settings including: family health team, diabetes education centre, long term care home, retirement home, industry, media, private practice and hospital. Providing care for the aging population has been a personal passion of Rowena’s since completing her undergraduate studies at Western University; therefore, Rowena has been involved in providing patient centred care for the aging population for almost 20 years.
Rowena is also very passionate about mentoring and educating individuals. She is currently enrolled at OISE and is pursuing a Masters of Education in Adult Education and Community Development. Rowena looks forward to sharing her practical knowledge with students.
If you’re looking to learn more about healthy aging, McMaster Continuing Education offers the RCM 101 Healthy Aging: Health, Wellness and Nutrition course to enhance your knowledge in this area.Business, Health, What's New