Hello, 100!

Turning old gracefully isn’t something we read about often. Most things written about ageing are about how to turn back time. Here we’ll explore how changing the perspective you have on ageing can enrich your life, and your years.

Ageing is a natural thing your body does every day. Every single organism ages. Yet humans have turned the natural process of ageing into something to be dreaded, feared or stopped. Yet, no matter what kind of technology you try and use, your body will still age. On a cellular level the ageing process will take place – regardless of your physical appearance.

It’s understandable that a culture that glorifies youth would devalue growing old. After all, who wouldn’t want to be young, right? Wrong. If you’d give it a good think, I m sure you’d rather not be the 18 year old you were forever. The implications that focusing on looking & feeling young forever has on the lives of most people can range from mental issues to physical ailments. Stressing or worrying about one’s age can be a reason people develop chronic health conditions and is often the root of needless worries.

If you can change the way you think about ageing, you will be doing yourself & the people around you a huge favour. And it’s never too early to start embracing a positive attitude about growing old. Celebrate the years you and your family & friends get to live.

Let’s look at some things that can help you grow into your years wonderfully. The below list is an overview of what I personally believe to be beneficial. There is a huge list of things proven to help you grow older with ease, but these below appealed particularly to me. Please don’t take the below as complete: Your priorities will change over your lifetime and you are different to me, so explore things that you wish to add to reflect who you are. The aim is to focus on embracing your years & the beauty of each year while staying as healthy as possible.

Sense of Wonder

Be curious. Keeping a child-like sense of wonder allows us to see the world around us with different eyes. While some people get hung up on the things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things (e.g. that parking ticket, low phone battery) you can choose to focus your attention on more interesting things. My favourite moments of the day are finding myself in a state of awe. This can happen anywhere & be triggered by almost anything. Giving this natural sense of wonder plenty of space in my life, I believe, will support me get through my years more carefree.

Community Spirit

We are social beings. Yes, even introverts are. After all a lone wolf still needs its pact to thrive. However, I don’t believe that the larger the number of people in your life the better off you are. Having just a handful of people you truly trust & can rely on is enough to cover your basic social needs.

I truly believe in choosing your close friends wisely. Research has shown that the people we spend time with most influence us. It is particularly important to watch out if someone has a negative influence on you. If you have ever had a friend & felt depleted after spending time with them, you know what I mean. Do yourself a favour and make sure you give yourself some time to honestly evaluate the impact people in your life are having on you.

Mind Food

Staying fit mentally is just as important as any other area of your life when it comes to growing older. I believe a good balance between mental stimulation and down time is needed to make sure you feel your very best.

Meditation: Personally, I find meditation to be a great tool for learning to calm the mind, let go of continuous thoughts and to reset. Meditation offers a your mind a break and is so nourishing for the brain! Research shows that only 15 minutes of meditation a day supports brain functioning and enhances wellbeing. If you are new to meditation, I recommend you try different versions of meditation and find one that suits you best (walking, breathing, crystal & music meditations are all forms you can explore).

Skin Care

Your skin is your largest organ and would have been with you through thick & thin by the time you reach 100 (if you are lucky enough to become a centenarian). Taking care of your skin is a great way to make sure it protects you throughout your long life. These are some things you can do that your skin will love:

Be sun-wise: UV light is harmful to your skin and destroys healthy skin cells. Make sure you stay out of the sun when it’s its strongest (12:00 – 3:00PM). When you do spend time in the sun make sure you wear sunscreen & protective clothing. It’s also a good idea to nourish your skin after a beach day: apply plain Yogurt or Aloe Vera gel to your skin to give it a moisture boost.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise: Give your skin plenty of moisture – from the inside & outside. Drinking plenty of water is a good habit that will reap many benefits and nourish your skin from the inside. A good quality plant oil is usually a great choice to keep your skin supple & firm. Make sure your skin receives the right amount of moisture by adjusting your oils & creams to the season (e.g. in summer light jojoba oil may be enough, in winter you may want to switch to rich Avocado oil).

The products you use on your skin shouldn’t cause damage to the skin itself or other parts of your body. It’s never too late to start educating yourself about sustainable & healthier skin care products. Learning about healthy skin care products or switching to making your own are safe ways to make sure you are giving your skin the best.

Taking care of your skin from the outside is important, nourishing it from the inside with appropriate nutrition is something not only your skin will thank you for.

Nutrition

The importance of nutrition in staying healthy can’t be emphasised enough. I believe strongly that giving your body all the nutrients it needs to do what it does naturally is key to a long & healthy life. In our modern diets we often neglect the body’s needs, so most of us will have to put in effort to improve the quality of our meals. Below are some key things you can easily start to focus on without having to go crazy into meal prepping.

Protein: Make sure you are eating enough protein each day. A good guideline is between 0.70g/kg – 1.00g/kg; depending on your personal requirements (e.g. higher during pregnancy & muscle build-up). Being a vegetarian I’ve had to pay close attention to including protein in my meals & noticed a real change in the way I feel after increasing my protein intake. Good sources of vegetarian protein are: beans, pulses, quinoa & nuts.

Berries: Berries are full of anti-oxidants & vitamins and taste amazing! They support a clear complexion, are good for your tummy and have a large range of health benefits.

Green leafy things: All leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale & broccoli are great at keeping cardiovascular health at bay. You may not like the taste of some (Swiss chard I’m thinking of you!), but with the large number of green leafy veggies out there you should be able to find at least one that rocks your boat. All green leafy vegetables are high in fibre, phyto-chemicals, vitamins & minerals and play a vital part in keeping your body healthy.

Carrots & Cucumbers: A great snack are carrots & cucumbers! The beta-carotene in carrots are nourishing for the skin & increases its ability to protect cells from UV light. Which is even more important when you live in warmer, sunnier climates. Cucumbers are very soothing for your tummy & can support digestion. Which takes us to our next topic…

Poo-Talk

Keeping it regular means you are getting rid of those toxins and not building up waste in your body. Needless to say that the removal of toxins contributes towards a healthy body, which contributes to ageing better.

If you are not going regularly it is usually an indication that something is not working as it should in the digestive tract. I fully understand the complexity that can accompany the process of making a good poo. Your diet, hydration, stress-level & physical activity all influence how well you poop.

Things things that can help improve waste elimination are:

  • drinking at least 2.5L of water per day
  • eating plenty of fresh fruit & snacking on raw vegetables
  • eliminating or reducing your dairy intake
  • limiting processed foods & sugar
  • drinking herbal teas (e.g. chamomile) & green tea
  • yoga (with focus on poses that are specifically aimed at improving digestion)
  • going for a short walk after a meal

It can be challenging to get it just right, but when you find what works for you hold on tight – it may just make the difference you have been looking for in your wellbeing! As digestion only slows down with age, you’d be doing yourself a real favour in sorting any digestive issues out now.

Move it!

Your body is designed to keep you healthy & every little cell knows how to be a perfectly healthy cell. However, if we are not giving our bodies the raw ingredients to work, they are not able to keep us thriving. One of those key ingredients is movement: Physical activity keeps you strong & makes you feel good. Scientific journals frequently publish studies that have shown the positive impact of physical activity on the body & mind.

You don’t have to become an athlete to benefit from exercise. Simply staying active will do the trick! The most important thing to remember is that every step counts: each time you take the stairs instead of the elevator you are doing yourself a favour. The accumulation of small activities adds up and they all sum up to a healthier you.

There is plenty of material out there that can inspire you to get moving. However, the most important factor is whether you enjoy the activity! Sticking to a lifetime of something you enjoy (e.g. dancing, hiking) is more beneficial in the long-term than starting a running routine you will only keep up for 3 months. Find which exercise makes you happily get yourself off the couch – no matter what it may be.

Keep in mind that whatever good habit you develop, it will have a positive effect on multiple parts of your body. Drinking water will not only make sure your skin is well hydrated, but also flush out toxins, boost your immune system, relieve fatigue and support many other functions in your body.

Overall, growing old gracefully is about spending time with your body & mind and establishing habits that work with best who you are – because nothing will feel better than a life lived on your terms.

Happy ageing!

BLUE MONKEY & PINEAPPLE.

Note: Please don’t use this article as medical advice. Seek a physician who will be able to give you  suitable information if you require treatment of any kind.

Sources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/protein

https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201409/moving-your-body-is-good-your-mind 

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