Even aging gracefully doesn’t mean anybody likes getting older, but as French entertainer Maurice Chevalier said, “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternatives”. The alternative being death, of course :).
Life expectancy in the West has increased by 33 years on average since the beginning of the last century, thanks to advances in medicine and better living conditions.
So don’t we at least partly have the responsibility of ensuring that these years are rich and beautiful?
Staying healthy and beautiful after having turned fifty, like me, is possible. So here are my proven strategies to stay young or age gracefully, depending on how you choose to look at it.
To paraphrase the famous quote of US journalist Michael Pollan, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”, one should have a balanced diet consisting of fresh food, especially of plant origin, and one should eat in moderation.
Scientists have calculated that every additional 10% of weight corresponds to one and a half years of aging.. But you should not resort to drastic diets to reach your ideal weight: you can get there with the right combination of physical activity and proper diet.
It seems that carrying out two and a half hours of moderate physical activity or one hour 15 minutes of intense activity per week is enough to stay in shape. In my case, I swim twice a week and walk everyday at lunchtime to break the sedentary nature of my work. I also don’t spend too much time watching TV in the evening.
Every night, our biological systems rest and repair themselves. At least seven hours of sleep a night (but not more than nine!) is recommended.
Not letting petty or huge problems bother you becomes all the more important as you grow older. I learned how to manage my stress through regular meditation and yoga.
To think that you are healthy isn’t enough; it should also be measured. To be on the safe side, I go to my family doctor and my gynecologist once a year for a full medical examination. Once every two years, I get my eyesight tested and I visit my dentist regularly (sigh).
The sun is a valuable ally but we must also protect ourselves from it. I never step outside without applying a good face cream and without my sunglasses (which also help to hide the wrinkles ;)).
Regular participation in fun-filled activities with family and friends is a must for emotional well-being. It’s also very important to stop complaining, so that others may have fun with us…
You never stop learning. Working towards a long-term plan is proof of mental health and happiness.
Living longer, also means learning how to deal with the little problems of everyday life. Cultivating detachment and a sense of humour allows us to put everything into perspective and enjoy more fully what life has in store for us.