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The Selwyn Institute

In the spirit of ageing well

How to age well—read an expert’s top 10 tips

It is never too late to activate programmes and practices to remain engaged and excited about life. 

Think always of the fact that even though, like everyone else, you’re getting older but that could also mean better. 

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Professor Manfred Diehl has proposed there are 10 tips to consider to grow old with a flourish.

1. Use it or lose it

Physical activity is a positive undertaking on many levels. Devoting at least 30 minutes each day to move, or engage with more formal exercise, is good for the brain, bones, muscles and joints. A regular routine can also be a chance to socialize. If you’re starting from scratch make sure you don’t overdo things—start slowly and build up your capabilities. 

2. Mind work-out

Your brain needs exercise to remain sharp and stimulated. Never stop discovering and being challenged. Start from activities you love to do such as reading, writing, conversation or debate. Keep thinking and don’t be thwarted if sometimes the synapses don’t engage as smoothly as they used to. 

3. The wealth of health

The key messages about adopting a healthy lifestyle never change—eating well and sensibly, getting enough sleep, keeping your weight under control, no smoking and moderate drinking. 

4. Keep connected

Not just with your spouse, or partner, but with family, friends and your community as long as that is not at the expense of your privacy. Keep abreast of what is going on in the world—bearing in mind that some events can be upsetting and unsettling. If something happens to get in the way of you feeling optimistic about life, then avoid it. 

5. Accentuate the positive

Positive energy and attitudes are important for emotional wellbeing. Remain resilient to the challenges and changes of ageing and practice putting on a happy, versus brave, face. 

6. Bend don't break

As the saying goes: “don’t sweat the small stuff…because it is all small stuff.” Don’t be rigid or unaccommodating. Avoid worrying but instead get help if something is really bothering you. 

7. Go for goals

Don’t necessarily think of what you want to experience, or achieve, as a ‘bucket list’ but rather positive engagements waiting to happen. Take control to make them achievable. Being in control of your destiny is immensely satisfying. Go for it!

8. Pull the plug on stress

You’ll never be able to completely avoid stress but do your utmost to make these negative influences of little, or no, consequence. Enriching, even spiritual, moments or engagements can often bring pressures into perspective. Never be too busy to stop and smell the real, or proverbial, roses. 

9. Check out check-ups

Preventative medicine is just what the doctor ordered. Being on top of your own health, and keeping an eye on other’s near and dear to you, can help prevent problems getting out of control. Take advantage of health screenings and engage in preventive health behaviour. Many symptoms and illnesses are managed successfully by taking charge or your and your partner’s health.

10. What are you waiting for?

Perhaps the most important of all the Tips is the one that says there is no better time than the present to begin.