Growing older, while preferable to the alternative, is a process that most of us view with a combination of dread and more dread. Typically, in our worst fears, the road to senior-dom is littered with declining health (both mental and physical) and eventually leads to an unpleasant and unwelcome end, marked by chronic deterioration.
Increasingly however, science suggests that we have the power to, if not eliminate potential health problems, then at least effectively influence the way we age. So in that regard some choices are definitely better than others.
A recent article in Science Daily draws attention to a U.K. study first written about in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, concerning the ways in which the highly motivated individual can contribute to a successful aging process.
Researchers found four key factors that, when combined, work in tandem to produce a “significantly” healthier outcome for people 60 years of age and older.
It’s not a magic formula — most of us can recite these familiar prescriptions for health by heart. The advice is pretty standard. By not smoking, drinking moderately, exercising and including daily servings of fruit and vegetables you can derive long-term health benefits that help to maintain mobility and cognition, and aid in the prevention of disease.
Approximately 5,000 men and women participated in the study, which had a 16-year follow-up. While each element, such as the choice not to smoke, is important, it is the combination of factors that packs the most wallop.
Researchers discovered that those who regularly combined all four factors over the length of the study were four times more likely than their less scrupulous counterparts to age successfully.
If you don’t smoke, take a moment to pat yourself on the back but remember you need to do more if you want to age in the best way possible. Tackle all four factors and enjoy all that life has to offer at any age by arming yourself with good health. Getting old, as someone once noted, is not for sissies.
Read on for reasons why you should be happy you’re getting older.