With a longer life expectancy, how can we best maintain our health?
For someone born in 2016, their average life expectancy will be 83 if female, 79 if male – this is only set to increase over time. Since 1980 the number of people aged over 60 has doubled, with predictions that by 2050 the number of people over 80 is set to quadruple to 395 million.
However, with an increase in life expectancy comes an extended period of time in which we rely on our health and wellbeing. Over 40% of the UK population over the age of 65 has a limiting long-term health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and dementia.
The majority of these conditions are linked to choices in lifestyle, be that down to smoking, excess alcohol or food intake or a lack of physical activity.
We spend the majority of our lives working hard with the prospect of enjoying a prolonged, healthy and independent retirement, making it all the more vital that we look after our health and wellbeing through a balanced lifestyle in order to gain full appreciation of our retirement in good health.
The improvement that healthy lifestyle interventions can make cannot be underestimated, no matter the age at which you make them. These changes have shown to increase both mental and physical health and wellbeing. This highlights the importance of instigating healthy lifestyles among people in middle age and beyond.
Making Healthy & Sustainable Lifestyle Changes
– Stop smoking
For every year that you smoke, it reduces your life expectancy by 3 months. It is also the leading cause of preventable death in Britain.
– Stick to the UK alcohol guidelines
Both men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units per week, spread the drinking over 3 days or more if up to 14 units are consumed and have two consecutive alcohol free days.
– Increase physical activity
The Government recommends that we partake in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week. This can be anything from a competitive sport to walking the dog. Being conscious of your activity levels will go a long way in improving your health and wellbeing, so next time you go to take the lift, swap this for the stairs if this is an option. This will also help to improve mood, outlook and motivation to stay well.
– Eat a balanced diet and practice weight maintenance
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital if you want to stay well as you become older. Eating a healthy and balanced diet requires organisation and by planning ahead you can ensure you are setting yourself up with the best chance of good health in later life, enabling you the independence and ability to live life to the full and enjoy doing so.
It is true what they say; how you choose to live today will dictate how you fare tomorrow. Looking after your health now, no matter your age, will give you the best chance of living a life free of long or short-term health conditions.