Ageing and health

H is for Health
As you get older health has a new agenda and often it’s a question of settling for second best, but not I suggest dismissing the matter altogether. ‘I’m afraid it’s because you are getting old’ the doctor may say, and you mutter to yourself ‘one day my friend the same is going to be true of you’. Doctors may be a bit tired of us but the elderly have given rise to a new academic/medical area of study. It’s called Gerontology – there is some interesting material on the ‘Help the Aged’ website, including useful advice on staying healthy. We have met several of these points before but it’s worth looking at the list from this perspective of general good health.

Take more exercise
Give up smoking
Keep socially and mentally active
Drink more water
Get outdoors as often as possible
Eat lots more fruit and vegetables
If you drink alcohol, little and often will do you the most good
Make your home safe
See your G.

P. when you are not well
Be positive

Amongst other advice, the Help the Aged website makes the case for rest and sleep as part of the recipe for good health, which are different from lazing around or undergoing a sudden flop (surely both are allowed!). ‘In later life we tend to do too little’ the website says. ‘When we do rest, we can give it added value by learning a relaxation technique such as yoga, tai chi, meditation or prayer. These help to lower blood pressure, produce alpha waves in the brain (the mental state of relaxation), slow the heart and breathing and even enhance the immune system. This kind of deep relaxation is especially helpful for dealing with stress and anxiety’.
And sleep? Some say we need less than when we were younger, and even if that is not true for everyone, ‘good nights’ can make our days good as well.

The important thing is not to be defeatist about those bad nights but to find ways of minimizing them.