The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Healthy Ageing as, ‘the process of developing and maintaining functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age’. Simply put, Healthy Ageing is being able to do the things we love as we get older, by staying active and independent.
There are five core principles of Healthy Ageing:
1. Physical activity: Maintaining our mobility is important as we get older. We have a tendency to ‘slow down’ due to issues with balance, muscle strength, exercise tolerance, and pain. It may seem counterintuitive but by remaining physically active we can address and improve many of these issues with targeted exercises.
2. Social: The importance of social and community engagement has become increasingly recognised during the COVID pandemic. Socialising helps not only with our mental health but is a form of exercise for our brain, helping to preserve cognition (memory).
3. Mental: The brain is like any other muscle in the body. ‘If you don’t use it you lose it’. Just like you exercise your body, it is important to exercise your mind. This can be done through hobbies, learning new skills, reading, or games.
4. Nutrition: Many foods can have a protective impact on our brain and physical function. Fuelling our mind and body allows us to be at an optimal level of function to achieve our desired goals.
5. Medical: As we get older, we tend to accumulate medical conditions. Addressing each medical issue to issue it has a minimal impact on our overall quality of life is important. This may include reviewing medications and optimising our heart and lung function.
"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old"
To maintain our independence, we get older it is important to address all five of the core Healthy Ageing principles. If we only focus on a couple, then our risk of frailty and functional dependency greatly increases.
Throughout the podcast we will interview experts who will discuss each of these core principles.
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