7 easy and effective ways to stay fit and healthy into old age

May 9, 2023

In 2012, Johanna Quaas achieved the Guinness World Record for being the oldest competitive gymnast in the world at the age of 86. In 2023, Johanna continues to perform gymnastic routines and inspire a global audience through social media.

Scientists believe Johanna’s success demonstrates that everyone can grow old and remain fit and healthy. And when it comes to retirement planning, staying in shape could help you to enjoy more of the lifestyle you’ve saved and planned for during your working life.

So, what is the secret? Read on to discover seven ways to maintain your fitness and live a long, healthy life.

1. Keep moving

Exercise and movement of all different kinds are crucial for maintaining your fitness throughout your life. A brisk walk once a day can help to keep your lungs healthier for longer, avoid declines in brain function, and increase your stamina.

But staying active can be tough, especially if your job requires you to work in an office and commute long distances by car or public transport. That’s why it’s really important to find opportunities for movement throughout the day to keep your body active. Take the stairs, get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way, or go for a walk at lunch.

Another way to turn a sedentary job into a more active one is to embrace “walking meetings”. Rather than sitting in a conference room for your next meeting, why not suggest taking the conversation outside and discussing your agenda as you walk? As well as the benefits of physical movement, walking meetings have been shown to boost creativity and improve relationships.

2. Adopt a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is famous for its health benefits as it provides many of the nutrients required to keep your body fit and healthy. This diet typically includes:

  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Pulses and wholegrains
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon
  • Some cheese and dairy
  • Very little meat, favouring poultry over red meat
  • A small amount of wine with meals
  • Little to no sweet or sugary foods.

The Mediterranean diet is proven to improve cardiovascular health, including reducing blood pressure. The diet has also been linked to longer lifespans.

3. Strengthen your muscles with weight training

While a brisk walk or jog is great for giving your cardiovascular system a workout, there is another type of exercise that is especially helpful in keeping your body in shape as you age: strength training.

This could mean lifting weights, or it could mean exercises that incorporate body weight, such as yoga or pilates. These exercises are the perfect way to build stamina, and they keep your heart healthy too. You may be able to lower your blood pressure with regular strength training, and it has been shown to reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition that has been associated with heart attacks.

4. Use sunscreen every day

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s important to take good care of it as you age. But one of the biggest factors in skin disease and ageing is exposure to the sun. Harmful UV rays can cause both visible and invisible damage, breaking down the collagen in the skin, so using sunscreen is vital.

The earlier you start using sunscreen the better, since it can’t reverse damage that’s already done but can help to prevent a lot of problems later in life.

5. Look after your joints

Keeping your joints supple with regular, gentle exercise is another way you can reduce your risk of needing hip or knee replacements in later life. It can also mean you are less likely to have a nasty fall or suffer fractures as you age.

While high-intensity cardio workouts can be good for you now and again, gentle exercise on a more regular basis is much better for your joints. Activities including tai chi, yoga, and walking are great for this.

6. Consume plenty of fish oils

Healthy fats and oils, like those in the Mediterranean diet, have so many health properties.

They are very good for keeping your joints healthy and lubricated. They have been shown to reduce inflammation, which could mean you are less likely to develop arthritis in later life.

Fish oils have also been associated with better heart health. They help to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and prevent plaque build-up – the process that can cause arteries to harden and subsequently increase the risk of heart attacks.  

Fish oils can also have a positive effect on your brain and can even help to keep your eyes healthy.

7. Take a break from screens

Modern life means it’s very difficult to escape the glare of screens entirely, but as you are probably already aware, this can have a detrimental effect on your health for so many reasons.

Eye health is perhaps the most obvious thing affected by excessive screen time. Spending long periods of time looking at a screen, particularly at close range, can create a strain on your eyes. Try to take a screen break once an hour and use that time to do some stretching or go for a short walk. Research has discovered that brisk exercise can help to improve eye health, so the benefits of these active screen breaks are two-fold.

Reducing your exposure to screens in the evening can also help to improve the quality of your sleep. Sleep plays an important role in health at all ages, and a lack of sleep – or a lack of good quality sleep – can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Get in touch

While these tips could help you to keep your body and mind in great shape for a long life, it’s also important to keep your finances in check to allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you dream of in your post-work years. If you’d like some help with this, we’d love to chat.

Either contact your financial planner directly, email us at hello@ascentawealth.com or fill in our online contact form to organise a meeting and we’ll get in touch.