The big myth about getting old is that there’s nothing good about it. The future is frailer, weaker sicker. It’s downhill all the way. In fact you have choices. The first Baby Boomers hit 65 last year – a Silver Tsunami that is going to keep on coming. Bad for pension providers but great for us.
We are the first generation that can choose how well we age and that’s why I’ve written ‘The Ten Secrets of Healthy Ageing’ with nutritionist Patrick Holford. We think learning how to age well is just as important as learning how to manage your money, how to cook or how to garden.
Right now living longer comes with penalties. The average woman in the EU can expect to spend your final 10 years hardly able to leave the house. Men do slightly better – they can expect to be housebound for only about seven years. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Not if you learn a new life skill – staying healthy as you get older.
Maybe you’ve tried getting fit or losing weight before and failed. Why try again? Because you can see what’s in store if you don’t. Because feeling well makes everything else so much more enjoyable
And then there is the best reason of all. Your program to stay healthy comes with a bonus. It also slows down the rate you are ageing. A diet that keeps your carbs low and can cut your risk of diabetes also affects the genes involved with ageing.
The choices you can make about how well you are going to age don’t just involve diet and exercise. Your mind and emotions play a big part too. Learning how to handle stress can bring down your chances of getting heart disease. Keeping strong connections with friends and family makes good sense and so does getting seven hours sleep a night.
We’ve set up a free on-line BioAge Check to find out which areas of focus are going to make the biggest difference for you. It’ll tell you if you’re body’s wearing out slower or faster than normal and what you can do to up your game.
The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing (£14.99, Piatkus), by Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne, is available from bookstores and online.