• Katherine Rothwell

The Four Cornerstones of Healthy Ageing

In a recent article in the Sun-Herald, on Sunday 9th June, 2019, The Four Cornerstones of Healthy Ageing were outlined. How does one live a long, healthy life? Well, apparently, if you focus on these 4 key principles, you can live a happier and healthier life in your old age.


So what are the Four Cornerstones of Healthy Ageing?

1. Diet

2. Exercise

3. Stay Engaged

4. Sleep


Key diet principles

* Learn the basics of the Mediterranean diet

* Focus your diet on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, pulses and fish

* Remember that olive oil is liquid gold - use it for cooking and salad dressings

* Add vegetables to every meal.

* Be good to your gut. Understand how critically important your microbiome is for your health

* Cut heavily processed foods from your life: they won’t help you age well


Key exercise principles

* Work movement into your life, every hour and every day. A stretch at your desk or a walk to the corner shop can make a difference

* Keep weights by the kettle, walk to the station, dust down your bike - think about how you can introduce exercise into your daily life

* Plan a variety of exercise: a walk one day, dancing with friends the next, a weights workout later in the week

* Exercise in nature. Walking in the woods or lifting weights in the garden is more beneficial than the same exercise done indoors

* Consider your constantly evolving bones. Exercise helps keep them strong

* Always consult your GP when starting a new routine, and stop if it feels too much


Key principles of staying engaged

* Cultivate a wide range of friendships, including new ones

* Learn something new, and when you’ve mastered it, try something else. Ideally learn in company rather than alone

* Read books, of all genres. Every day

* Stay working, paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time

* Adopt a hobby, creative if you can

* Develop a mindset that is optimistic, grateful and purposeful

* Care for someone: a partner, a dog, those in the local hospice. Someone needs you, and science suggests you might benefit too


Key sleep principles

* Exercise every day, outdoors if possible

* Embrace guilt-free afternoon naps

* Change how and what you eat and drink in the evening

* Allow time to unwind before bed

* Invest in a new mattress and pillow (if need be) and some essential oils

* Turn off sources of blue light an hour before you want to sleep

* Allow fresh air into your bedroom and keep the temperature down

* Keep regular hours

* Make time for seven to eight hours of sleep, but don’t fret if sleep eludes you. Instead get up or read a book.


Environmental principles for ageing well

* Pay special attention to your gums and teeth

* Build immunity

* Know the medications linked, by researchers, to Alzheimer’s

* Eat the right foods for your skin, eyes and hair

* Use an anti-pollution serum every day and sunscreen when the sun’s out

* Avoid chemical-laden personal care products - opt for organic where possible

* Forget supplements - except Vitamin D - and zinc for immunity

* Care for your eyes with regular check-ups

* Avoid pollution-heavy areas. Counter pollution with the right food, the right house plants and an air purifier.

* Avoid pesticides and other chemicals when gardening, eating and cleaning


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