60 is the New 40

Looking at the attractive middle-aged lady patient sitting in front of me has prompted me to write about the way some people age gracefully –  her fine facial features did not make her look 60 at all! But really,cosmetic overhauls aside, it takes more than maintaining a good physical appearance to age well.

Basically, ageing successfully involves a trio of low incidence of disease, good mental & physical shape and actively engaging with life itself. I’m sure you’ve heard of some friend or other  who have got stricken by various diseases soon after retirement – the result of downgrading from an active working life to that of a passive boring life, devoid any positive activity.

Raquel Welch - now 69, compared with when she was in her 20s

Looking at Raquel Welch, Sigourney Weaver, Robert de Niro and Bill Clinton, one can see why the term “elderly” is now replaced with “senior citizens” or “seniors”. But its not just celebrities that benefit. Just look at some of  the perks of being a senior:

  • Things are cheaper – concessions for plane tickets, bus-rides, movies, theatre tickets and so on.
  • No more rushing around – no rush-hour travel, Saturday grocery queues or peak-hour queues to see the dentist or doctor, once retired.
  • More time for relationships and hobbies.

The fact remains that the 60 year old today is in better shape than a generation ago. A culmination of factors has made this possible: better nutrition, better healthcare and a greater awareness to healthy living.  To age well, some tips that are recommended include:

  1. Planning long-term housing & financial needs and activities before retiring (retirement planning).
  2. Regular exercise – including the right type. Besides cardio, strength-enhancing and balancing activities are a must,eg jogging has to be combined with tai-chi.
  3. Eating well – not the same as over-eating!
  4. Keeping the mind active – reading, sudoku, music, even computer games.
  5. Maintaining contact with family and friends plus staying active, socially and productively engaged, including volunteering.
  6. Keeping tabs with the annual medical check-up, a real must.

If you’re over 50 and want to know whether you are ageing well and correctly, I recommend the taking the NARI Healthy Ageing Quiz.

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2 responses

  1. Used to be 50 was the new 40..I guess its inflation!
    Btw, is your spelling of ageing a typo?

    Doctor2008: No, its not a typo. Depends which side of the Atlantic you’re on…AGING in the US and AGEING for the UK and Europe.

  2. Hi Doc. It’s been more than a year since we last spoke I think. I was browsing the web for info on andropause and getting more depressed by the minute when I decided to come here. And coincidentally, my browser opened on your post about growing old gracefully. According to the online quiz I have all the symptoms of andropause. Frankly, my quality of life the past year hasn’t been exactly exciting. And I’m not even talking about just libido and erectile dysfunction. Bad mood swings, unmanageable anger, irritation, fatigue….they’re all there. Don’t know what to do lah.
    Doctor2008: In today’s world, andropause can be managed – I’ll email you on details soon

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