The active aging is the ability to have older people to remain active, with low risk of disease, committed to interpersonal relationships and participation in meaningful activities and high level of physical and mental activity.
Currently, the increase in the population over 60 years is an epidemiological trend throughout the world. It is important to take this into account because this generates social challenges in promoting healthy aging.
Aging is a process of positive adaptation on a continuous basis to changes that take place over the years. Age alone It indicates very little about a person’s state of health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not simply the absence of disease. Therefore, healthy aging includes different components such as biological, psychological and social.
The aging process is highly influenced by environment, lifestyle, or disease.
Aging actively is to reinforce lifestyles that allow to enjoy a maximum level of health, that the person lives in a functional way, with well-being and quality of life and in accordance with its sociocultural context.
The WHO proposes to the elderly to get older without “aging” through the continuous development of physical, social and spiritual activities throughout throughout life.
If you age in a healthy way, it is because you have health and a good physical fit (you are on your own), you have good cognitive functioning, well-being and you also participate and get involved socially.
Keep in mind that the person is not solely responsible for their aging process. You as an individual are within a society that acts on your aging process and that it also has to contribute for it to develop properly.
However, it is true that different scientific investigations have shown that aging also depends on oneself; an aging Active and healthy and preventing disease depend, in a way too, on the person’s behavior.
Advantages of active aging
Some of the protective activities of the disease and promoters of healthy aging are: cognitive activity, interpersonal relationship, positive thinking and attitude, stress management styles, resilience, perception of control and self-efficacy for aging.
All of these forms of behavior are predictive conditions of longevity and healthy aging.
Mental activity is a fundamental pillar within active aging, as well as physical exercise. Surely you are clear that these two aspects are part of a healthy and proper way of aging.
However, keep in mind that proper nutrition or social participation are just as important to you.
When we talk about staying active and agile and stimulating your cognitive abilities, it may seem like you have to do boring tasks to get it, but it’s not like that at all.
There are different activities, such as the ones shown below, that will help you achieve physical and mental agility within aging healthy and can be really fun.
Keep in mind that aging successfully depends, to a greater extent, on the prevention and health promotion actions that you implement, since, As I have mentioned, the concept of old age associated with physical and mental deterioration is, at least in part, under your control.
Some authors therefore assert that successful aging is a matter of individual choice.
Activities for active aging
1. Do cognitive exercises
Both the cognitive exercises typical of a cognitive stimulation program and the realization of hobbies are a very beneficial way of keep the mind active and empower it.
For example, word search is an ideal activity to work on attention and language, and mazes can be useful for working on planning or problem solving skills.
It is necessary to exercise the different mental capacities, through various cognitive exercises that enhance different aspects for a work of optimal stimulation.
Other exercises can be related to calculation, for example sudokus, where logic, memory , planning, working memory are worked on . patience…
There are also crosswords, where language skills, semantic memory , mental flexibility are worked on …
Other examples can be looking for the differences or pairs of images to work memory.
All these activities increase attention, improve perception and stimulate the senses, as well as help to activate memory.
The more active you maintain your cognitive skills and your ability to learn, the better you will perform and for longer.
Try to read the newspaper, books, magazines every day … stay informed of what is happening in the world and around you. All of this will help you maintain agile mind.
Here you can find exercises to improve memory.
2. Board games… in company!
Games like dominoes, cards, bingo … are not only suitable because they have cognitive benefits, but also because they facilitate social participation, which, as we said at the beginning, is also a fundamental aspect of active aging.
The game should be fun for you, something that helps you exercise your cognitive abilities while helping you strengthen relationships social.
Some studies, for example carried out by the Toy Technological Institute , have shown that board games provide many benefits in the physical, social and affective health of the elderly.
For example, through board games, mood and self-motivation are improved, perceived self-efficacy and satisfaction are exercised cognitive skills, coping with stress is managed, self-esteem is increased and feelings of loneliness are decreased.
3. Do physical exercise and specific physical exercises
In addition, these group activities close to your home will help you with resistance, postural control, flexibility, posture, rhythm and you will make friends of playful and fun way.
Walking is also a good option, from 30 to 40 minutes at a medium pace and in better company. All music-related activities too they bring many benefits. For example, ballroom dancing.
Given that in aging there is a physical deterioration of the body, you can perform certain activities aimed at enhancing the system musculoskeletal, reflexes, balance, muscular strength, coordination, etc.
These are specific exercises to work on specific areas. You can make a weekly or monthly plan where you propose to exercise a group every day specific muscle: face, knees, shoulders … And do specific activities for it.
You can even do it in a group with your friends, so that you enhance socialization at the same time.
Some of these exercises can be relaxation, facial (to improve circulation and coordination and strengthen the muscles of the face), for head and neck (improve balance, prevent dizziness and falls), for hands and feet (preventing joint stiffness and promoting coordination) or for the knees (favoring muscular independence and mobility).
Physical exercise is one of the lifestyles in old age that helps to achieve the highest level of health and well-being, reducing the comorbidity of chronic and degenerative diseases and increasing the quality of life.
4. Take care!
Since I previously indicated that to stay active and age in a healthy way you must develop different aspects of your life, productivity work, leisure or occupational activities are suitable for promoting healthy aging.
Trying to find some time occupation and being useful to others can be very beneficial for your self-esteem.
Some people find it attractive to take care of their grandchildren, while others prefer to join classes in music, drawing and painting, cutting and clothing, theater …
Today there are also the so-called “University for Seniors”, where you can attend as a listener to university classes on the topics that like them more.
You can also join a club that encourages reading, cinema-forums, gardening, memory stimulation … In some homes of the retirees there are specific classes. Ask about the ones near your house.
Research shows the benefits of leisure activities in contributing to the psychological well-being of the elderly and life satisfaction.
5. Cultivate your social relationships
The personal growth of each one, their adaptation and integration into society gives rise to the concept of well-being that we indicated before that also forms part of healthy aging.
It is necessary to have stable social relationships, have friends, go out with them, have conversations …
Social isolation, loss of support, and lack of social relationships are related to illness and shortened life.
6. Be autonomous
It is important that you develop your autonomy as much as possible. The concept of well-being to which we referred before includes the acceptance of oneself, mastery of the environment, personal growth … and autonomy!
Try to maintain your independence, your own authority and resist social pressure.
Being independent and autonomous prevents disability and dependency. Try to satisfy your own desires and set your own goals and get closer to they. It’s never too late!
7. Think positive!
Self-acceptance is one of the core components of well-being. Accepting yourself, with your abilities and your limitations is essential.
Sometimes when we get older, we have to stop doing things we were used to and this causes us discomfort and thoughts negative towards ourselves.
Having positive attitudes towards oneself is a fundamental characteristic of positive psychological functioning.
It has been shown that feelings of sadness and depression increase in old age, especially when there are situations of social lack.
It is also important that you are able to prevent and detect mental health problems such as a depressive state early, since it is associated with cognitive impairment and in initial stages has an easier solution.
Depression is a psycho-affective disorder that causes a decrease in mood and has repercussions at various levels in life and in the health of the person.
Depression has high rates during old age, reducing the ability of the person to take control over his life (alcohol abuse, misuse of medications, etc.), so it must be stopped in time.
You can spend at least 5 minutes a day to relax. Getting started in meditation or instructing yourself in relaxation techniques can help you a lot. Sit on comfortable way, learn to breathe and relax and let yourself be carried away by positive thoughts.
Personality variables such as optimism, sense of humor, and positive thinking are associated with greater satisfaction in life during this stage. It is a protector against physical and functional decline.
8. Participate socially
Many older people, within the occupation of their free time and in search of helping others, find as a form of social participation the volunteering.
It is an altruistic and social experience, perceiving it as a commitment and helping other people. This also promotes self-esteem, favors commitment and helps the person feel useful and necessary.
Aging models agree that aging in a healthy way involves maintaining a high social competence expressed through participation and social productivity.
In this sense, volunteering is offered to many older people as a useful activity that fulfills many of the characteristics to promote healthy aging.
9. Do pleasant activities that provide you well-being
It is important to train the body and the mind but also our interior. But pleasant activities are also necessary, whatever they are, but that they produce positive feelings and that are significant for us.
In this sense, it is also appropriate to know how to properly handle stress and anxiety to enjoy life. Like I told you before, you can find relaxation techniques or get started in meditation.
Coping styles in managing stress or adversity allow the prevention of psychopathological conditions during old age.
Intense spiritual life has been linked as a protective factor of adaptation in old age.
Different studies have linked leisure activities and subjective well-being. In fact, many authors place leisure activities among the better predictors of life satisfaction in older people.
Those who do them feel more competent, with greater self-confidence. It has been related to a decrease in the feeling of loneliness, increases the mood and the ability to cope with the changes of aging.
Ultimately, the third age should be a stage where the individual opens up to everything new, to relate to their environment (friends, family, community), start life projects, continue with others already started, get involved in learning skills and activities …
From everything I’ve told you so far, healthy aging requires good physical, functional, cognitive, and social health.
And you, what do you do to stay active?
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