When it comes to staying healthy as you age, trying to find accurate information can be a daunting and confusing task. This is due to a variety of things, especially when your first port of call tends to be the internet. Whilst it may seem contradictory to say in a blog, it can be difficult to trust a lot of the “tips & tricks for staying healthy” that you find online. So, after speaking with a doctor in Prahran, we’ve decided to try a different tact.
Instead of trying to convince you of the many hidden secrets you can use to stay healthy forever, we’re going to look at a few of the misleading “facts” of healthy ageing. So, get your thinking hats on, as we delve deep into the myths and mythologies of healthy living!
MYTH: MEMORY LOSS IS AN INEVITABLE PART OF AGEING
While it is true that you may find things more difficult to remember as you age, there is nothing to suggest an intrinsic link between memory loss and ageing. In fact, there have been a wide variety of theories as to why memory loss and age appear to be linked.
As an example, it has been shown that active, social people tend to have a better short-term memory when compared to those that have a more sedentary, isolated lifestyle. This trend has appeared across age demographics, and could explain why age tends to come with impaired memory despite there being little to suggest an active causal link between the two.
Long story short: While age can contribute to poor memory, the two aren’t necessarily linked, and an active lifestyle may assist in preventing memory loss in older individuals.
MYTH: AGEING INEVITABLY COMES WITH POOR HEALTH/DISABILITY
It’s easy to see how people have made this link, and why it’s so prolific in our society. There are indeed a variety of diseases and illnesses that become more common as we get older. With that said, just because a person has aged, that doesn’t necessarily mean that illness or disability are going to befall them.
Quite the opposite! There are many older individuals that are just as healthy as their younger selves; a fact which can, once again, often be attributed to lifestyle. Factors like exercise, eating choices, stress levels and living situation can all contribute to a person’s health, and this goes for anyone regardless of their age.
That said, while it is a myth that ageing and disease are inherently linked, that doesn’t mean that older people should neglect their health. As mentioned earlier, there are some diseases that become more common with age, and it’s important to get regular checkups to ensure that nothing drops under the radar.
MYTH: OLDER PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO ADAPT TO CHANGE
The old cliche of “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” seems to have moved from a simple saying to gospel for many people, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. In recent years, we have seen more and more older individuals going to university and pursuing study.
The prolific nature of this afferism is made even more ridiculous by the fact that research has disproved it, even in dogs! Age doesn’t have to mean an end to new experiences or skills, and it can in fact open a lot of new pathways that may have been unavailable to you before. Through retirement, many older individuals use their newfound free time to study, learn and pick up new skills, leading to a more enriching life experience.
It’s never too late to do what you love, and it’s never too late to find something new to get excited about. Whilst there are some risks that come with ageing, nothing is definite, and there are a variety of lifestyle changes which can significantly lower the likelihood of these risks becoming a reality.