Although you're setting your foot into "golden years," you may worry that being an older adult actually means you'll have more dullness than shine.
But a lot of things people panic about growing older aren't necessarily true.
You go through various changes in your 70s and beyond. It's about lifelong maintenance. If you adopt healthy practices and stay with them throughout your life, you improve your chances of living longer adult.
8 common myths related to ageing and advice on things you can do to stay healthy, vibrant and sharp as you age.
- Myth: Exercise isn't safe for older people.
Though many people accept this, the opposite is true. Studies have shown that lack of physical activity increases your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, among various other conditions. Regular and moderate physical activity keeps your heart and lungs strong and helps you manage stress.
If you're trying on an exercise plan for the first time, talk to your doctor to let them determine the best regimen based on your general health conditions.
- Myth: You won't have sex anymore.
Unless you have a serious health condition that makes strong cardiovascular activity risky, you can enjoy an active sex life at any age.
It's true that some older adults experience physical as well as emotional issues that affect their ability to enjoy sex. Many problems can be addressed to make sex possible again.
Over-the-counter lubricants and prescription vaginal estrogen therapy can aid with vaginal dryness. There are various treatments for erectile dysfunction and low testosterone in men, and testosterone patches can enhance sexual response in women.
- Myth: Older adults need lesser sleep.
It's true that older people need less sleep than younger people — but only 30-60 minutes less. Seniors shouldn't cut back on sleep. You should still need to get six to seven hours of sleep a night.
If sleeplessness is affecting your health, you may need to see a sleep specialist.
- Myth: Arthritis is inevitable in seniors.
Only half of the people over the age of 65 suffer from the most common form of arthritis and osteoarthritis. And studies show that which joints are affected and the severity of the disease may be more closely linked to risk factors like obesity, genetics and previous joint injuries.
Regular and moderate physical activity strengthens the muscles around your joints, helping to ward off damage to your cartilage. Exercise also helps you shed the extra pounds that can put extra stress on your joints.
If you already have arthritis, try water exercises as they will provide you with a great workout that's easy on the joints.
- Myth: Anti-aging skin products can take years off.
There are some best anti-ageing creams, anti-ageing serum as well as treatments that exfoliate the top layers of skin and make your face appear smoother. But the effects are temporary. You can protect your skin to help it look younger.
Smokers are very much likely to get wrinkles around the mouth and under-eye bags at a younger age than nonsmokers.
Even on cloudy days wear sunscreen, to prevent sun damage that can prematurely age your skin.
Lack of hydration can lead to dry skin. But drinking enough water won’t help dry skin. Instead, apply a hydrating moisturizer right after washing your skin, while your skin is still wet. This will help to lock the moisture into the skin.
- Myth: "You can't train an aged dog a new strategy."
Scientists say that unlike kids and young adults, the best way for seniors to learn is not to strengthen what they already know, but to challenge long-held assumptions, and view things from a different point of view.
Try learning a new skill, or find challenging puzzles. Like stretching your muscles before you exercise, stretching your brain will keep it strong, flexible and healthy.
- Myth: You'll gain weight as your metabolism slows down as you age.
While it's true that your metabolism is slower — meaning your body doesn't burn many calories as fast as it used to. The key is to adjust your habits like having anti-ageing foods.
As your body needs lesser calories as it ages, it's important for seniors to keep an eye on both what and how much they eat. A moderately active 65-year-old man needs 2,400 calories every day while a 65-year-old woman needs 1,800.
Stress can make you gain weight because of its biological effects on the body and because stressed-out people often turn to foods to comfort them. Try some relaxing activities.
- Myth: You'll feel lonely and isolated.
It's understandable for seniors to feel sad, especially if they've lost someone close or live far from family. But your social life doesn't have to shrink as you age. In fact, you may have more time and energy now to devote to the relations than when you were full-time working and raising kids.
There are many occasions for older adults to meet people — through a faith community, by joining a gym or book club, by taking a class or by volunteering.
Overall, most of the myths surrounding age seem to be unavoidable. People believe that it is certain that they will gradually crumble into dust as their lives become more unbearable, boring, passionless, and painful.
Although a certain outlook of health might decline with age, none of the above is inevitable for everyone. As we have discovered, a positive psychological outlook on ageing can benefit the physical aspects of ageing.