Health + Wellness

Four Healthy Behaviours That Can Help You Age Successfully

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Recent research reveals that engaging in a combination of healthy behaviours during midlife increases the chances of successful ageing.

It’s not enough to just be healthy in one aspect of your life and neglect all the other things in between. You may avoid smoking but do you exercise regularly? You may only drink moderately but do you skimp on your intake of fruits and vegetables? As life expectancy increases, it is even more imperative that we age healthily, or in other words, age successfully.

A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that healthy behaviours during midlife have a cumulative impact on successful ageing. The study was conducted on 5,100 British participants aged 42 to 63, whom were examined for healthy behaviours and successful ageing in a 16-year follow-up.

Successful ageing was defined as having good cognitive, physical, respiratory and cardiovascular functioning; in addition to the absence of disability, mental health problems and chronic disease. Healthy behaviours were defined as “never smoking”; “moderate alcohol consumption”; being “physically active” (≥ 2.5 h/week of moderate physical activity or ≥ 1 h/week of vigorous physical activity); and “eating fruits and vegetables daily”.

During the 16-year follow-up, only about 950 participants were alive to be qualified as having aged successfully. Based on the results, participants who engaged in all four healthy behaviours were three times more likely to age successfully compared to those who engaged in none of the healthy behaviours.

In a nutshell, while the individual healthy behaviours were moderately associated with successful ageing, the researchers found that a combination of all four healthy behaviours produced a much substantial impact in successful ageing.

Now that we know, perhaps it’s time to load up on more fruits and vegetables, clock in a bit more exercise every week, drink moderately, and last but not least, quit smoking.

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