A positive mind set leads to longevity


by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
June 26, 2017
REGION — Now that the weather has warmed up a bit and winter is a thing of the past, more and more people are out on the sidewalks grabbing a run, walk or a bike ride to keep fit. Of those people a higher number are elderly. Recent studies show that the more physically robust you are as you age, the greater the likelihood that you will stay cognitively sound longer.

Adults who have the belief that age is simply a number maintain better memory than their counterparts who believe that with aging comes a decrease in memory loss. Such types are commonly referred to as 'superagers.'

A study from the National University of Singapore found that proper diet along with mental and physical exercise can reverse frailty and improve cognition. Tests found that elderly people who are frail are eight times more likely to suffer mental degeneration. If an elderly person is physically frail but has a sharp mind, they will still suffer a decline in cognition within three years. If an elderly person maintains physical fitness they are more likely to live longer and manage day to day activities with more ease and have a lower chance of suffering from depression.

Another issue surrounding old age, is the way society offers up negative stereotypes, such as an older person having a 'senior moment.' There is a population of elderly folks attempting to change the way society views their peer group. This group has men over the age of 90, competing in track meets, running the 800-meter race, the 1,500 meters as well as the 5k.

The advice from elders around the world include, finding something to do each morning when you wake up and not allow yourself to get 'old.' Keeping busy with activities and spending time with friends and family is crucial. Ninety-year-old Mel Brooks is currently working on a one-man show and is contributing to the production of one of his own shows from 1974, Young Frankenstein. Eighty-nine-year-old Ruth Westheimer has three new books that will hit shelves within the year.

Scientists from Linkoping University in Sweden claim that by the year 2050 there will be 3.2 million people across the globe who will live past 100. These scientists suggest that women consume about 1,500 calories a day and that men consume roughly 1,800. A waist size of less than 31.5 inches for women and 37 inches for men is suggested to lower the risk of cardiovascular issues.

A diet suggestion from experts is to eat as close as possibly to the Mediterranean diet along with 40-50 minutes of exercise each day. The average adult should walk a total of 3.5 miles to 4.5 each day, to net about 10,000 steps. Anything less than 5,000 steps is considered sedentary and unhealthy. Vitamin D along with selenium is suggested as well. A deficiency in vitamin B-12 is said to be linked to blood diseases as well as neurological.

Dr. John Ford of Weeks Medical Center said, "As for people staying healthy the usual things apply, eat right, don't smoke, don't drink excessively (meaning less than six drinks per week), control your stress levels and follow up with your healthcare provider at least once a year for preventative measures and management of any chronic illness."

Ford went on to say, "Especially in the elderly it is important to be active with social engagements, family, friends, hobbies and volunteering all of which helps keep a sense of purpose. A positive attitude, as well as physical activity promotes functionality, confidence, physical health and longevity."

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