Active Lifestyle Choices for Healthy Ageing
If you are one of the generation that was born after the Second World War, you are probably one of the luckiest people alive. The so called Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) have never known a time of deep poverty or depression. Wars have always happened somewhere else, usually far away. A period of economic growth and rising affluence has allowed more choices than any other time in human history.
Once upon a time, anybody reaching 60 was soon looking forward to retirement, a short period of decline and then a funeral. Now, the 50s 60s and 70s are doing the things they might have done when they were 30 or 40, but never had the time or money to do it.
Wellness Now a Matter of Choice
As for health and wellness, it is all a matter of choice. This generation of Baby Boomers can decide on their own health and wellbeing like never before. A lot depends on aiming to age actively for life extension rather than just ageing. There is a world of difference between mere longevity and enjoying a long life. It all hangs on physical mobility.
Walking is one of the best ways to keep active in older life. It would be hard to find an activity that has so much going for it. It’s cheap, easily available, can be done by yourself or in a group. You can fit it in at any time of day that suits. There are few places close to where most people live where it would be impossible to find somewhere safe and pleasant to walk. It improves the health of your joints, muscles and bones. Normal functions like digestion and breathing become more regular and more effective. It has been proven that thirty minutes a day of walking can cut down the incidence of major health issues significantly.
The burgeoning population of Boomers has at the same time become one of the developed world’s newest challenges. That challenge is not about to go away any time soon, as the indications are that not only is the average life expectancy going up year by year, the number of years of actively useful life is going up in tandem. The trick is to turn the challenge into a recognizable blessing.
Active and Alive vs Being Kept Alive
One of the biggest questions concerning the larger population of older people is how much are they going to be a burden on the rest of the population. This is one way that the choice to live an active life can make a real difference. Inactivity is much more likely to lead to a range of health problems.
Baby boomers have grown up with a new range of diseases, linked to rising affluence a.k.a affluenza. Where their own parents died of communicable diseases or war, the health problems of today revolve around diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia. The diseases of affluence are linked to a chosen lifestyle in a way that the old diseases never were. The difference is the ability of any person born today to choose to minimise their exposure to these modern killers.
Walking can be a Highway to Wellness
Walking is not a quick cure-all. It won’t quickly curb obesity or make cancer go away just by itself, but it will certainly help to reduce the likelihood of ill health at any age as long as it is taken in conjunction with other ways of living a healthy and active life. Walking is one route to overall wellness. The best thing is that those who are living in their 50s 60s and 70s have a real choice between just surviving into old age and enjoying a fulfilling active and longer life.
One of the most encouraging experiences for those who care to notice is to observe the increasing numbers of older people take to the outdoors in healthy activity. It used to be that the golf course was the ultimate horizon, probably astride a golf buggy. The arena where the lucky generation is now enjoying an active, longer life has grown extensively in the last two decades. Beaches are no longer the preserve of the young and beautiful. Cycle ways are busy with grey haired grandparents on sleek, new machines. Mountain paths from the Himalayas to the Rocky Mountains and Kilimanjaro to Mount Kinabalu are thronged with those who love to walk in beautiful surroundings and enjoy the feeling of wellness it brings them.