Scientists are shifting their attention from finding solutions for terminal illnesses like cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), such as cancer or heart disease to improving “healthspan”, which measures the number of years people spend alive but alert, active and engaged with family and friends. Sleep, social engagement and healthy diet can all increase chances of living a long and fulfilling life.
Not only can eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains with minimal processed or refined sugars and limited salt and saturated fats provide significant health benefits; there are other steps you can take to enhance your quality of life as you age. Studies have revealed how regular exercise can keep muscles strong, improve balance and mobility and decrease falls risk while simultaneously managing stress and depression which have been linked with decreased lifespans.
Studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of cultivating meaningful relationships with family, friends and pets (including pets!) can significantly enhance both mental and physical wellbeing. Owning a pet can increase sense of belonging while giving an emotional lift; volunteering or doing something you enjoy gives purpose, decreasing depression risk and stress while raising mood levels.