Continuing to Be Active In Later Life
Article by Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton’s guest contributor Jane Sandwood
Did you know that the rate at which our brains age is determined by stem cells in the brain’s hypothalmus ? This will vary from person to person, but there is plenty we can do to help remain physically and mentally active in later life. Finding stimulating hobbies can play a pivotal role in this; doing group activities, meanwhile, is also a great way of meeting others and forging new friendships. There are various hobbies and forms of exercise you can do in older age to keep your mind and body in good shape.
Why not take up drawing – Artistic tasks help relieve stress thanks in no small part to the way in which they bring us ‘out of’ ourselves and enable us to momentarily focus on things outside our day-to-day lives. A particularly powerful combination is to bring art and nature together. Why not make the most of the many beautiful parks and nature spots Liverpool has to offer and draw something that catches your eye? You could even share the experience with a friend. If you’re lacking in confidence when it comes to art, try joining a regular class or attending a workshop.
Or Join a choir – Music has been shown to have many health benefits, with singing being particularly good for mental and physical health. It releases the ‘happy hormones’ endorphins, thanks to the slow release of deep breaths and the consequent dip in blood pressure. Crucially, singing improves lung capacity, which is particularly important as we get older. With this in mind, consider joining a choir; this is a great way of learning a new skill and having fun, without having to feel self-conscious if you’re too shy to sing on your own. It also helps sharpen your memory, as you learn your part in each song. What’s more, singing in a group can help build a sense of camaraderie, boosting self-esteem in the process.
Go for regular walks – Studies show that the great outdoors have many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving memory and boosting morale. Walking is the most simple and natural way of getting the exercise we need. Adults aged over 65 should aim to fit 150 minutes of walking into each week. This can be broken up into small walks over the course of each day, making it very manageable for most people. Walking with others can be particularly beneficial for the less mobile, confident or motivated. It can help to have daily tasks that require you to walk from one place to another, as well as doing things like getting off the bus one stop early and walking that bit further to your destination.
Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton supports the Active Strollers Group who go on organised gentle walks. Call us on 01704 542 993 to request a programme of walks and contact details for the walk leader.
Being active doesn’t have to mean busting a gut in a gym. Whether it be something artistic, creative or physical, there are a whole host of activities locally that can help keep your mind and body healthy. Finding a hobby or two that will keep you active, and in particular those which you can do alongside other people, can give you a boost, no matter how old you are.