The answers to the question; why should you avoid physical and mental rust as you age may seem obvious. However, despite this seemingly self-evident reality, many people continue to struggle in their efforts to take the steps necessary to prevent decline as they age. Certainly, there are people who are unable to do what is required because of physical or emotional challenges. However, there are others who have minimal or no excuse not to take action. In addition, there is so much information out there in print, radio, television and social media about what all of us can do and the benefits of those actions.
The prevailing stereotype of late adulthood and old age as a period of inevitable physical, emotional and intellectual decline is, unfortunately, rather entrenched in many societies. May be this is what is preventing many people from taking action. While nobody can turn back the biological clock, in several instances, the stereotype is a pessimistic view of the possibilities of old age. Yes, in late adulthood, usually, there is impaired mobility both in pace and distance. There may be constraints due to low back or neck surgery and hip and knee replacements. You may have undergone open heart surgery or stent placement. You may be using hearing aid for hearing loss and the vision may be cloudy if you don’t use glasses or contact or if you have cataract. Despite these limitations, life in general can still be as meaningful, as good or even better than early adulthood.
While the focus and priorities at different stages of life need adjustments and refining, the fundamentals of contentment, fulfillment and happiness can indeed blossom to the highest point in late adulthood and old age. This is particularly true for those individuals who have made the effort to do those things that would maintain their physical and mental sharpness as they age. These include healthy eating habits, consistent moderate exercise, life long learning, avoidance of smoking of cigarettes, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and staying away from illicit drugs. Regarding jogging or running, research has shown that you don’t have to run 5K, 10K or marathon. You can obtain close to the maximum benefit if you run at a pace of 5 mph or 6 mph about 10 minutes a day, five days a week.
So, back to the main question. Why should we take action to prevent mental and physical rust as we age?
- Personal and family reasons. So, we can spend the later years in good health and as happily as possible. In this condition, we are less likely to be dependent on our children and grand-children. In addition to our productivity, we can serve a huge purpose as the wise patriarch or matriarch of our families. You can pivot completely in a different direction and pursue new passions which are totally unrelated to your primary profession in which you probably spent decades. In this new arena, you certainly can be productive and successful as long as you are in good health.
Society. We can continue to contribute to society in various capacities locally. These include being active in local schools, places of worship, volunteering and mentoring of the future generation. Depending on the person’s desires at that particular stage in life, one could carry one’s activities nationally or onto the international stage. Thus, the larger society benefits directly from the activities of the elderly individual. An indirect, but significant benefit is the lower cost of keeping the older adults healthy. This is beneficial to both the individuals and the tax payers in the society.This is a win-win situation for all. So, take action. Keep moving. There are very few or no excuses not to do all you can to prevent, or at least slow down physical and mental rust as you age.
So, eat healthy, keep moving, exercise at least three times a week, 45 minutes to one hour per session, keep learning new things and you are on your way to wellness and you would avoid rust. Your opinions about the ideas in this post are welcome and appreciated. Especially for those who incorporated these ideas into their lifestyle when they were younger, please let us know how your overall health has been impacted in late adulthood. The ads on the right side of this page deal with physical and mental fitness, exercise equipments and tools, healthy diets, books on healthy living, wellness and wellbeing. Please feel free to check them out.