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Ageing Well and Living a Happy, Fulfilling Life

Ageing Well and Living a Happy, Fulfilling Life

- Wellness Articles
Total Body Instability Exercise

Ageing is inevitable. And as we age, our bodies take on different needs in terms of nutrition, exercise, mental health, socialising and rest. The more we understand about ageing, the more we are able to support our elders, and eventually ourselves, to age well.

When we talk about senior wellness, the main focus is to prevent the emergence of chronic health conditions and manage the ones already present. The seven aspects of maintaining and enhancing senior health and wellness include the following:

Physical wellness: It is important for seniors to keep physically active. Regular exercise can lower blood pressure, better control blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol levels. Moreover, exercise is known to enhance blood flow to the brain and lower the risk of dementia.

Emotional wellness: Learning how to cope with and adapt to life’s changes is important for wellbeing. Change is inevitable, but all the more so as we age, and dealing with the loss of a loved one can be especially difficult. Adopting healthy thought patterns can help you bounce back faster and maintain a positive outlook on life.

Spiritual wellness: A strong sense of spirituality can offer hope, happiness, strength, peace and longevity. In practical terms, you might nurture your spiritual self through worship services, meditation, religious studies, musical performances and volunteer work.

Social wellness: Socialising as a senior is vital to health. Studies show that those who are chronically isolated tend to have a higher rate of health-related issues. Creating healthy bonds and regularly interacting with peers and family members enhances self-esteem and confidence. The Global Council on Brain Health recently released a report indicating that social engagement also helps cognitive skills and memory.

Intellectual wellness: Intellectual activities such as learning to play a new game, adopting a new pursuit or researching new areas of interest stimulate the brain and can boost cognitive function. Participating in lifelong learning allows seniors to stay sharp, stave off dementia, and stay connected with those they care about.

Vocational wellness: Seniors have valuable work and life skills that they can contribute and that benefit their community. Meaningful activities including volunteering, political activism, artistry and family care. While giving back, you will also gain a sense of purpose, accomplishment and value.

Environmental wellness: Often, our mental state reflects our environment. What we see, hear, breathe and smell can impact our wellbeing. Many senior living communities create green, clean, warm, comfortable and inviting spaces so that residents and their visitors feel good about themselves. Surround yourself with a positive environment for a positive mindset.

Exercise for Seniors

Good physical health enables us to continue to perform daily activities, such as bathing, using the restroom, dressing, eating, and moving around the house. Unfortunately, as we age, our muscle mass decreases, our bone density decreases, especially in women after menopause, and our balance becomes unstable.

Bone density and stability are particularly important, as falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors, and can lead to broken hips or other bones. The fear of falling itself can also keep us from enjoying our usual activities.

Regular exercise can help with all of these, and can also improve healing and function, decreasing the time of recovery from injury and severity. A combination of strength, mobility, cardio and balance exercises will keep you in optimum condition as you age. Here are some simple balance exercises you can practise at home:

Cultivating and Nurturing: Stand with knees shoulder-width apart, and hold in a slight squat position. Imagine you are holding a small ball in the centre of your body. Inhale, holding your right hand above your left, then turn your trunk to the left by rotating the right hip. Alternate hand position so that the left is above the right, and rotate the trunk to the right. Repeat eight times.

See-Saw Leg Balance with Open Arms: Stand with the right leg stepped forward and the left leg stepped behind. Breathe in with your arms open, and lean back with your right ankle flexed. Breathe out and move your hands forward together, leaning forward, with the left leg and heel up behind. Repeat four times, alternating sides.

Heel to Toe: Place your right foot directly in front of and in line with your left foot. Then move the next foot to the front, stepping like this five times forwards then five times backwards. While you walk, try to look straight ahead rather than at your feet.

Tip: Have something stable nearby to hold onto if you become unsteady. In the beginning, using a chair or the wall for support will help you work on your balance safely.

It is never too late to start up a regular exercise routine. Work with a trainer or physiotherapist to create a plan that is appropriate for your physical abilities and preferences. The key is to find something you enjoy doing, and do it regularly.

Peerawit Kaewchai - Senior Physiotherapist, Chiva-Som

Peerawit is a graduate of Walailak University’s Faculty of Allied Health Sciences and a licensed physiotherapist. Since joining Chiva-Som in 20XX, he has specialised in Art of Motion to encourage healthful daily movement, the Neurac method of rehabilitation, and TECAR stimulation to repair damaged muscle tissue. Peerawit has led many guests through chronic pain rehabilitation, and is dedicated to helping everyone achieve optimal health through a balance of mind, body and spirit.

Orranat Thanamteun - Health & Wellness Advisor, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som

Orranat’s approach to wellness is holistic and multidimensional. She is a graduate of the Australasian College of Natural Therapies with advanced diplomas in nutrition and herbal medicine. She also holds a master’s degree in linguistics, and researches the effect of communication techniques on behavioural patterns in order to overcome phobias and anxiety. Using these techniques, Orranat helps guests adapt to change and live fulfilling lives in their later years.

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