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How to future-proof your health as you age

by Laura Palmer

Are you a firm believer that ‘age ain’t nothing but a number’? Or does it seem like you’ve earned every one of those birthday candles? However you feel, life expectancy in the UK is now almost 10 years higher than it was a generation before: 79 for men, and 83 for women. Getting older isn’t holding people back from physical feats these days either. There are now thousands of ‘ultra athletes’, people who compete in endurance events like marathons, in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!

Research has shown the majority of middle-aged and elderly adults feel about twelve years younger than their chronological age. In fact, did you know that feeling young at heart is really good for you in itself? Studies suggest that those who have a younger subjective age (how old you feel inside), are fitter, more active, and even live longer!

If you want your body to match your state of mind as the years fly by, there are actions you can take to maintain your health and fitness. These simple steps can be taken pre-emptively, to future-proof your body. Or, if you’ve already reached your golden years, read on to find out how to feel your best again:

1. Eat anti-aging foods:

You know the drill, a diet rich in; fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish… whilst avoiding sugar, and processed foods, is always going to be good news, whatever your age. Choose fruit and vegetables with deep colours – this means they are rich in carotenoids, plant pigments with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Carotenoids can help prevent systemic decline and promote healthy skin by protecting you from pollution, environmental toxins, and sun damage.

Looking for a food with specific super anti-ageing properties? Broccoli is your best friend. Those little green trees are anti-inflammatory powerhouses that will provide you with vitamins C and K, both essential for preventing osteoporosis. They are also rich in anti-oxidants, folate, calcium, and lutein, a chemical linked to preserving memory function.

More of a fruit fan? Pomegranate juice is your go-to for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It’s also believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Need a vitamin C fix to boost your immune system? Try goji berries. Did you know they have 500 times more vitamin C than an orange, and are super rich in anti-oxidants? Impressive!

Get an oily fish fix:

Be sure to chow down on plenty of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna. Why? Because these types of fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which can protect you against cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and cognitive decline, all of which can occur at a later age. Oily fish might also help you stay looking younger too, because Omega-3 is believed to help the skin produce elastin and collagen.

2. Stop with the snacking

It’s not just what you eat that you need to pay attention to, it’s also how you do it. Nutrition guru Tanya Borowski recommends leaving a 4 – 5 hour gap between meals, and trying to avoid snacking. She suggests limiting your eating to an 8-hour window during the day. By doing this, you’ll stimulate a protein in the body called Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a real wonder for those getting older.

Not only can this protein help to prevent the death of existing brain cells, it also encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses AND supports cognitive function. Topping up your levels of BDNF has also been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and accelerated ageing. Well worth waving goodbye to the snacks for!

3. Supercharge yourself with supplements:

Did you know that as you get older, you’re more likely to suffer from oxidative stress? Your cells and tissues become less adept at detoxing your body of free radicals and other nasties. When toxins build up, oxidative stress increases, which can cause fatigue, muscle and joint pain. It can even contribute to more wrinkles – gah!

Eating well can reduce this, but many of the vitamins that help prevent oxidative stress are water-soluble, or can’t be stored by the body. So boosting your levels with a supplement could be a game changer for you.

The Anti-Aging Plus Patch has everything you need to keep oxidative stress under control:  especially resveratrol.  This chemical has been shown to help lower blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, and even increase lifespan – amazing!

If you’re looking for the best vitamins for wrinkles on your face, the patch also contains vitamins, C and D – essential for skin health and the production of collagen. Speaking of which, if you want to maintain plump, more youthful skin, give the Collagen Plus patch a try. It combines collagen with skin hydrating hyaluronic acid, and can help to promote a dewy, glowing complexion and prevent the formation of new wrinkles.

One of the absolute best supplements for ageing well is the NAD Total Recovery patch. Known as ‘the fountain of youth’, Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide plays a significant role in generating energy in the body, no matter the age. Slap on a patch and you could benefit from increased energy metabolism, DNA repair, and sirtuin activity. Sirtuins are genes associated with longevity. Giving them a boost could mean an increased lifespan. As well as the improved concentration, focus, mental clarity, and better mood that NAD also promotes.

4. Stay active:

The years rolling by can make you more vulnerable to osteoporosis, as well as sarcopenia, a similar disease that affects your muscles. Want to put the brakes on? Adding just three 20 – 30 minute sessions of strength training sessions to your weekly routine can help maintain muscles and bone strength. Strength training newbie? There’s no need to join the gym (unless you want to!) the NHS has an easy-peasy strength and flex plan to get you started here.

Lower impact exercise, like yoga, has a wealth of benefits as you age too. More energy, better posture, greater flexibility and improved mood, to name just a few.  Yogic breathing has also been shown to oxygenate the cells, which can help lessen oxidative stress, and even make your skin look more radiant. The perfect way to get that glow, inside and out…

5. Exercise your mind:

It’s not just your body that needs a workout as you get older. If you want to prevent cognitive decline you need to exercise your brain too. To do this, try tackling new challenges each day. Brushing your teeth with the other hand, or taking a new route to the shops, are enough to jog your brain out of its normal routine. This then stimulates the mind to create new neurological synapses.

Crossword puzzles or sudoku can strengthen your mind. Or you could try learning something new, like a language, or teach someone else something. Research showed that older people who tutored children in reading were able to delay and, in some cases, reverse brain ageing.

6. And relax…

Feeling stressed out isn’t just about those extra grey hairs. Stress triggers a spike in hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, that can cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. These physical changes in the body can then accelerate ageing.

An excellent way to see off stress is by meditating for 10 minutes each day. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and breathe deeply. You could even try repeating a mantra, a word or phrase that calms you, each time you exhale. This will focus your mind and help you drift away from the stresses and strains of every-day life…. Doesn’t that feel better!