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Ageing well in 10 minutes a day – The Age Well Project

Swimmers at Bronte Beach rock pool.

Here are seven easy things to try - and they really do only take 10 minutes to help you age well. There’s a mixture of mindset practices, workout ideas and one super-quick tip for healthy eating. Which of them can you achieve today? Hit reply and let me know!

Read a book - readers live longer, healthier lives. Reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress - one of life's great agers - by up to 68%. A study at Yale University found that book readers lived for almost two years longer than non-readers. It appears that the distraction of being taken into a fictional world eases tension in the muscles and the heart.

Lift weights to maintain and build muscle. Keep a few hands weights somewhere, well, handy: by the bed, in the kitchen or even in your bathroom. Building and maintaining muscle is about so much more than staying strong. Muscle has been linked to improved cell function, reduced inflammation, (a hallmark of ageing), better cognition and slower bone loss.

Spend 10 minutes outsid​e soon after waking. Morning light helps set our circadian rhythms, the internal clock which tells us when to wake and sleep. If daylight reaches our eyes soon after we wake, it triggers the neural circuit controlling the hormones cortisol and melatonin, which regulate our sleep.

Go for a savouring walk: try to notice as many positive things as you can on your route. You might spot interesting architecture, a cute dog, a smiley child, pretty flowers in a front garden. Acknowledge each one in your mind to lock in the benefits of gratitude, which has a positive impact on longevity and wellbeing.

Dance to your favourite music. Dancing requires a unique combination of balance, strength, endurance, memory and concentration. Researchers in Japan found it's the best exercise to reduce the risk of functional decline (for example, being unable to wash or eat unaided).

Take a 10-minute guided meditation or deep breathing exercise. Research has shown that meditation lowers levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), stabilises the heartbeat and improves sleep quality. Search out videos on YouTube for Kirtan Kriya, a chanting meditation which has been found to increase cerebral blood flow and cognition, or yoga nidra - a guided visualisation which promotes deep relaxation.

Spend the time preparing vegetables. Eating more vegetables is the number one dietary change to improve your health. Imagine how good it would feel to open your fridge and find some prepped and wrapped carrots sticks ready to dunk into hummus; washed and ready-to-go salad leaves plus a jar of olive oil-rich dressing; cubed courgettes and red peppers waiting to be roasted for dinner.

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