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We can’t stop ageing, but having a sense of humour helps

We may not be able to stop our minds and bodies from ageing but having a sense of humour makes the ride more enjoyable

“I don’t think I had a nap today, but I’m not sure – I may have slept through part of it.” Anonymous

Today’s article was inspired by the passing remark above that one of my older friends made to me this past week.

Once we finally managed to stop giggling at the absurd truth of the statement, I was struck by how perfectly it summed up both the reality of living life in an older body in the internet age and the importance of maintaining a positive outlook regarding the changes that are constantly going on inside your body as you age.

While some physical and mental changes are red flags of a looming health crisis (and it is always important consult your personal physician when new symptoms suddenly appear), others are simply signs that your mind (or your subconscious if you prefer) is going through some sort of a transition, which is affecting your cognitive abilities.

Until recently, this onset of diminished mental capacity was thought to be normal, inevitable, and unavoidable but a quick Google search will show you that new studies are emerging that suggest that although your brain might work a little more slowly in later life, it does not mean that you can’t learn new things and, perhaps more importantly, think effectively.

In fact, there are instances where acquired life experience and patience can be assets that actually give older adults an advantage when learning new skills.

And since brain function in later life tends to diminish due to decreases in blood and oxygen flow, there is even a school of thought that says that you can slow (and perhaps even reverse) this process simply by engaging in age-appropriate cardiovascular exercise.

In short, as you age, regular exercise such as a brisk walk isn’t just good for your waistline, it can actually help you think more clearly because it enhances the blood and oxygen flow to your entire body including the brain.

Furthermore, moderate exercise also increases the flow of endorphins throughout the body, generating that positive feel-good sensation we all love. This gives us the confidence to appreciate everything that we have going for us in life and not get overly frustrated by the things that seem a wee bit challenging.

This means that rather than getting stressed, the key to remembering where you left your reading glasses might simply be to go for a short walk and believe that you will remember where you left them when you get home.

But perhaps the single biggest determining factor is one that is totally within our own control – our sense of humour. We may not be able to stop our minds and bodies from ageing, but we certainly have the option to enjoy the ride.

And if all else fails – be sure to take the dog with you whenever you go walking. He will definitely remember the way home when it’s dinner time and drag you with him – and then you can both have a nap.

Robin Trimingham is the managing director of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a business consultant, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or robin@olderhood.com

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Published March 29, 2022 at 7:41 am (Updated March 29, 2022 at 7:41 am)

We can’t stop ageing, but having a sense of humour helps

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