Ways to make age just a number

It is ironic that younger Singaporeans are more stressed out over ageing than older people, when stress itself predisposes one towards biological ageing (Younger S'poreans more worried about ageing; Sept 2).

There is nothing anyone can do about chronological ageing - the more birthdays, the older one gets.

But there are many strategies we can adopt so that our biological age (how our bodies actually feel, perform and look) loses synchrony with chronological age, allowing our bodies to behave and react with the vim, vigour and vitality of a younger person.

There is no magic in this. It starts with keeping an ideal body weight, maintaining a lifelong love of vegetables and adopting an active lifestyle with a judicious amount of exercise.

We can stay out of the midday sun, be happy, positive, helpful and optimistic, get enough sleep daily, and avoid pollutants or unnecessary stress.

Smoking is taboo, as is heavy alcohol consumption.

Getting an adequate amount of morning or evening sun, indulging in far less meat consumption (especially the burnt and barbecued variety), and passing on the sugar and the fats is sensible.

Meanwhile, maintaining self-esteem with adequate introspection, and laughing hard at ourselves and with others, also revivifies us in no small measure.

We cannot change our genes, which predetermine our disposition to diseases that affect our longevity.

But we can modify many of their pernicious effects by tweaking our habits, attitudes, lifestyles and living environment.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline 'Ways to make age just a number'. Print Edition | Subscribe