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Golden Years Ahead: A Comprehensive Healthy Ageing Program (Part 4)

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Written by Dr Victor H H Goh, Professor, Science of Ageing. His academic work over the past 40 years has resulted in more than 450 publications, conference papers, and professional technical reports.

Golden years ahead

We have formulated a healthy ageing programme to help people to age well into their golden years ahead. The four major lifestyle habits that need careful consideration include proper diet, regular exercise, good sleeping habits and a good coping strategy for stress.


The food, both type and amount we eat is associated with many of the ill effects of ageing and there are many established strategies to eat well for healthy living.


A lifestyle habit of regular exercise is effective in reducing the risk of obesity and its attendant higher risk of metabolic syndrome, improving the body shape, strengthening bones and building greater muscle mass and strength and thus avoiding the risk of some muscular-skeletal disorders. However, our studies also showed that exercise has to be regular and of sufficient intensity to acquire the desired health benefits. An established method to quantify the intensity of any type of exercise or sport can be used to assess whether an individual is exercising sufficiently to improve health.


Poor quality and disrupted sleep is not necessarily an age-related phenomenon. With the advent of gadgets such as tablets and smartphones with light-emitting screens, many people, both young and older, are spending inordinate amounts of time on them, sometimes, into the wee hours of the morning. Exposure to light, albeit of low lux, has an adverse effect on the quality of sleep. Chronic sleep restriction (regularly sleeping for insufficient duration per day) is very common today. The long-term ill effects of chronic sleep restriction have yet to be studied extensively. However, the cumulated sleep debt in people with chronic sleep restriction if not resolved can lead to poor health and accelerate the rate of ageing. Therefore, having good quality sleep is another lifestyle habit that can help slow down the rate of ageing.


Stress is present almost in everyone. The difference is how intense the stress level is. For an increasing number of people, the stress level may reach a pathological stage that requires professional therapy. Being constantly under stress is perhaps one factor that can accelerate the rate of ageing. Developing a coping mechanism to deal with the many stressors in one’s life is an essential part of a healthy ageing programme.

 

For a more detailed discourse on how Singaporeans are ageing and what measures can help slow down the rate of ageing, refer to the book “Healthy Ageing – For Feeling Good and Looking Good” by Dr Victor H H Goh.



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