From creaking knees to wrinkly necks, ageing can be portrayed as a negative thing.
But a recent poll from the Royal Voluntary Service found that 63% of people aged 70 plus are happier now that they have ever been.
What’s more, around half (52%) said they are still in the prime of their life, with the main perks including more time to do what you want, and worrying less about things that aren’t important.
Here are some ways to ensure life is as happy and healthy as possible when you’re three score years and 10...
1. Get plenty of sleep
Sleeping patterns can change as we get older, but it’s important to try and get a good night’s shut-eye to improve focus and memory formation, and support your immune system.
Hitting the dancefloor is a great way to exercise your body (slowing down the muscle-weakening process), and your brain, as you try and remember the steps. We think we’ll leave the Gangnam Style salsa to Ed Balls, though.
3. Stay positive
Studies have found that an optimistic outlook can boost your life expectancy (by as much as seven years, according to some estimates).
4. Drink red wine
A glass of red vino contains beneficial antioxidants – and, in general, the darker the wine, the more antioxidants its thought to contain. Go for just the one glass though; the positive effects will inevitably be outweighed by the hangover if you sink the whole bottle…
5. Keep your brain busy
Keeping your brain active during middle age is thought to delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in those most at risk. Research has shown that carriers of a gene linked to the disease, called APOE4, could slow down its onset through lifelong learning.
6. If in doubt, get it checked out
Don’t dismiss every seemingly minor health niggle as ‘just old age’ – it’s always worth getting things checked out with your GP, just in case.
7. Surround yourself with younger people
It’s worked for singer Elaine Paige. The 69-year-old has said that surrounding herself with young people helps her stay youthful, “because they’ve got more energy than you and you’ve got to keep up with them”.
8. Eat blueberries
These oh-so-tasty morsels aren’t just a delicious topping for your morning porridge; they’re rich in vitamin C to aid circulation, and are packed with antioxidants too.
9. Join a choir
Singing can reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and improves mental alertness. The controlled breathing involved can also help you relax. Visit www.makingmusic.org.uk/ to search for a choir near you.
10. Enjoy an active sex life
According to the former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, the health benefits of sex can make men and women look between five and seven years younger. These include the release of feel-good endorphins, stress relief (which also aids sleep), and a circulation boost.
Even if you’ve retired, it can be difficult to set aside some time for yourself, with grandchildren to babysit, a house to maintain or a long list of errands to run. But taking time out of your busy day – even just 10 minutes - to be mindful and let silence surround you can do wonders for your emotional wellbeing.
Do you have any tips for staying in your prime in yours 70s? Share them below.
The Royal Voluntary Service is holding GrandFest, a one-day festival celebrating older people and their craft skills, in London on June 18. For more information, visit www.grandfest.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk