Maintaining optimal physical condition becomes increasingly paramount as we age; to better understand how to achieve an active and healthy lifestyle, Aquarate discusses with Tina Alexander the best strategies for ageing well in a digital world.
With higher life expectancy and consistently lower birth rates, our population is becoming steadily older with over half of the EU’s population predicted to be over 65 by 2070. An ageing population creates great opportunities to tap into todays world of connected technology and create solutions and products that can change peoples lives now and in the future.
Aquarate spoke to Tina Alexander, who cares for her elderly mother, to get her advice on how to keep active and healthy as we age in a digital world.
Tina, could you start by telling us about yourself?
I live on the outskirts of Glasgow now, having moved from the Lake District five years ago. This was where my two grown up daughters were born and raised and where the fullness and momentum of family life happened. I can’t believe that I am 58 years’ old – at least perhaps my physical body is, but I still feel 35 in my head. I have a fairly sedentary job working part time, mainly from home, as a Content Manager for a group of hotels.
The Lake District looks beautiful! So how do you keep active now? What sort of hobbies do you enjoy?
I’ve always tried to keep fit and active – running a marathon with very little preparation when I was 21 (silly!) and progressing to hill running in the Lake District with a friend in my 30s and 40s and, in the last few years, going to the gym and getting into long distance walking which I love. My husband and I also took on the strenuous job of re-designing the garden this summer – that’s when I really started to feel my age!
I really didn’t notice my forties and they flew by in a bit of a blur, I guess because I was so busy being a Mum to teenagers. But when I reached fifty, the passage of time and my stage of life really hit me. That’s when I realised that life on earth is a finite thing which can be a bitter sweet realisation. By the time that discovery hit me, a lot of the insecurities of youth and early adulthood had gone, being replaced with a desire to live life to the max, but that’s the very time you start to notice that you are not as young as you once were, and that you can’t live life at the pace you did in your twenties and thirties.
All in all, I’m pretty fit for my age. I can run 5 km as long as it’s not all up hill, I like Body Pump at the gym and we try to eat a fairly healthy and balanced diet. This was helped in the last year when my husbands son lived with us and we switched to a vegetarian diet. I still love eating meat, but the variety of natural and organic products we ate took my diet to a new level and I found I had much more energy. Now that my son in law has moved to his own flat, we are determined to maintain a healthy, balanced diet but we will mix it up with vegetarian, meat and chicken dishes.
Have you noticed any physical conditions starting at all that limit what you can do?
One condition that I have noticed in the last few years has been arthritis in my hands. When I wake in the morning my fingers are swollen and I need to move them to get going. To be honest, I’ve not really confronted it, or sought any medical advice. I do know that it’s good to drink water to alleviate the symptoms, but I am very guilty of forgetting and if I try to cram a litre or two in the afternoon I know that it means I will be up to the loo all night.
Yes, staying hydrated definitely can help reduce inflammation linked with arthritis but most of us are guilty of not drinking enough. Do you use any health devices or apps in your day to day life?
A Fitbit was the go to device a couple of years ago for recording your heart rate, steps, running routes etc and both my husband and I got one, but we just fell out of the habit of using them and I don’t even know where it is now. Having said that, I am very aware that I will have to work harder at maintaining a healthy lifestyle as I age. It’s very easy to fall into bad habits, especially with the type of job I do and with fewer family responsibilities. My desire is to be as active as I can for as long as I can and I realise that will take discipline and determination.
Promoting the use of preventative tools and active routines are exactly what Aquarate is all about. We want to help people build these healthy life and hydration habits for a better future as we age. Innovating the way we age well is so important and having the right support systems in place is vital.
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