As we grow older many people will have different goals in life. For some this will mean enjoying a well-earned retirement, for others it may mean moving abroad and for many it will be the desire to continue working. However, in order to do this it is essential that we maintain independence in our lives both in body and mind. One way in which we are able to do this is by Resting Better which will in turn lead to Moving Better.
As humans we are accustomed to doing everyday tasks that are essential and a ‘good’ rest enables us to do this. Put simply, getting better quality rest actually gives us a whole host of benefits to our heart, body and mind. It may seem overly simple to have any significant benefit but the formula of resting better + moving better = living better is as true now as it ever has been.
Julie Jennings an independent Occupational Therapist further comments: “Ultimately, resting provides us with a very natural restorative period that allows our body’s to recuperate and even make sense of the day’s happenings”.
But just why is it so crucial to get a suitable amount of rest? Well for a start it is absolutely paramount to staying healthy! It has in fact been scientifically proven that getting sufficient levels of rest leads to living longer, learning new things more easily, strengthened memory and ultimately the ability to enjoy a better quality of life.
Similarly, those that have insufficient levels of rest reduces the body’s natural defence mechanisms. This means that people suffering from lack of rest will most likely have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood which has a direct link to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and premature ageing. Furthermore, at the very least people will feel groggy and agitated from lack of rest but at the other end of the scale there can be more devastating effects such as stress and depression, having a knock on effect on cardiovascular health.
And is it just the elderly that need to sustain rest periods? In short, everyone could benefit from better quality rest. Most people will spend at least half of their life resting and this is why it is important to consider the type of rest that we all require. Julie again comments:
“Babies and toddlers need a great deal of postural support to help encourage healthy bone development. Then, as we grow older, children still need proper support as they sit or rest.
However, as we continue to grow older again the fact that we need vital rest seems to get lost in translation. For example as adults we seem to get less rest and try to justify this with other issues that are claimed to hold more importance.”
It is therefore at no surprise that many of us will enter middle age with poor posture and back issues. Our health is very important to most of us and for every person that tries to make the short term excuse for having incorrect support for themselves are simply prolonging the more serious long term effects.
However, another way to compliment the good habit of having better quality rest is to have better quality movement. And it’s even more important as we grow older! In fact, perhaps unsurprisingly the over 65’s are the age group at which physical activity starts to decline. Unfortunately, this correlates with having obesity, heart disease and even falls.
Independent Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings confirms this view by stating: “Just like a diesel engine, our body’s should be thought of as machines with working parts. These parts, need to be used regularly to prevent our muscles from shrinking and bones weakening leading to fractures”.
The danger is that all the things we have taken for granted over the years will suddenly become a lot harder and simple pleasures such as taking a walk or playing with the grandchildren will become an everyday struggle.
The overall benefit of resting better in order to move better is to have a better quality of life. However, this is a subjective concept and will inevitably mean different things for different people. For some it will mean having a nice, a good home, and disposable income for holidays. For others it may be enjoying time with the grandkids or simply walking more.
However, whatever the goals are for an individual, they will ultimately need a healthy body and mind to achieve them. Therefore, it is hugely important that we try to rest better in order to move better as we continue to grow older.
For other ways to try and slow down the ageing process, take a look at 9 mistruths about ageing.