According to the World Health Organization, three-quarters of the ageing process depends on factors such as lifestyle and behavioural choices, and only 25% is dependent on your genes.
If you want to age well, there is a lot you can do that’s within your control.
Good habits can enhance your life and promote a positive mental attitude that compliments the aging process.
Maria, 71, from Leeds, is mum to one son and has two grandsons aged 16 and 20
Many people are amazed when they discover Maria’s age.
She attributes her appearance to her attitude to life. She feels it’s her daily habits that keep her looking youthful. She’ll be turning 72 in January.
We were so inspired by her zest for life and her morning habits that we wanted to share them with you.
I used to work in financial services, which offered financial security but impacted my quality of life. I decided to prioritise health and well being over money and material possessions and never looked back.
Maria’s mindful morning begins when she wakes up at 6 am.
She prepares a salt and sugar combination - also known as oral rehydration therapy - which isa great way to get hydration into your bloodstream after losing water while you sleep.
She prepares a few cups of warm water. In one, she combines a few drops of iodine with a few drops of a Swedish herbal tonic. This helps support cognitive function.
In the other, she adds a ¼ of a teaspoon of honey (produced at her local allotment), a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and a teaspoon of powdered fibre.
Hydration is so important, to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly.
Gratitude is a big part of Maria’s life, and she takes a few moments each day to be grateful for things in her life.
This, she says, has raised her level of happiness even though she has always been a positive person.
What does Maria’s gratitude routine look like?
Each day she notes 10 things she’s grateful for; she counts these on her fingers rather than writing them out.
“I do things for my brain health, and I look after my physical body. So, it feels like being grateful feeds my emotions as I feel happier. Given we live in uncertain times, it’s a critical piece to staying happy.”
In psychology research, gratitude is consistently associated with happiness. It helps people feel positive emotions, enjoy experiences, improves health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Since last November, she’s incorporated a short breathwork routine following the Wim Hof method. (You might have seen him on Netflix - deep breathing and ice baths)!
This helps her to feel more energised and also reduces stress levels.
Next is a 20-minute Qi Gong sequence. Qi Gong is a series of movements and postures coordinated with breathing. She doesn’t do this every day; on the other days she goes to the gym for a Pilates class, followed by a swim and a steam.
Maria subscribes to the use it or lose it philosophy. A healthy body is nothing without a healthy mind.
She completes 30 minutes of Russian on the language learning app Duolingo
“The point of that is to exercise my brain”, Maria explains. She’s been learning for 5 years and is in the top league.
We liked Marias approach because these positive actions cost very little. It’s not about having an expensive gym membership or a luxury spa day to achieve your health and wellness goals.