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Mentally fit and active into old age
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that the over-60s could grow to over two billion by 2050. Not everyone is allowed to stay physically fit and mentally active until old age. However, a positive attitude can improve the starting point for this, as an expert explained.
Aging society The world has to adapt to an aging society. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that the over-60s could grow to over two billion by 2050. Life expectancy is also increasing in Germany, but many people are horrified to grow old. As the Jena aging researcher Christoph Englert said in an interview with the dpa news agency, the idea had to be cleared up that “age means less performance”. Rather, it is the case that senior citizens are also capable of high intellectual performance. "The picture you have of age affects how well you age physically and mentally," says the expert.
Seniors strongly represented at sporting events these days Christoph Englert, who, according to his information, does a lot of sport himself, said in the interview that it is striking that “the age groups of the 60- and sometimes also 70-, 80-year-olds are still strongly represented in the sporting events "Since life expectancy increases on average by three months a year, we now live around five years longer than people 20 years ago," said the age researcher. The reasons for this are diverse. According to him, our life has become "easier, for example, if you compare it to the hard work 100 years ago in agriculture, for example". Medical progress also plays an important role. "It can be observed that we are aging more slowly overall," said Englert.
Keeping the brain fit by learning a new language As the age researcher told dpa, physical performance declines naturally in old age, but there are "studies that show that cognitive things like language learning can still be done quite well in older age." recently Ulman Lindenberger from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, who pointed out the positive effects that can arise when older people learn a new language or surround themselves with lively grandchildren. For some, this could keep the brain fit into old age. Prof. Englert said that unfortunately there is often a negative aftertaste when people talk about aging. As long as there is talk of an aging society and there is something threatening about it, we will also age worse, according to the expert.
Senior citizens in Asia enjoy a higher reputation When asked whether the quality of aging is influenced by the way we think about aging, he explained that this is the case and that there are interesting psychological studies on how a society's age pattern changes aging affects back. For example, older people in Asia enjoy a very different reputation than here. “We are more performance-oriented and should finally clear up the picture that age means less performance. If you see someone like former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, it shows that you can be cognitively powerful in old age and age positively, so to speak, ”said Englert.
Do not put older people on the siding. The researcher explained what he means by "positive aging": "By that I mean a certain willingness to perform and flexibility, not cognitively degrading." It is also important for people in advanced age to have the feeling that they are needed to become. Positive aging is not encouraged by putting people at 65 on the siding and telling them that they can no longer work but retire. Then you age worse. If you have a job and are integrated into society, like a grandmother who takes care of your grandchildren, it contributes to positive aging.
There is no stopping aging. With regard to the decline in physical performance in old age, Prof. Englert explained that aging research is all about "understanding the power of genes". Various organisms, such as mice and fish, are being used to “get an idea of how many genes are involved in aging”. If this is understood, one can see whether it is possible to intervene in the signaling pathways. "Stopping aging is difficult, but we know that as a society we can slow down aging," said Englert. As the expert finally explained, the oldest woman who lived on earth has "turned 122". As far as is known, she was "until the last days a youthful looking woman who was still fighting and riding a bicycle at 117". But even if there are numerous examples, “where aging has been slowed down by a positive attitude towards it. You won't be able to turn it around or stop it. ”(Ad)
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