Exceptional ageing

By 2020, 18% of Australia's population will be over 65 and by 2050 this will be well over 24%.

Ageing is a complex process. Most people think of growing old as a slow terminal decline. But it need not be that way. A healthy body, an active mind and a willingness to give back to loved ones and the community are key hallmarks of ageing exceptionally.

A healthy body

The human body is built to withstand most of the hazards thrown at it by a harsh environment. However, time does take its toll. Muscle mass is lost, tendons no longer bounce back and stiff joints are all signs and symptoms of accumulating damage that affects every cell in the body. Living with oxygen generates free radicals. These free radicals, despite the effective buffering and removal, inevitably cause some degree of damage. Damage to proteins and DNA. This affects how cells work and how cells replicate. The best science has to offer today is strangely to create more free radicals, in controlled bursts – otherwise known as exercise.  Exercise throughout all stages of life generates free radicals, but at the same time the body engages in an active program of building antioxidant defenses. The improved defense lasts for days, even weeks, tipping the balance towards better recovery of cells and tissues.

An active mind

The tell tale signs of the slow loss of mental function most experience with ageing is the inability to recall names and locate those glasses. For most people, it ends with a shrug and an acceptance that ‘that’s just growing old’. But at the same time, progressing through the middle years of our lives is a time when we become better at our jobs, we are less emotive and often more rational, we can recall connections and pathways, we get better at drawing upon past experiences to solve problems and do things better. This wisdom of getting older is not something that happens overnight, like all important aspects of life, it takes training and concentration. Losing car keys and forgetting birthdays can be tackled in the same was as keeping fit, exercise is required. Complex crosswords, memory games, deliberately thinking outside the box and keeping an active body are all vital ingredients in keeping the brain active and alert.

Giving and receiving

Families would struggle to function without the care and love grandparents bring to their grandchildren. Without grandfathers many kids would never learn to ride bikes.  Grandmothers are often the family member with the patience and care to give children the chance to learn how to chop vegetables and cook. Ageing provides the time, love and patience to foster the lives of so many. It’s only with the passage of time that we accumulate the knowledge and importantly the wisdom of how to give and receive so the whole community benefits.

And occasionally you can do as you please – as Albert Einstein (1879-1955) once said – “I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”

Recommended reading - Caring for your mind

Community

Smiling Mind: Mindfulness made easy

Making mindfulness meditation free, Smiling Mind improves the mental wellbeing of young Australians

Read more
In Brief

Women’s health, hospital visits and mental illness

Go figure: women live longer than men, yet are 7.8% more likely to be admitted to hospital

Read more
Experts

10 things you need to know about the mind

Psychologist Emily Toner takes us inside this mysterious mass of nerves and fibres in our heads.

Read more
Experts

Depression and dementia risk

It is not widely recognised that depression increases the risk of late-life dementia.

Read more
Experts

Building a better brain

Brain fitness is a lifelong commitment to health and wellbeing - Dr Brockis shares her top fit tips.

Read more
Community

How Men’s Shed improves men’s wellbeing

Men's Shed has a mission to reduce social isolation by providing camaraderie, skills and support.

Read more
In Brief

Reducing stigma around depression

While stigma around depression has decreased over the past decade, it’s still troublingly prevalent.

Read more
Experts

Dealing with anxiety

Are your worries snowballing and interfering with your daily life? You may be experiencing anxiety

Read more
In Brief

Free online help for children with anxiety

Beyondblue has released a free online program, proven to help prevent and treat youth anxiety.

Read more
Community

5 reasons to run in the morning

Understand how running in the morning can change your life, and why you should start now.

Read more
Experts

6 ways exercise changes your brain

Dr Brockis explains how getting your blood pumping boosts your mood, focus and mental performance.

Read more
Advice

10 best mental health apps

Top apps for managing anxiety, boosting your mood and checking in with your mental wellbeing.

Read more
In Brief

7 steps to better youth mental health

One in five young people may be experiencing mental illness. Strateges to improve youth health.

Read more
Experts

8 ways to improve your mental health

Improve your mental health and your wellbeing will follow. Here’s how to keep things in check.

Read more
Lifestyle

10 fitness and wellbeing podcasts to get you inspired

Supercharge your motivation, learn something new, and be entertained with uplifting health podcasts.

Read more
Lifestyle

5 simple ways to relieve stress (without chocolate biscuits)

Feeling overwhelmed? Calm and recharge yourself with these positive stress-reducing techniques.

Read more
Advice

A journey to better health with Anthony Field

Read about how Anthony Field (a.k.a. the Blue Wiggle) he got his Wiggle back.

Read more
Community

Creating connections for youth mental health

How technology, support and community can help improve the mental wellbeing of young people.

Read more
Experts

Digital technology for mental health

How apps and technology can be harnessed to help improve our mental health and wellbeing

Read more
Community

Exercise for your mental health: Michelle Bridges

Join Michelle Bridges and the Black Dog Institute to get moving in Exercise Your Mood Month.

Read more
Experts

Exercise for mental health treatment

Anxiety and depression can be exhausting, but exercise is one fantastic way of fighting back.

Read more
In Brief

Fruits and vegetables for mental health

Eating five serves of fruits and vegetables each day boosts your mental health and wellbeing.

Read more
In Brief

Giving up smoking improves mental health

Think smoking calms you down? Research shows quitting is much better at boosting your mental health.

Read more
In Brief

Introducing the Medibank Better Health Index

Australia’s biggest quarterly health index provides valuable insights into our nation’s well-being.

Read more
In Brief

SAFEMinds for youth mental health

Helping equip parents and teachers to provide better support for young people who may be struggling.

Read more
In Brief

Mental Health Week

This Mental Health Week, Medibank’s reaffirming its commitment to better mental health nationwide

Read more
Community

Happiness through health

Rachael Finch is peachy keen about all things health and fitness.

Read more
Experts

How to build mental resilience

Life has a habit of testing our limits - mental resilience is your chance to bounce back.

Read more
Advice

How mindfulness makes you calm, clear and focused

Ready to silence your mind, untangle your nerves, and really connect with your world? Here's how.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.