Take Five to Age Well
With summer coming to an end and the rainy weather here to stay, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to be healthy and look after our wellbeing. However, taking good care of our bodies and mental health can help us live well for longer according to The Open University and their Take Five to Age Well campaign.
What’s Take Five to Age Well?
This month-long campaign runs throughout September across the UK, inviting individuals and communities to make small, daily changes to their lifestyle to improve their aging. It can take around 66 days to form a new habit, so why not start some life-changing habits for Take Five to Age Well. Whether you choose to take on all or just some of the five areas listed below from the campaign, you’ll be on your way to feeling better in your age.
- Eat – eating healthy is much more than a requirement of a diet regime, it also improves your mental health and wellbeing, helping to enhance your lifestyle.
- Drink – drinking more water may seem too simple of a habit, but the benefits of staying hydrated are very positive, including improving your memory and physical health.
- Move – being active is one of the key areas to staying healthy and living a linger, happier life, it can even reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Connect & Engage – sadly, loneliness is one of the biggest killers as it greatly affects your mental and physical health, so connecting with others is vital to aging well.
- Think – it’s important to keep using our brains as we get older so we can stay sharp, learning isn’t just for young people, you can learn something new every day.
As The Open University expertly puts it, we don’t have a choice about aging, but we do have a choice about how we age. Pledging to commit to even one of these positive habits will enhance your wellbeing, physical health and lead to better aging. If you do take part, make sure to fill out The Open University’s survey to measure the benefits you felt during Take Five to Age Well.
How Are Linc Getting Involved?
When we heard about this initiative, we couldn’t wait to jump on board and promote it to our customers. To get some more insight, we spoke with Karen Jeffreys, our Community Engagement Manager for the People & Place Team, to hear how Linc colleagues and customers alike can take part in Take Five to Age Well.
Karen further elaborates on what the campaign involves: “The campaign is about living a longer, healthier life by making a few simple daily changes over the course of 30 days to help you feel happier and be healthier as you age. A similar and popular campaign is the Five a Day campaign about eating five pieces of fruit and veg a day, well the Five to Age Well Campaign is very similar but instead it asks you to focus on creating habits that will improve your aging as well as general health.
There are five key areas you could choose to focus on (bullet pointed above), I personally love the one that focusses on moving! So, I’m taking the challenge of moving more, such as getting up from my desk regularly (which is a real issue for me, especially if I get stuck into something), getting more fresh air by walking outside more frequently and after doing the Couch to 5K.”
But it doesn’t stop there, Karen and the team have been doing some more activities by meeting The Open University team on a regular basis, including the researchers leading the project. Karen explains: “We have been finding out all about the campaign and making plans to enable people to sign up. We’ve now established a Linc Champion, Alison Starling, who will be leading on the project going forward.
She’ll be particularly encouraging people living across our independent living schemes and across the communities she works with to sign up to the project. She’s helping them by ensuring they can join, even though they might not have access to the project digitally. It's great that we have a champion!”
As we can see from Karen and Alison, there are so many ways to get involved, even within just one of the five key areas! Here’s some more ideas of what you could do to take part with the key area of:
- Eating – eat lots of fruit and vegetables throughout the day, start the day right with a nutritious breakfast, eat small yet regular meals.
- Drinking – drink 6-8 cups of water per day, limit your alcohol intake to less than 14 units per week e.g. seven pints of low-strength (ABV 3.6%) lager, beer or cider, and reduce the number of caffeinated drinks.
- Moving – follow an online exercise video or join an in-person class, walk for at least 15 minutes twice a day and stand for at least 5 minutes every hour.
- Connect & Engage – start a new hobby or join a club, call a friend or family member for a daily chat, and get to know people in your community.
- Think – practise mindfulness, play a daily game or puzzle and always be on the look out to learn something new.
Whether you do all these actions, a few, or even just one, you’ll be setting yourself up for better aging. With all the stresses and strains of life at the moment, we believe this is really important cause. Apart from taking up a new challenge, it offers you the chance to reap benefits, which Karen has certainly experienced since pledging to Take Five to Age Well: “For me, it’s giving me more confidence and I’m actually sleeping better already. This is because the aim of this campaign is improving your aging through also bettering your mental and physical health. I often feel overwhelmed with worries and thoughts and the moving, for instance, helps me to focus on something else.
You don’t have to commit to doing everything all at once, you can go at your own pace and set your own challenge. So, for some people it might be that you drink one extra glass of water a day, for others it might be that they run a marathon! It's entirely up to you, but the science says it can help you live and age well.”
With the benefits being very clear, we took the idea out to test it amongst different communities and people within Linc who said they would be keen to sign up. These individuals and groups gave us some great insight, including what they might find easy and what they might find more difficult. But overall, they concluded it was a great idea and it’s fantastic to see so many people express a real interest. Our vision is to create the right environment for people to flourish and this project helps provide that, not only across the communities we serve, but also with colleagues too.
Anyone living or working anywhere can sign up for the pledge and you can also sign up anytime over the course of the next few months. The campaign may have launched in September, but you can still join now. If you’re not digitally engaged or perhaps struggle with doing things online, you can contact Alison on 0790 862840 or email her on email@example.com, but otherwise you can sign up by visiting The Open University’s Take Five to Age Well web page where there are incredible online resources.
For us, we’ll continue to meet as a group to stay involved and would love to hear your stories of how it’s helped you. For more information on how Linc can support you, get in touch for a chat.