A pessimistic attitude and outlook on life is influenced by the negative, and incorrect, portrayal of ‘old age’ as a period of inevitable and irreversible decline by most media. A pessimistic attitude accelerates the rate of the decline partly because people who adopt this attitude make no attempt to keep fit, let alone get fitter. Nor do they try to reduce the risk of disease
Some people, including some doctors, say “It’s your age” or, even worse “what else do you expect at your age?” These statements are examples of ageism and although we have heard less about ageism than racism or sexism it is coming up the agenda. Ageism is a prejudice and a prejudice comes from the term ‘prejudging’ namely judging someone on the basis of one characteristic before you know what they’re really like.
The first point to make is that people who are 60 or 70 or any age differ from one another in many more ways than they are alike so that all generalisations have to be taken with a very big pinch of salt. The second point is that such statements are based on the false belief that all problems are due to the ageing process and this belief is widespread and influences many people including many older people. There has probably never been a better time in which to be old than now! But it is very important to appreciate how negative, pessimistic and sometimes hostile attitudes can make people who are old pessimistic. There has probably never been a better time in which to be old now than now but it is a very important to appreciate how negative, pessimistic and sometimes hostile attitudes can make people who are old pessimistic.
Never mind whatever other people think. You need to believe within yourself and these magnificent seven facts:
- Ageing by itself is not a major cause of disability itself until the nineties
- Many of the problems that we have assumed are due to ageing are due to loss of fitness
- Many of the problems that we have assumed are due to ageing are due to preventable disease
- The risk of disease can still be reduced after the age of sixty
- Fitness can be regained after the age of sixty
- The problems of too many older people are caused by deprivation and poverty, not ageing.
- People who are over sixty make a positive contribution to society in many ways, for example without the contribution of people in their sixties, seventies, eighties and older the NHS would collapse TOMORROW.
- It is important to be clear in your own mind about the factors that influence your abilities
- It is important not to feel guilty about the problems of younger people.
- It is important to be positive and optimistic
- It is important to believe that whatever your age you can close the fitness gap between the best possible rate of decline which only a few very fit people follow and the actual rate of decline
Reproduced from Sod Sitting, Get Moving!: Getting Active in Your 60s, 70s and Beyond Hardcover – 9 Mar. 2017 by Sir Muir Gray (Author), Diana Moran (Author), David Mostyn (Illustrator)To buy a copy click here