Sweat it out for good health

Sweat it out for good health

In two years' time, baby boomers born in 1964 will turn 60. I happen to be one of the last born in the boomer years counting down to retirement in the Year of the Rabbit.

Along with wrinkles and grey hair, the 60-something folks are in their autumn of life.

September is also the month of autumn, with this year's autumn equinox on Sept 22.

Today, we're accustomed to Healthy Aging Month, which was initiated 30 years ago by the publisher of the Healthy Aging multimedia platform, Carolyn Worthington.

The "September Is Healthy Aging Month" aims to encourage people to take personal responsibility for their health and embrace the positive aspects of growing older.

It launched in 1992, but it was only last year that the US Senate unanimously passed the resolution marking September as National Healthy Aging Month.

Hence, many organisations have joined the celebration and are spreading the word to raise awareness and inspire people to holistically keep fit and pursue wellness.

Healthy Aging magazine has a dedicated webpage to celebrate where visitors can read tips on attaining physical, mental and social well-being.

It can be about moving more and sitting less, changing the diet by cutting back on salt and adding more fibre, and getting involved in new activities and meeting new friends.

This year the key message of "Stay Fit, Stay Healthy, Stay Adventurous, Stay Connected" encourages making positive efforts for active ageing.

But of course, ageing doesn't start in your 50s or 60s and these messages speak particularly to those from the age of 45, who need to maintain a balance and a healthy lifestyle that will pay off in later years.

One of the worst things that can happen is that leading an unbalanced life and working hard until retirement might cause us to become sick with various diseases and have to use our savings to pay for expensive medical bills.

Healthy ageing is even more important with the increasing number of seniors.

Thailand's greying society was a subject of research for the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia.

The research project was spearheaded by the Ageing Business and Care Development Centre of Thammasat University, established in 2019 to recommend policies and guidelines on ageing.

Published in June last year, the Population Ageing in Thailand report indicated that the Land of Smiles is one of the fastest-ageing countries in the world, and the proportion of the people aged 60 and over is projected to increase from 13% in 2010 to 33% in 2040.

The five studies look at the long-term care model, informal workers' preparedness for active ageing, risk preference of ageing consumers, business start-up survey for the healthcare industry, and market for products and services targeting older people in Thailand.

Beyond healthy ageing, active ageing covers maintaining good health, economic and social participation, and security.

While there are many dimensions, at least, we can take charge of our own health.

And if we haven't started yet, September is a good month to get things rolling.

Worthington chose September as Healthy Aging Month because it makes people recall going back to school as in the US the first semester begins in the ninth month of the year.

Thais relate well to the number nine, or gao, whose homonym means taking a step or advance. On Friday, the ninth day of the ninth month is especially considered an auspicious day.

So for those who want to get physically started on healthy ageing, September is the month to sweat it out and make it a habit to regularly exercise.

Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Kanokporn Chanasongkram

Feature writer

Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

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