As the Queen approaches her platinum jubilee, she has had a longer reign than any other monarch. Top medical care, daily exercise, plenty of fresh air and a healthy well-balanced diet plus a strong sense of purpose are possible contributory factors.
Editor Jane Garton considers some ways in which we can embrace a long and healthy life.
Eat a Mediterranean diet
Go for a Mediterranean-style diet with plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit, especially berries, with moderate amounts of fish (including oily fish) and lean protein. And don’t forget that all important fibre. 30g a day is what the experts recommend but studies show the average UK intake is less than 20g a day. Adding just 8g more fibre a day, the equivalent of a serving of bulgar, quinoa, whole grain rice or three to four slices of whole grain bread to your diet, will improve your health by leaps and bounds. Make lunch a Mediterranean superfood salad and you can’t go wrong.
Walk for brain health
More working from home increases the risk of sitting for longer periods which does little to boost brain health. Aim to go for a brisk 30-minute walk two to three times a week. Studies show it may help to slow down age-related cognitive decline. Apparently, the Queen favours ‘sensible exercise’ and until recently walked her beloved corgis and went riding most days when possible.
Stress can pile on the years not least because if persistent it increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, a fast heart rate heart attacks and stroke. So in whatever ways you can, minimise everyday stress I your life.
Turn off your phone for a set amount of time every day and create some me time instead. Try not to bottle up worries and anxieties but share problems and concerns with friends and family which helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol. Meditation, mindfulness or controlled breathing can also work wonders for reducing stress.
Consider yoga too – as well as improving strength, balance, and flexibility it helps reduce inflammation which in turn helps to slow down biological ageing. And when it comes to herbal support, Rhodiola and ashwagandha are both are great stress relievers.
Exercise has to be one of the top anti-ageing strategies. It keeps us nimble, improves circulation, and helps to lower cholesterol. It also helps lower blood pressure, can help reduce inflammation, boosts mental health, and keeps the heart muscle strong.
Aim for at least 150 minutes (30 minutes, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity activity a week (such as walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running or aerobics), or a combination of both, say the experts.
The Queen reads the newspapers each morning over breakfast and stays abreast of all political and social developments. This keeps her brain active, something we should all be addressing as we get older. Crosswords, card games, puzzles, visits to museums and galleries and reading are all good options.
Try wild swimming
It is unlikely that the Queen takes a daily dip in the river near Windsor castle! But whatever your age the benefits of taking an outdoor dip in a river, lake or the sea are well documented and now it seems it may well help build up resilience to stress. The reason? It helps boost levels of endorphins, the body’s natural happy hormones that help you cope with the inevitable ups and downs of daily life.
The secret is to take it slowly and aim for just two to three minutes for your first dip to avoid cold water shock and to build up levels gradually.