24/02/2017 08:38 GMT | Updated 25/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Looking Good And Feeling Fine Over The Age Of 65

As we enter our mature years there can be the assumption that we begin to care less about our appearance. Perhaps there's an element of optimism that it will be okay to put in less time and effort - and we'll be able to enjoy unhealthy pursuits guilt-free.

In reality this is nonsense. In our society there are ever-increasing threats to our self-esteem in old age, and maintaining your appearance can actually take on greater importance as a way to keep feeling proud.

Body shape is a key factor in our appearance and how we feel about ourselves, particularly as it's the most susceptible to change over time, sometimes in ways that feel beyond our control.

In fact, the latest research from Stannah's Silver Census has shown that over a third (36%) of people aged 65 and above are more concerned about their body shape today than they were when they were younger. Initially this may seem concerning, but on the other hand it reflects a desire to continue socialising and remain engaged in society.

Maintaining our weight is essential in preventing our body shape from changing too drastically, although we should remember that nothing can stop the effects of time and gravity! Eating well, as well as exercising regularly, is therefore even more important for those of us who wish to maintain (or re-gain!) the figure we had in our youth.

Our research showed that a quarter of over 65s have been on a diet in the last 12 months, rising to a third for women in this age bracket. An impressive seven per cent of over 65s feel like they are healthier now than they were in their youth, with more than two thirds attributing this to being more knowledgeable about how to eat healthily.

It's interesting to consider this, particularly as body image and diets are largely marketed as an issue for young women. A new diet, with devoted fans already swearing their allegiance, seems to emerge every week but it's important to remember that we are advised to approach any dramatic changes to our diet with caution.

Of course, in tandem with a good diet, exercise can make a huge difference to our body shape. Over half of the respondents in the survey who worried about not getting enough exercise were primarily concerned because they don't want to gain weight.

Reassuringly, more than half (58%) of over-65s consider exercise to be an important part of them looking and feeling good. At Stannah, we want to help those aged over 65 to be more active so they can improve their health and in turn in their quality of life. Regardless of your current level of fitness, there is a form of exercise to suit everyone's abilities. We've been working with occupational therapists to develop a series of exercises specifically tailored for those with limited mobility.

With the conversation around healthy lifestyles as prevalent as ever, we should all remember that the older generation are as engaged as everyone else. Considering they will have seen the diet trends and exercise fads come and go, and likely tried a few, we can probably all learn a few tricks of the trade from them.