Malaysian entrepreneur Datin Dr Winnie Loo believes that ageing gracefully involves both mental and physical aspects.
“It’s not just about looking young but also about being mentally active, and always evolving and improving,” says Loo, 66.
Loo is one of the three speakers at the Star Media Group’s free webinar entitled “How to break a midlife mindset and start a fit mind habit” on Sept 23. The webinar is part of the Be A Star After 50 campaign, which promotes positive ageing.
The collaboration between Star Media Group and Nutren Optimum by Nestle Health Science celebrates Malaysians over 50 who are exemplary role models in four STAR “pillars”: S for Sporty (active), T for Tenderhearted (community work), A for Ambitious (new experiences, new skills), and R for Radiant (health and wellness).
“Since I’m in the fashion industry, I can’t afford to think old. Trends come and go and if you think old, you’d still be stuck in the 70s.
“I surround myself with younger people so that I can learn new things and skills. When you think young, you’ll keep up with the trends,” says Loo, founder of the A Cut Above group.
Physically, if you want to look good, you have to make the effort, she adds.
“It’s more than just being vain. As someone who’s in the hair and beauty industry, physical (appearance) is important, and you’ve to ‘walk the talk’,” she says.
“You need to live well, eat right, stay slim, get enough sleep, and more,” she says, adding that she doesn’t drink nor smoke.
Loo credits her youthful looks to genetics.
“I look young thanks to my mum because I’ve pretty good genes. She still looks good way into her 80s,” she says.
However, Loo is quick to add that one still has to take care of oneself.
“If you have good genes, don’t waste it.”
Dedicated to his passion
Former footballer Sunny Shalesh says the secret to ageing well is to “find your passion and focus on it”.
The 52-year-old won the Star Golden Hearts Award 2021 for his efforts in empowering persons with disabilities through football. It’s his focus on helping the differently abled that keeps him young, he reveals.
“Everything I do is about advocating for, and championing the rights and welfare of, these differently abled children and adults through football,” he says. “And every time I help to coach them, it energises me.”
Sunny says that although his task may be tiring and the hours long, he seldom feels tired.
“Seeing them progress through the years is an amazing experience and they inspire me to do more,” he says.
Sunny admits he’s not on any physical fitness regime due to his commitments.
“I was previously but I’ve stopped doing it for many months because I’m more focused on coaching,” he says.
Staying young is more than about physical fitness and eating a balanced diet, with adequate protein intake, it’s about mental wellbeing too.
“I challenge my mind to progress: keep thinking what’s next – how I’m going to help them improve their lives, score more goals. When you indulge in your passions, you forget your aches and pains – which are a normal part of growing older,” says Sunny, who admits he has bad knees from excessive wear and tear during his years as a footballer.
Four principles of life
Ageing well is about adhering to the right principles in life, says Tan Sri Datuk Dr M Jegathesan.
Dr Jegathesan, who was known as the “flying doctor of Malaysia” for his athletic achievements as a runner and being a medical doctor, says he strictly follows the principles of “the four Ds: direction, determination, dedication and discipline”.
At 79, he laughingly says he doesn’t believe living to his age is considered “longevity” because “people are now living well into their 90s, including the late Queen Elizabeth”.
“Life expectancy is increasing. When I was a child, my father and his friends retired at age 55. After enjoying their retirement for a few years, they passed away. But today, people retire at the age of 60 and lead fulfilling lives way into their 90s,” he says.
The secret to ageing well is very simple: live a healthy lifestyle and a balanced life, says Dr Jegathesan.
“Build good habits and lead a balanced life,” he says, adding that he has three balanced meals a day with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins (vegetables). He also plays golf and goes jogging.
To him, there’s no such thing as “midlife crisis” because crises happen at any stage of life.
“Just remember, wherever you’re at, for every one step you fall behind, you have to take two steps forward so that you’ll always keep progressing in life,” he advises.
For more secrets on ageing well, register for the webinar.