Are you facing mid-life feeling sluggish, fatigued and generally overweight? Don’t assume that it’s all downhill from here. You can stay fit and healthy well into old age – if you decide to make some important lifestyle changes. Now is the time to take action!
Ask yourself the following questions:-
- Why do some people fare better in old age than others?
- Why is it that some people in their 70s and 80s are able to lead a healthy and active life, free from disease, whilst others become frail and dependent on family members?
Could it be down to luck – or does it have anything to do with the lifestyle choices they have made?
It is true that some people may have a genetic disposition to illness that can not be easily prevented. However, the majority of people who suffer from age related illness may not have given enough attention to their overall health, especially during their mid-life years.
Aging has an impact on our health and vitality. We know that at around age 35 our heart rate begins to dip slightly. Between the ages of 47-51 most women begin to experience life changes associated with the menopause. As we progress past our 50s, our memory, balance and muscle mass begin to wane.
Regardless of general ageing, the main cause of many illnesses is largely due to poor diet, harmful levels of stress and a lack of physical and mental exercise. By choosing to change bad mid-life habits into good ones, you can delay or even prevent illnesses like, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Below the age of 40 it is possible, to some extent, to get away with poor lifestyle choices. Excess alcohol intake, smoking and a poor diet are largely compensated for by the youthful body. After 40 though, you need to take greater care of yourself. If you have arrived at age 40, with the belief that it is normal to lose physical fitness and gain weight, then your mindset may encourage what is known as middle age spread. In reality, this is an increase in visceral fat, often linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Research has shown that between the age of 40 and 60, at least two-thirds of the UK population will suffer with some form of chronic health issue, or at least one long-term illness. Yet, to a large degree, many of these diseases can be avoided.
Mid-life is definitely not a downhill course. Instead, it gives you the chance to view life with a more positive outlook. You owe it to yourself to develop a greater chance of having an active and disease-free lifestyle, while living to a ripe old age.
Here are 4 suggestions that you can work on, if you want to avoid the risk of a debilitating disease later in life.
Take care of your teeth and gums – This may seem obvious, but oral hygiene plays a major part in our long-term health, especially as we age. Brushing and flossing after meals can help to prevent inflammation and the buildup of plaque in both the gums and body. Blood vessels which supply blood and oxygen to the heart and brain can become narrowed or restricted when plaque is present in the body. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke or early onset of dementia. Keeping your teeth & gums healthy can significantly improve your health.
Maintain a healthy diet – Ensure that the food you eat has a positive effect on overall health. Always check food labels to ensure products are low in salt, sugar and saturated fats. Foods high in these will raise your bad cholesterol, clog your arteries and increase your risk of diseases. A diet rich in lean protein, fresh fruit, vegetables and oily fish can guarantee you good health. Try to prepare and cook your own meals as often as possible. There are several good cookery books and programmes which show how to make healthy meals within minutes. Drink plenty of water daily and reduce your alcohol intake.
Exercise your mind and body regularly – It is never too late to start taking part in daily physical and mental exercises. Obviously, no one will be expecting you to run your first marathon, or to appear on mastermind. However, physical exercises like, using the stairs frequently, brisk walking, stretching or joining a gym can be beneficial in helping to keep your body in good working order. If you do join a gym, protect your wrists, hands and back. Indulging in a new hobby and reading or completing puzzles can help keep your mind sharp and alert.
Relax & Sleep well – Dealing with personal, family and work issues can be stressful. Coping with extreme stress can be detrimental to health. Taking time out of your busy day to relax and unwind is crucial. Try to find a period of each day to unwind in a quiet place. Consider meditation or controlled breathing exercises, these will all help to clear your mind. Later in the evening, enjoy a long soak in the bath before heading off to bed.
No one wants to become a burden to their close ones due to poor health issues in later life. Imagine being in total control of your life as you age. Mid-life is a perfect time to evaluate your lifestyle and make those all important health changes. Seize that opportunity.