We have all heard it before: “As you get older, you need to slow down, eat less, stay active and get enough sleep because you’re not 20 anymore!” Sound familiar? We are inundated with social media turning out blogs, videos, and endless get-slim-quick schemes so those of us in the “aging” population can keep up with the “youthful” generation. Sounds like too much work, but it IS important to take care of oneself because let’s face it, we all are getting older.
Are we 50-somethings like fine wine or lukewarm water?
So what can happen to a person after they turn 50? Health changes for one. For me, I was already experiencing the “symptoms” in my late 30’s and into my 40’s.
Now at 51, I have the pleasure of dealing with pre-menopausal symptoms. Oh, the joys for ya’ll who haven’t reached my age yet! Turning to diet and exercise had been one of my love-hate relationships since my prepubescent days. Trying to educate myself with all the types of diets out there – I tried most of them: Atkins, low-carb, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and most recently, Keto. All of them contribute to helping me carve out a more modified eating plan, but for years I’ve struggled with few health hits against me. Family obesity, diabetes and hypertension plus certain cancers have bombarded my family especially, I noticed, after many of us were heading into our fifties and later.
I thought after I hit 50, I’d be maturing like fine wine – admired for the flavor, texture, delicacy and aromatic. Nope. Not quite in my experience. Sometimes, I felt similar to that of tasting lukewarm water – without flavor, intensity, color or LIFE!
How does one combat all of this and still be able to function every day balancing work and home life?
Premium vs. Regular (gasoline, that is)
Perfect example: I drive a 2013 Chevy Camaro. It’s a RED Chevy Camaro and it looks hot as (you can fill in the blank here) when it is washed and waxed on the outside. I do try my best to keep the inside clean, but on occasion, I have one of my jackets in there, I do keep a box of tissues on the backseat along with a spare throw or jacket when the weather is good. I also keep a container of mints or tic-tac, a couple bottled waters and in the trunk a tire air machine (I believe the correct name is an Ion Air Inflator by Craftsman according to Google).
The car can take either regular or premium unleaded gas. I usually will select the premium though it costs me about $43-$45 a fill-up these days. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Premium gas allows the car to perform at its optimum level. On occasion when the budget gets tight, I pay for regular unleaded. The car still runs okay, but it’s not at optimal performance.
So what’s my point? Consider yourself like the Camaro. You can occasionally exercise, eat some whole foods, drink lots of water and try to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep after watching a marathon of your favorite Netlfix or Amazon Prime shows and movies. But can you still function at your best? and for how long?
Change is inevitable – don’t run from it!
Health changes after 50 do happen. They can occur at ANY age, but for me and my family, it was noticeable after turning 50. The decision to put premium time and effort in taking care of one’s health as one gets older is critical for optimal, quality living. We were not meant to just “get by” and live an “okay” lifestyle. It is so true that most of us don’t always pay attention until something life-changing occurs like being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at 37, or watching an only older brother go through an aortic aneurysm before he was 40 and the damaging impact it has had on his life, or seeing the fear in a parent’s eyes when told bladder cancer is diagnosed. Health changes are KPI’s (key performance indicators) to inform you it’s time to assess, evaluate and take action.
Consider some really easy steps to giving your health improved functionality:
Consume more “premium” food (whole foods, to be exact – fresh veggies, some fruits, some protein and starch like quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat).
Get moving! Choose a type of exercise/activity you enjoy. I like simply walking and strive for the minimum of 5,000 steps daily and I wear a pedometer
Get to bed a little earlier so your body can optimally renew itself with a 7-8 hr sleep cycle.
Stay hydrated with drinking lots of water throughout the day.
Check in with your doctor at least 1x/year (or more if you have chronic health issues that require monitoring).
Your health is your wealth. Nothing else can’t happen unless your health is at optimal level and functionality. My friends, this isn’t rocket science and it’s certainly not brand-new advice. It is a reminder that we have one body and one life. So why not make give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. It’s never too late to get healthy and embrace the changes that come with life after 50.