Health and wellness are things we often don’t think about until… it’s too late.
A large part of this is because of the old stereotypical quote that suggests that “youth is wasted on the young” — when we’re young and strong, we don’t often stop to think of the consequences of things like what we do and what we eat.
And so we go our merry way, until we’re surprised later on by the consequences of these choices. Of course, we then try to turn back the hands of time, which is much easier said than done — trying to get healthy again later in life can be quite daunting.
Daunting, but not impossible! (You should agree with me here)
Getting back into the healthy range is certainly doable at any age. Although it may be more of a challenge for some than others, it’s not irreparably beyond your reach. all it takes is some smart decision-making and a lot of commitment, which anyone can offer at any age.
What are your parameters for “health”? Identifying the markers you should aspire for is an important initial step, because this is what you’ll design your goals around. For men, there are certain brackets to fit within.
Check your height, and opposite that your ideal weight is identified:
For men at the age of 35, the ideal blood pressure level is around 123/77 mmHgArt, while for men at 45 and above 127/80 is ideal. Resting pulse rate is best at 72-78 bpm (beats per minute), with exercise heart rates not exceeding 140 bpm.
IMPORTANT! Knowing whether you are overweight or underweight is the first step. If your BP is ideal or not.
You guessed it: EAT HEALTHY!!!
This is something you can truly do at any age, and so it’s part of pretty much any program you’ll encounter for getting healthy. Really, if it’s a “secret”, it’s an open secret, and one everybody looking to get back in step with health should follow.
The body begins to slow down in terms of what it can realistically accomplish the older we get, and a large part of that is its ability to break food down in a healthy manner. Totally normal, but something we should plan for — and a cornerstone of that plan is having a balanced diet. There’s a reason this has been drilled into our heads since the early days of science and health classes we attended as kids — it works.
The sedentary lifestyles and low mobility we fall into as we age (around the ages of 35-45 on) result in the accumulation of fat we don’t burn, among other things like rising uric acid and blood sugar levels. As such, we should take active roles in designing our diets to control calories. The recommended ratio for dividing a full, 100% meal, is 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 20% fats. Here are some other diet notes:
- For proteins, avoid fried meats and favor stewed, baked, or boiled meats.
- Also for proteins, favor lean fish, which should be eaten regularly. Eat good amounts of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve heart health and fight inflammation.
- Eat lots of salads, preferably colorful ones — the colors are actually important, as this means you’re getting a variety of vegetables, each bringing something healthful and important to the table — dark-colored lettuce leaves, for instance, bring more iron and vitamin A than the lighter-colored variety. Whether in salads or other vegetable dishes, bell pepper, tomato, zucchini, green onion, cabbage, and pumpkin can bring a lot of health benefits as well.
- Keep dairy products in your diet, but favor the low-fat varieties. Dairy gives you plenty of calcium and vitamin D and A.
- Minimize intake of eggs to three times a week maximum.
- Bananas, nuts, and liver can help the body weather the increased levels of stress and tension that tend to pop up at this age.
Again, not much of a secret, but an idea and rule that truly works:
As noted previously, getting up there in years means the body naturally but inevitably slows down, meaning we have to take a more decisive, deliberate role in bringing it back up to speed. This is partly to fight the increased speed at which body fat accumulates and the increased rate at which we lose muscle mass, and to keep our bodies functioning effectively as we grow older.
If you are in the senior age bracket, you can check this previous article on low impact exercises.
Just to be safe, any exercise should be cleared with your physician — partly to avoid committing to something your body is not ready for, and partly to make the most of any recommendations the doctor might have.
- Engage in sports, because a lack of activity on that level increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
- It doesn’t always have to be team or contact sports — swimming ,jogging, distance running, biking, and other pursuits are also helpful for developing better cardio and training all muscle groups. Swimming has the added bonus of being low-impact on joints.
- Endurance training might be an important prerequisite to this. Alternate endurance training with the main physical activity.
- Have a training regimen that gets you moving up to four times a week.
- Don’t forget the expected heart range parameters.
OF COURSE… wear proper exercise attire not just for safety but to motivate you as well. Look good and feel good! Don’t forget your compression socks!
Keeping healthy at an advanced age is more of a challenge than it might have been for us when we were younger, but it’s far from impossible. It might not even be all that challenging if you really want to commit to it, as making time and room for it in our routines is all a matter of deliberate, smart decision-making and commitment.