The young feel invincible. The middle aged feel stressed. It is difficult to think of the future when there are so many things to do today. However, research tells us that one of the most crucial tasks of middle age is preparing for the future. Yes, life happens whether you make plans or not but preparing for the future is one priority that cannot be set aside. Laura Landro (www.wsj.com) sends out an urgent messages in her Health Matters column (The Wall Street Journal: Monday, April 9, 2012) and the message on April 9th is that middle age is the time to give the future some really serious thought.
It is never too late to start taking care of yourself. Don’t feel too discouraged if you failed to heed the warning signs, but remember that the earlier you start the better off you will be. Think of it as laying a foundation. If you had listened to your mom when you were a kid, you wouldn’t be acting like eating your vegetables, getting enough sleep, washing our hands and going out to play were something new. I am just as guilty as you are. I didn’t listen either. Mom was a pretty smart cookie, and all of her advice centered on laying a foundation for what was to come. Too bad we didn’t listen. If we had we wouldn’t be spending the first part of our journey repairing the damages. Luckily the human body is pretty forgiving. Studies now tell us that a healthy lifestyle can prevent or at least retard many of the ravages of aging. At least the author referred to 50 as being “middle aged,” although being in the middle of 100 is a pretty ambitious prediction, don’t you think? Still, it is better than having everyone over 50 tossed into what they call the new “old” category. I don’t like labels and anyone who has ever been 50 remembers how great 50 felt.
Functional limitations have always been around, but limitations often associated with old age are showing up in people in their 50s. It could be because we still think of ourselves as young when we are in our 50s and 60s and continue to act accordingly. Regardless, we have the information and the technology to prevent and/or treat many age related changes. In the past people felt that pain and disabilities were just a part of growing older. Nowadays, people are living longer and the idea of living with aches, pains and functional limitations are no longer something to be tolerated.
Medical research has changed focus. Instead of just curing sick people they are focusing on keeping people healthy and independent for life. The emphasis is on reducing disability; maximize functioning and enhancing quality of life. This is good news because it means that we don’t need to be relegated to the rocking chair because of creaky knees or chronic illnesses
Staying healthy longer is within our reach, but it isn’t a given. You will have to work hard to achieve the independence that you deserve. Most of you know what you need to do. The three ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle are:
- Moderate activity,
- A healthy lifestyle
- Mental stimulation.
These three areas of study all lead back to reducing disability, maximizing function, and enhancing quality of life. I know you were hoping for a new trick, a quick fix so to speak, but the secret lies within. Taking responsibility for your own health and well