With so many adult responsibilities, is it any wonder that it gets easier to neglect our health as we age? Anxieties about our job, our children and our elderly parents may take precedence over our health concerns. In actuality, we can weave in wellness into a busy schedule and strengthen other areas of our lives by focusing on our health first. All it takes to improve our health is to make a commitment to proactively manage different aspects of health care like: disease, nutrition, fitness and, yes, stress relief.
How to Combat Middle-Age Health Problems
The types of illnesses and discomforts middle-aged people suffer are different from those of children or teenagers. This requires some knowledge of the common potential problem areas our specific demographic experiences. For instance, postmenopausal women have a potential for hormonal changes and loss of bone density caused by the aging process. Knowing this, we can customize our routines to include healthy habits throughout the day as follows:
Nutrition. Postmenopausal women should include foods in their diet helpful for balancing hormones, like coconut oil or soy products. They might want to consider buying wild yam or black cohosh supplements to relieve symptoms. Men may want to try saw palmetto. Both genders can benefit from a quality multivitamin supplement with vitamin D and calcium for strong bones. Learn what foods promote heart health, like fish, and include more of those items in your diet. If fish sounds unappealing, you can try omega-3 supplements instead.
Fitness. Not everyone wants to be jumping around in a high-paced aerobics class and many people simply don’t have time to go running. Instead, you can do short 15- to 20-minute intervals of exercise on the stationary bike. Muscle training is easy to include in short time slots throughout different parts of the day. Plus, it’s an excellent way to reduce the chance of bone fractures and breaks that stem from aging. Swimming is also a good low-impact activity that can be fun to add to your schedule (if you have a pool nearby.)
Disease management. Part of disease management is staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. Sometimes though, despite these practices, a bacterial infection can sideline us. In that case, you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. It’s likely you will be prescribed Levaquin, or a similar antibiotic, to strengthen your system so you can successfully fight off the infection. When taking a prescription medication, follow the directions precisely as your doctor recommends to get the most benefit from it.
Stress relief. One aspect of health and wellness often overlooked is stress management. We know stress can kill but rarely make time to relieve the stress in our lives. It’s a fairly simple action. You can meditate at home or head out for 15-minute massage, or take a yoga class. Sometimes all it takes to reduce stress is to get up from our desks for a few minutes and take a walk outside in the fresh air. You can also incorporate more exercise into your routine, as research has shown a connection between working out and stress levels. Stress management not only clears our heads, but it also helps reduce blood pressure.
Take Small Steps Toward Better Health Every Day
There are always advancements going on in our understanding of the human body. By taking the time to read and understand how to take care of our health, we can incorporate actions into our daily lives that do precisely that. For instance, we now know that a glass of red wine promotes heart health. When new research highlights different stress-management techniques, like biofeedback or even working on crossword puzzles, it can be another action that helps us take a small step toward better overall health as we grow older.
If we are conscious of our habits on a day-to-day basis, we can make small changes in them that will lead us toward greater health. By making that commitment in one area of our lives, we can start on a greater journey of wholeness and wellness that can make us feel as we’re getting younger. In today’s world, that’s a priceless feeling that can help us better weather the myriad demands that we face in our lives.
About the Author: Dr. Rodney Sewell sees a wide range of patients at his Atlanta practice, from children to middle-aged adults to elderly people.