The Midlife Health Check List
We are living longer, it’s a fact, but is it down to lifestyle, genes or modern technology in our health service? Writes Tracy Hargreaves
With people living longer more of us are making the most of it, but there are things that you need to do to help your body and mind along the way.
If you’ve been keen on keeping fit, here’s where you need to change. Add resistance training into your weekly programme. When we hit 40 we typically lose about one per cent of muscle mass each year. Therefore, weightlifting comes into its own. Not huge weights, so you look like a beefy body builder, but low intensity using manageable weights to maintain muscle mass and bone density.
Eat a balanced diet and ditch the processed food. Make sure every meal has a varied intake of fruit and vegetables, which will provide a healthy abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The antioxidants alone will play a huge role in how well you age, as they help to battle damage from free radicals and oxidative stress. An increased intake will also boost your immune system, making you more resilient to illness and disease as you get older.
Get checked out. Most GPs will offer over 40s a free health check. This will usually include weight, height, blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol, but also an opportunity to chat to your doctor with any health concerns you may have so you can nip them in the bud.
Keep your mind healthy. It’s all too easy when we retire not to do anything with our time. Take up a hobby or volunteering to keep your brain active and learning something new. Or try meditating. Just five minutes sitting or lying while trying to calm your mind will help. Your stress levels will drop, your brain will breathe, you’ll come out the other end more robust and ready to deal with challenges.
Set yourself goals. Whether this is something small such as reading a book or something that’s been on your bucket list such as hang gliding – just do it. You’ll feel so much satisfaction once you’ve completed it and it will give you more confidence and motivation to do more. If you’re happier, you’re more positive and you’ll enjoy life to the full so as you’re getting older, you’ll be at the prime of your life.