5 ways of Looking after that Middle-aged Body and Brain!

As we men grow older, many of us start to think seriously about long-term health, fitness, and general wellbeing. But thinking about a thing is a far cry from doing something about it. Sadly, we all too often take health issues seriously only after we’ve had a scare or sorts. Prevention is obviously better than cure, but it’s the cure that so many of us opt for – if we’re lucky!

Middle-aged guys on bike rideThe Simplicity of Prevention

Whatever the illness or condition, be it of body or mind, there are 5 common preventative suggestions that seem to reward us with a much better quality of life and increased longevity. These are:

1. Eat healthily and moderately
2. Exercise regularly
3. Cut down on alcohol
4. Quit smoking
5. Continue learning

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Has the time come to Remove the Finger from that Invisible Self-destruct Button?

It’s a sad fact that a large number of people in modern society will be living a lifestyle that excludes all or some of the above. The amount of unfit, overweight, chain-smoking, beer-swilling, middle-aged men that live a self-destructive existence is absolutely mind boggling.

Some might call it “the good life” and that’s up to them. How a man wants to live his days out is entirely up to him of course. But if he’s read down the page this far, then it’s probably safe to assume he is far from happy with his lot, and is desperately looking for a change in direction.

Okay, so let us now look at the benefits of each of the 5 suggestions in order:

1. Eat Healthily and Moderately

Consuming the right foods helps maintain a healthy weight, especially when the diet consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and various other proteins. In addition, men that eat a healthy diet more often than not do have stronger immune systems (essential for fending off disease and illness). They also feel and function better in their everyday lives due to increased energy levels and improved mental alertness.

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2. Exercise Regularly

The benefits of regular exercise cannot be emphasised strongly enough. It can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as stroke, diabetes, heart attack, and various cancers by up to 50%. And if that little lot doesn’t sell itself, it also lowers the risk of premature death by up to 30%.

At it’s most basic level exercise is a completely free pastime, easy to pursue (for able-bodied men), and produces beneficial effects that are almost immediate. Furthermore, when coupled with healthy eating, exercise also helps to reduce fat and maintain body weight. These are just some of the major advantages of being active on a regular basis.

3. Cut down on Alcohol

Men over 40 are often drink far too much than is healthy for body, mind, and relationships. As he ages, regular drinking tends to replace binge drinking (more often associated with youths). The main health benefits of drinking alcohol within the recommended *safe limits include a healthier liver, sharper brain, sound heart, better sex life, reduced risk of certain cancers, lower risk of obesity, enhanced sleep, and an improved social life.

* Click here to view the Alcohol Safe Limits Chart

4. Quitting Smoking

The health benefits of stopping smoking are huge. Almost from the outset energy levels surge. Blood flow and pulse rate quickly return to normal, and that improves sensitivity which in turn makes for a better sexual experience. Skin takes on a whole new, younger look and feel to it too. Teeth become whiter and easier to maintain and breath no longer smells like a tart’s armpit. Breathing becomes easier making prolonged exercise more feasible over time.

With smoking cessation life expectancy goes up thanks to to a reduced risk of heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis, all of which are diseases that are often triggered by smoking. And the senses of smell and taste return after being dulled by the 100s of toxic chemicals found in tobacco. Stress levels are also reduced (the notion that smoking reduces stress is a myth say psychologists. Nicotine actually increases anxiety and tension).

5. Continue Learning

Believe it of not, but the brain need exercising too. The way to do that is by continually learning new things. Without doubt, swotting is one of the best brain workouts there is without exception. Getting into the habit of keeping your mind sharp by giving it something new to grasp will give your brain the power it needs to stay in good shape.

Any new interest that stimulates mental activity helps to keep a brain healthy throughout its life and keep disease like dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay. This is proven scientific fact. That’s not to say that genetic components don’t play a part. Sometimes these diseases are inevitable, but they can be delayed and reduced in their destruction by igniting the mind with study.

SUMMARY

The 5 common suggestions above not only give us a better quality of life where we get to feel and function better as human beings, but they can also help to stave off sickness and disease. Maintaining body and brain during middle age is easy in principle, but for most of us it does take commitment and some sacrifice, and there sadly lies the biggest hurdle for many a man.


Got something to add to this topic? Please leave your comments below 😉

By Toby Strowger | 50ish Site Contributor
Toby Strowger is a men’s lifestyle writer for 50ish.org

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Article Published and formatted by Andy Aitch (Webmaster of 50ish.org)
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Readers Comments

    JD says:

    What is the benefit of increased longevity? Really, what’s the goddamn point? Live longer – for what?

    I have aging parents and grandparents and their lives revolve around their ailments and doctor’s appointments. Every person of my age that I know has aging parents and/or in-laws making life a goddamn misery for everyone – as we didn’t already have enough on our plate running businesses, paying taxes and educating / feeding / clothing / housing kids (where’s my ROI on that I ask?)

    This obsession with longevity is a con – you’ll outlive your savings and spend what you’ve denied yourself (saved) earlier in life on doctor’s bills – to keep yourself going. For what? For me this is where the argument falls down.

    Get in now and enjoy everything you can while you still can. You’ll never earn more than you do in your 40s – it’s a downhill run from 50s so enjoy it NOW before it’s too late. Goddamn it’s depressing to realize that this – right now – is as good as it gets. I’d rather 50 odd years of intensity rather than 80-90 years of playing it safe and living the last 20 years in some kind of grey twilight zone. FTS!


      Andy Aitch says:

      JD your comments are hard, and some would say callous. Having said that, I feel you are only saying what a lot of other folks might be thinking in the privacy of their own heads. Longevity is fine if the individual is in good overall health and of sound mind and body. Not only can he still enjoy life (whatever his age), but he may still be able to contribute to society as many ageing people do through kindness and good deeds.

      But if someone has lost all quality of life, are in constant pain, and rely on others to wash, feed, and clothe them, then it’s a debate that most don’t get into because it’s considered inhuman to even think, let alone suggest, they are taking up valuable time and resources from cash-strapped family members and societies. Of course we can’t go killing people off once they reach a certain age, but what you write does however raise a very sensitive issue that I would imagine most would prefer not to get into.

      Thanks for your comments though. We appreciate all opinions here at 50ish.org and everyone is entitled to their say even if controversial in nature 😉

      Btw, have you ever thought about joining the 50ish Interactive Forum? It’s free – of course – and we could certainly use the support right now as we attempt to get the chat rooms up and running in 2013.

      Andy Aitch (webmaster)



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