Getting Older Doesn’t Mean Aging Gracefully

There are many days where my inner kid takes over. Some folks might say that I have a little of the “devil inside.” I love being naughty and full of curiosity. I embellish the little things life offers and find peace with escaping to the park or woods. I’m the first to want to swing on the swings or even hop on a merry-go-round. I’m in my fifties and can proudly say that my spirit of adventure is still intact. Other folks might infer that I have a bit of a “wild child” streak. Perhaps there is truth in both statements, but I prefer to think of it as I like to live a whole life. I don’t enjoy pretenses, and I’m not fond of people who push their agenda on others. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I’m sick of politics on every level.

I talked to my mom the other day, and we discussed how we don’t feel old. Yet, because of our ages, we no longer fit in the young role. I do more than my mom right now, but I’m getting opportunities through AARP and Medicare. No offense to anyone, but I’m not ready for this. I don’t see age as an issue, but a lot of folks do. When I look at the younger demographics, it amazes me how many younger generations lose respect for the older community. They forget that the older crowd was once in their shoes. Many of them think that they won’t be like those who have come and gone before them. This phrase applies to some, but many follow in the footsteps of those who live without abandon. One of the best examples that come to mind is from a post I recently saw on social media. It was a photo of an older woman looking in a mirror, and the reflection was one of her as a young woman. Life cycles are a funny thing. We don’t notice the changes in our body as they happen, but we still see ourselves as youthful and vital until one day we stop. It’s a change like a silent predator, but it leaves its mark in damning ways.

I’ve noticed when I rest and recharge; I have boundless energy. Sometimes it feels as if I could tackle anything life throws at me, and other times I feel like retreating into a shell that no one can see inside. That mentality is understandable because there are many areas in our lives that we all need to feel like our contributions matter. It’s not always about money. Some contributions occur with time and meaning, yet society measures everything by the dollar bill in today’s world. No wonder people wonder what they mean in the grand scheme of things. But keeping in line with the feeling of staying young and fit, I thought it might help to provide some helpful tips that I found through Very Well Health. I hope they help you because I’m using many of these suggestions, making a difference in my life.

1. Take control over chronic diseases or conditions. As we all age, we have to pay attention to our health. It’s a known fact that high blood pressure becomes more of a possibility with aging, as does heart disease and strokes. Diabetes is another disease that can creep up on us as we age. Keep up with your physicals, communicate with your doctor, and find ways to handle the various illnesses that become problematic. If you take control of some of these problems, they won’t control your life over time.

2. Maintain a normal weight. Numerous online resources talk about this, but the point is to watch your weight. You don’t have to live like a supermodel to be healthy. Our bodies change over time. I don’t know of any adult that wears the same size that they did as a kid.

You don’t have to eliminate your favorite foods, but you should avoid trans fats and eat saturated fats, salt, and refined sugar sparingly. If you need to lose weight, cut back on between-meal snacking or reduce the portions of your favorite food. 

3. Be active. Be nice to your heart. Would you please keep it in shape? Exercise, avoid the bad things like too much junk food, or not paying attention to something that will jolt your heart. I like energy drinks, but I’ve had to cut back on them. I might drink one a week now. The point is to know what you are putting in your body and treat it with kindness.

“It’s never too late to begin an exercise program. Look for a program geared specifically toward older people. Even a simple walking program can go a long way toward improving your heart health. Avoid spending hours a day sitting and plan to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes five times per week, even if in divided sessions.

If you have a health condition that makes exercise difficult, look for a modified exercise program that suits your abilities. Then talk to your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to start the program you are considering.”

4. Stop smoking. As a former smoker, I can attest to all the health problems this might cause later in life. I don’t regret the decision to quit. If you smoke, the last thing you need is that everyone tells you to stop smoking because psychologically, that makes you want to do the opposite. But, think of it like this. If you continue to smoke, you might not be around to piss other people off. Many people agree that stopping smoking is a way to prolong your life. But that doesn’t mean they want to hear this fact consistently. If you’ve never been a smoker, you can’t begin to comprehend how difficult it is to quit. It might be annoying for you, but to the smoker, it’s difficult to change patterns. It took me wheezing and having difficulty breathing before I was ready to quit, and that was a significant moment in my life. I had to make up my mind once and for all and stick to it, but I did and didn’t regret it to this day.

5. Don’t drink a lot of alcohol. This should be a no-brainer but there are many people who haven’t learned what this concept means. The last thing anyone needs is to get so intoxicated that they can’t function. Not only is it bad in the short term, but it can have disastrous effects on your liver, heart, and the rest of your body. I don’t particularly like the idea of staying drunk. I need my cognitive abilities to survive in the world.

6. Get regular checkups. It’s common knowledge that routine care helps prevent long-term problems. The more we stay informed with our bodies, the better our chances are of successful health down the road.

7. “Don’t ignore unusual symptoms. Listen to your body. If you develop any of the symptoms below, contact your physician immediately. These are not ordinary signs of aging and could be signs of something else:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Chest pain
  • Feelings of doom
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Sudden change in exercise tolerance
  • Heart palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness”

None of us have any guarantees that we will be around to enter our golden years. But we can take steps to make it possible to meet that goal. Life is unpredictable. Yet, if we don’t change detrimental habits, we can pretty much guarantee we will all fight a disease in our lifetime. Have a great day, everyone.

2 thoughts on “Getting Older Doesn’t Mean Aging Gracefully

  1. I found your advice on ageing helpful. I am 65 and active. I’ve noticed with my peers that as soon as they stop moving they go down hill fast. It’s as if they have given up on life. Aging isn’t for wimps.

    Like

    1. You are right about aging not being for wimps. As I age my joints tell me more than I often want to hear. I’m so glad this blog helps. Staying active is one of the best ways we can ensure we live our best lives. Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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