This realization often comes from having a parent with a chronic illness or from our own experience with being told we have high blood pressure or some other problem. Or it could come from finding out that our body aches for a week after playing a weekend game of basketball with our children. There are some simple things that all of us can do to ensure that we stay healthy into middle age and beyond.
We take our feet for granted until they give us a problem. Many older people have trouble getting around because of foot problems. Avoid shoes with a high heel. Be sure you wear a pair of shoes that fit properly, especially ensuring the front part of the shoe is wide enough for your foot. Many foot problems like bunions and calluses are the result of years of wearing poorly fitting shoes. Also be sure to cut your toenails frequently. Cut them straight across and not too close to your skin. If you do develop a foot problem see your family doctor or podiatrist promptly to get it treated. This is especially important for people with diabetes.
Healthy teeth and gums are an important part of overall health. A smile is one of the first things people notice about us. Healthy teeth are very important for good nutrition and digestion as well as self-confidence. Brush your teeth regularly and use floss daily. Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss in middle age. Flossing can help prevent this problem. You should also visit your dentist regularly.
Good nutrition is a priority at any age but especially in middle age when we begin to be at risk for problems from high levels of cholesterol in the blood, diabetes and being overweight. A few simple changes to your diet can prevent these and other problems.
For centuries people have searched for the “fountain of youth.” We now appear to have found it – exercise. Research suggests staying active is the best way to keep you feeling young (and healthy). Exercising does not mean running a marathon or going to the gym. It is going for walks with your family, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to the corner store instead of driving. With a little effort we can all increase our fitness levels even if our lives are busy. The benefits of exercise include keeping our weight healthy, reducing our risk of heart disease and keeping our muscles and joints limber and healthy.
Middle age is a time when our children grow older and demand less of our time. However, some of us, especially women, are faced with helping care for an elderly parent. Many of us have well-developed careers and while our work may be demanding, we can control our work schedule more than when we were younger. It is important to keep some time open for yourself to do the things you like to do. Take up a hobby or a sport. Not only will it improve your health; it will also help prepare you for a successful retirement.