For Healthy Aging–Worry About This, Not That!

There’s no denying–Baby Boomers and seniors face many challenges for healthy aging. What we don’t need are irrational fears clouding our fitness options!

But a recent article in Parade Magazine (“What Are You Afraid Of?,” 1-18-15) showed that much of what Americans fear is unfounded. The media plays a role in some of the hysteria, our brains react to protect us, but our bodies often suffer the consequences of these unnecessary fears and stresses.

So I thought about the conversations I’ve had with clients and friends over the years, and came up with my own version–Worry About This, Not That, for Baby Boomer and senior fitness. Sit back and see if I’ve hit some of your hot buttons!

1) Worry about:
The negative effects of sitting time. Spending too much time on your bottom is detrimental to your health! A growing amount is research finds that sedentary behavior leads to weight gain, heart disease, cancer, mental health issues, and increased belly fat.

Giving up on exercise altogether because you can’t meet the recommendations. A recent study showed that walking one to 74 minutes weekly can reduce the risk of death from any cause by 19 percent, so don’t give up if you can’t get your 150 minutes per week.

2) Worry about:

fruits & vegetables are packed with healthy phytochemicals!
fruits & vegetables are packed with healthy phytochemicals!

The deadly effects of inflammatory processes in the body. These will result if we don’t get enough anti-inflammatory compounds from foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Along with the traditional vitamins, minerals, and fiber (all vital for life!), these foods are now recognized as primary sources of phytochemicals, compounds that help tame inflammatory responses related to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and brain disorders.

Eating too many carbohydrates. What’s important is to choose the correct carbs—fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes—foods in their most natural form as possible. And leave the highly-sugared, highly-processed items on the store shelves.

3) Worry about:
Controlling lifestyle choices that limit your risks of cancer. Sure, genetics dictate to some degree your chances of getting this disease. But eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight–along with not smoking–go a long way in curtailing those risks.

Shunning food additives and artificial sweeteners to avoid cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, at the levels that these are found in the food supply, lowering cancer risk is unlikely to be a major reason to justify avoiding them.

4) For those of you with arthritis, worry about:
Losing numerous health benefits by avoiding exercise. It may seem counterintuitive, but engaging in physical activity is one of the best treatments for arthritis! Exercise builds muscle strength to take stress off the affected joint, and helps individuals maintain flexibility and balance.

Fearing exercise when you have arthritis. The keys are to start slowly, be gentle, and don’t exercise during a flare-up.

5) And finally, ladies, worry about:
Flabby muscles, broken bones, and lost independence. Muscle mass decreases naturally with aging—about 5 – 10% per decade after age 30. Without strength training and enough protein in your diet, your health will suffer.

Building bulky, ugly muscles. It just ain’t gonna happen! Females do not have the muscle mass or amount of hormones necessary for Popeye-type biceps! But we can get firm, shapely ones with increasingly progressive weight training.

What are you afraid of when it comes to fitness issues for the 50+ crowd? Let me know in the area below.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top