“As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.” ~ H. L. Mencken
This title comes from Dr. Glenn Miya, who was featured in a mid-December post titled, “Why Wait?” Dr. Glenn uses the expression “As time goes by” with his chronologically gifted patients who prefer it to “aging.” On today’s Awakening to Awareness radio show, Carol McManus talked about social media and its use/value to the boomer generation. And a couple of weeks ago I wrote about The Joys of Living Beyond 50, a post that generated some thoughtful feedback.
Acknowledging these contributing factors, I’m going again with the “as time goes by” theme… sharing three additional awareness opportunities for those having achieved the half-century mark (source: purpleclover.com).
- Opening that jar or stuck window will take more oomph. With muscle mass on a natural downward slope, it follows that simple everyday activities might suddenly stop you in your track. However, recent studies show promising signs that these muscle changes may be stoppable. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh found that staying active throughout life leads to only minor drop-offs in muscle strength. They’re not sure if similar benefits will result by taking up exercise mid-life, or if the type of exercise matters. Bottom line: Start or keep on exercising!
- Cavities will start to be a concern again. Like your hair and your skin, your tooth enamel (the protective layer) is thinning out and breaking down, exposing your teeth to more bacteria. What to do? Don’t put off your twice-yearly dental cleanings and ask your dentist for dental sealants which are protective coatings that guard against decay.
- Your legs won’t keep up with your will (or need) for speed. When people told you that life would slow down as time goes by, perhaps what they really meant to warn you about was the fact that you’ll literally become a slow poke. Here, it’s not your legs that are the problem, it’s the signals your brain is sending to your muscles. This change actually begins around age 40, when the brain cells that shoot motor-control commands to muscles started to slide. So? Vary your workouts but also toss in some mental training. In 2008, neurologists at UCLA found that giving brains their own workout could prompt repair cells to kick into gear. Try memorization activities, taking music or language lessons, or playing computer games.
If you’re serious about your continued wellness, here are three additional considerations:
- Investigate your family history. In your 50’s, it’s time to look at your family tree to learn if your genetics increase your risks for diseases such as cancer or heart disease. Understand that history. Get a colonoscopy or a calcium test to help determine whether your arteries are starting to harden, and if you need lifestyle changes. It can’t be just worrying about everybody else.
- Check your hostility. Anger often seems connected to a variety of health problems. When people indulge their anger, their heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones increase and stress the body. These people tend to display more depression, dissatisfaction with life, have fewer social connections, and use more unhealthy coping behaviors. Find healthier ways to cope, or change your job, relationships or attitude in some way to retain some balance.
- Enjoy the grape. Red wine has a powerful anti-aging compound in it known as resveratrol. Though it is unlikely that the dosage of resveratrol in red wine is high enough to impact lifespan, drinking alcohol in moderation is also associated with decreased risk of heart disease and other vascular problems. My own cardiologist confirms this. 🙂