For midlife women, how to improve your health and live longer becomes something we begin to think more about the older we get.
What if you could go to the doctor and get a prescription for a tablet that would fix all the health problems you're at more risk of suffering from in midlife.
This tablet doesn’t cost anything and it’s only side effects are better sleep, less stress, improved gut health, weight loss, and improved brain function.
You’d take it wouldn’t you?
I’d get a lifetime’s supply of that sucker.
The possibility of chronic illness in midlife
Some of the chronic illnesses and conditions we face now we're in midlife and that this miracle tablet can fix are:
- Osteoporosis - a disease affecting our bones causing them to become brittle and leave us susceptible to breaks.
- Heart disease - an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect the heart
- High blood pressure - putting you at higher risk of heart attack or stroke
- Diabetes Type 2 - your body no longer uses insulin efficiently and may even stop making it.
- Depression - A mood disorder that affects your physical and mental health and can last for an indeterminate amount of time.
- Dementia - a collection of brain disorders causing deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday activities.
- Alzheimers - a form of dementia that destroys memory and thinking skills
What would you say if I told you that this drug exists and it is super easy to get hold of? You don’t need to be doing shady deals down some back alley with the hood of your sweatshirt drawn low over your face.
Healthy lifestyle changes
The drug is called Healthy Lifestyle Changes. I can hear the collective sigh from here but honestly, it is absolutely true. It is very important that if you are not doing so already, you start doing all you can to live a healthy lifestyle based around 5 areas I talk about further on in this post, especially if you want to live longer and with more vibrancy.
Living your best life in optimum health through perimenopause, menopause and on into midlife is not something that just happens. It is a step by step process of making improvements in specific areas of your life.
Making just one healthy change for the better now can hugely decrease your risk of developing many chronic health issues as you age.
As we move into midlife our thoughts turn more towards what is important to us and what we want out of this next part of our lives.
It is not too late to make changes now that will absolutely benefit how you think, move and feel.
In the above list of conditions I specifically mentioned Alzeimers. This would have to be one of the most wretched diseases and it has eluded researcher’s ability to find a cure.
Why I mention this disease specifically is because there are twice as many women that fall prey to it’s clutches as there are men.
Women are the worst for multi tasking and I don’t mean they are bad at it. I mean due to their multiple roles as mother, partner, employee, business owner and whatever else they take on, they multitask to get all the things done.
Unfortunately, multitasking creates chronic stress. And chronic stress is critically important - not just because it's generally bad for your health - but because it may increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease.
The good news is, as more and more research is done on this condition it is becoming very clear that healthy lifestyle changes can greatly lower the risk of falling prey to this disease.
Where do I start making healthy changes
I had children late in life. When they are finally and completely able to fend for themselves (very soon, she says with an excited quiver). I want to be healthy enough to travel and to walk some of the fabulous trails around the world.
And the possibility is that there are some parts to being healthy that you haven’t contemplated yet.
It may be that in one or more of the areas I talk about below you won’t need to make any changes because you’re already doing all the right things. And that’s great. You can concentrate on putting time into the other areas.
Having optimum health can be divided into 5 areas:
- Cognitive activity (brain function)
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do in each of these areas to optimise your health and improve your chances of not developing any of the illness mentioned.
The five areas of your health where you can make changes
Under each introduction I will give you posts to read which goes into that area in much more detail and listing tips for helping.
While you sleep, the brain repairs and grows cells, tissue, and nerves that regenerate and boost the hormone and immune system. Restorative sleep is vital for your optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.
There are five stages of sleep and we need to go through all five for the brain to be able to do its thing fully.
Skimp on the sleep and you are depriving yourself of the full glory of your brain function and upping your risk of chronic diseases and physcological issues such as depression and anxiety.
My biggest tip for getting a good night’s sleep is to give yourself enough time to actually have a good night's sleep. Try getting to bed a half hour earlier. That in itself takes the stress out of feeling like you have to drop off immediately.
Learning ways to unwind and destress
Do you remember waking up 15 minutes before you were supposed to be on the bus to work, jumping into some clothes that were possibly clean (most likely not) grabbing a muesli bar on the way out and making a mad dash for it.
Perhaps you were the one pulling the all-nighter because some project was due tomorrow.
Well, DON’T DO THAT.
Continual, chronic stress is not your friend.
When you are stressed you produce the hormone cortisol which goes off running around like a mad thing through your body getting insulin (another hormone) all up in arms by telling your fat and muscle cells not to let it in to make energy.
If insulin was allowed into the cell it would have turned glucose into energy to fuel that run to the bus.
So you try to run but you get tired and fatigued and miss it.
When your cells don’t get the energy they need they will send a message to the brain telling it you need to eat and the brain will trigger a craving for food. When you’re craving food typically you won’t spend the time making a nice green salad. You’ll reach for a donut instead.
And the pattern will repeat until you are overweight or worse have diabetes.
Stress makes it harder to sleep, it upsets the balance of gut bacteria, it changes the balance of various hormones and initiates inflammation within the body and the brain.
Learn ways to keep stress to a minimum in you life.
Choosing a healthy diet of mainly plant based whole foods with good sources of protein and fats.
Food is far more important than just being fuel for your body.
Choosing the right food can mean the difference of living a life of vibrant health of suffering from any number of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease specific types of cancer, osteoporosis and even alzeihmers. fIt can also influence the structure of our brain and how well they work. It’s that important.
Start small. Swap one bad food for one good.
Cut out refined sugar, then slowly cut out all other sugars.
Try and stick to the outside of the supermarket and if you buy anything in a packet read the label.
ULTIMATE FOOD SWAPS
Make menopause and midlife weight loss easier
Get this list of of healthy food swaps you can easily start making at dinner time tonight.
start seeing the scales move in the right direction!
Making movement each day priority
Even if you’ve not exercised a day in your life it’s not too late to start. Studies show that even starting a modicum of exercise in midlife can increase longevity and put you on the path to better health.
Exercise can improve your energy levels, discourage excess weight, and even reduce some of the symptoms associated with aging.
Exercise is good for the brain and your mind. It helps keep the hippocampus happy. This is the part of the brain associated with motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.
If there was any part of the brain to keep healthy this would be it for me.
As we move into midlife, gone are the days of aerobic activity that left us badly in need of firstly resuscitation and secondly a shower.
Now a brisk walk, biking, swimming is enough to make a positive difference.
Combine the aerobic with a bit of strength training or yoga (using your bodies weight) and do it consistently and you will be winning.
Optimising cognitive activity - keeping the mind active
Continuing the learning process with reading and new activities.
Improving cognitive function can be done by increasing your physical fitness, learning new and challenging things, reading, solving puzzles and social connection.
So do you want to live your next stage of life with various conditions which leave you unable to have much enjoyment and instead see you in various doctor's surgerys looking for the next band aid fix?
Or do you want to be spending it enjoying your family, travelling, making new friends, finally having quality time with your partner or taking up a new activity you've always wanted to do?