By Kenneth Solomon, D.C.
You made it to age 50. The kids are almost grown. Work is under control. You have more free time.
But there is a downside or two.
Making the bed hurts. Sitting too long stiffens the back. Legs ache after a long walk. Joints are creaky and sore after the demands of life or just simply play.
Plus, 15 (or more) extra pounds have added up in your belly. Women are facing menopause. Men have swollen prostates.
What is going on?
Fifty is an important marker. Testosterone is waning, while estrogen and progesterone balance fluctuates wildly. Tendons and muscles have less strength and flexibility. Wear and tear is catching up. Those high school sports injuries are front and center, and bone mass is less dense.
You are no longer 25, but don’t fret.
While you can’t control some of the changes, most challenges that come with age can be met with lifestyle tweaks. Setting new priorities must be a goal.
For starters, make exercise an important part of your routine. Cardio intervals burn belly fat, even after you pack up and leave the gym or finish that run.
Resistance training becomes more important than cardio during middle age because it increases bone mass while burning fat and greatly reducing the risk of fractures.
Weight training builds core and balances strength in the front and back of the arms and legs, reducing arching in the lower back and even pain.
That said, recovery time between workouts can take longer now. Muscles and supporting structures simply need more time after the age of 50.
With that in mind, stretching becomes immensely important–not just before and after workouts, but every day.
Along the same lines, it’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking,” so keep in mind that you should get up and take a walk or stretch every 30 minutes.
And though we don’t necessarily want to take the blame for things, those extra pounds are mostly your fault. Years of inconsistent snack foods and sweets have now caught up with you.
You can address that by eliminating carbohydrates and eating more fruits and vegetables as well as chicken, fish, eggs and meat. Fat doesn’t make us fat. It’s those excess carbohydrates and a sedentary lifestyle that do.
Also consider taking a gram or more of fish oil each day, which will help with essential fatty acids, reducing joint inflammation and improving mental acuity.
Another thing to consider now that you’ve reached 50 is to start pumping your body with water. A simple rule of thumb is to not wait until you are thirsty. Instead, drink it throughout the day. Sugary beverages should be eliminated from here on.
As far as coffee or tea, keep drinking it, but don’t add sugar. Caffeine is the greatest herb that gives more energy and acts as an appetite suppressant. It also is replete with antioxidants. The simple rule of thumb is to drink caffeinated drinks in moderation and not at the expense of water.
And finally, reduce your intake of over-the-counter medications as much as possible. After the age of 50, the digestive system becomes more sensitive to “upset,” and almost all over-the-counter or prescription drugs increase muscle and joint pain. Make sure to consult with your doctor when it comes to these medications.
Being 50 doesn’t mean you have to deal with intense pain, which can be life-restricting. Again, ask your doctor for his/her recommendations.
Kenneth Solomon, D.C. – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.solomonchiroandnutrition.com