We’d all like to think that those of us who have hit the half-century mark (plus) would like the rest of our lives to be healthy, happy and active. There will always be those who have a death wish, but that’s their choice. They’ll continue to eat badly, abuse themselves and destroy their bodies. If you’re “self-preserving,” then you’ll want to follow these 12 tips for Baby Boomers to achieve optimal health.
- Drink water as your main source of hydration. Sip it throughout the day. Fresh spring water is best, but if it’s not available, filter it using an inexpensive pitcher with a filter. If you’re worried about acidity, squeeze a little lemon or lime into it. It will alkalize your water and you won’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy water machine.
- Enjoy your meals, without deprivation, but always strive to eat natural and unprocessed foods. Make sure your poultry, meats, and seafood haven’t been injected with antibiotics or hormones. Avoid any food that comes in a package even if it’s labeled a “health food.” Chances are it contains sugar, fats, or other ingredients you don’t need. If it has an “ingredient list,” it’s suspect.
- It’s OK to enjoy sweets once in a while, but in general, stay away from sugar. It’s been found to feed cancer. Artificial sugar substitutes are even worse. Most are carcinogenic. If you have a sweet tooth, sweeten your food with raw “real” sugar, honey, or stevia.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. The more colors you add to your meal, the more nutritious it will be. Each color contains its own source of vitamins and minerals. Make vegetables and some fruits 80% of your diet.
- Watch out for fad foods and diet plans. No one needs a diet pill to lose weight and energy drinks cause heart attacks. Be careful using supplements because too high a dose can be toxic. Buzz words like “gluten free,” are a good thing if you have stomach issues, but be aware that foods labeled “gluten-free” may contain starch, calories, and other ingredients that will cause a host of “other problems.” Read labels carefully before purchasing. Nix soda pop, deep fried foods, white flour, fake juice (less than 100%), artificially colored anything, and trans fats.
- Build your immunity. Eat fermented foods regularly like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, miso, or kombucha because they contain natural probiotics. This is especially important if you’ve taken antibiotics for illness, infection or have candida. Probiotics contain good bacteria that will keep you from getting sick and ease digestion. Foods like onions, garlic, cabbage, tomatoes, berries, broccoli, nuts, beans, green tea, and mushrooms also prevent disease. Avoid becoming infected with Super Bugs like MRSA. They run rampant in hospitals and clinics and can be picked up almost anywhere. The over-use of antibiotics has made MRSA difficult to get rid of. You can contract MRSA from something as simple as a hangnail, so make sure to clean any new cuts or scratches carefully. If there are signs of infection like swelling or fever see your doctor immediately.
- Reduce stress. We all freak out once in a while. However, that’s no reason to be a martyr. Stress is a silent killer over time. Treat yourself to a massage once in a while. Relax and smell the roses. Breathe and meditate. Make stress reduction a regular part of your day. It doesn’t pay to sweat the small stuff.
- Socialize. Humans who stay connected to one another live longer and stay healthier. Don’t be a hermit and isolate yourself. Find activities, besides just work, that gives you pleasure and involves other people. If you’re estranged from a relative or friend, make an effort to resolve your issues. Network and stay in touch with those who have a positive and inspiring outlook.
- Have medical checkups regularly. If you have a disease and are diagnosed early, you’ll have a better chance to recover. “Holistic” alternatives may work or complement your medical treatment. Always check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe. Have a lymphatic massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, or hypnotherapy session if it will make you feel better.
- No matter how wild you were in the 60’s and 70’s, don’t abuse your body by drinking excessively, smoking, doing drugs or having unprotected sex. It’s fine to have a glass of wine or a beer once in a while because it’s good for your heart. However, even a glass a night, for some people, will put on unwanted weight or cause liver damage. Many Baby Boomers are dying from sexually transmitted diseases from unprotected sex because pregnancy is in the past.
- Always keep your body moving. There’s no need to go to extremes when it comes to exercise, especially if you’re over 50. A knee or hip replacement from running too hard isn’t something you want to deal with. Walking’ is the best exercise for most people. People who live to 100 or more have stayed active and in motion most of their lives. Swimming is easy on the bones and good for those who have difficulty walking. If you’re sensitive to chlorine, swim in salt water instead. Too much chlorine can be toxic. Stretching is essential for flexibility and strength training will keep your bones strong. You can add exercise to your life without having to join a gym. Gardening, house cleaning, walking the dog, dancing, and other routine activities are all good forms of exercise. The main thing is to stay off your duff as much as possible. If you work in front of a computer all day, get up every 20 minutes to move. Sitting for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health. The same goes for flying long distances in a plane. Try to book an aisle seat and move around the cabin as often as possible. If your feet start to swell after flying, see a doctor immediately to make sure you don’t have a pulmonary embolism.
- Your willpower is powerful. If you have a strong will to live you’ll have a better chance of making it to a healthy old age. What you think about, you bring about. Train your mind to visualize positive outcomes, rather than dwell on the negative. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you truly believe you can.
Do you have any other tips for Baby Boomers to stay healthy and active? Please leave a comment below.