The new, healthy kind of midlife crisis
A shiny red sports car. Bottles of supplements. Even a bit of plastic surgery. These are the stereotypical signs of what’s long been known as the midlife crisis.
In truth, only about 10 to 20% of adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s revisit their youthful rebellion. But the middle years are undoubtedly a time of transition—and opportunity. Here’s how to make changes for the better.
Upgrade your ride
Just make it a two-wheeled one – buy a bike instead of a BMW. Picking up a new physical activity habit is one of the best things you can do for your health, at midlife or anytime. Cycling, walking and strength training are all good choices.
Not only does exercise help control your weight and reduce your risk for disease, but it also helps you manage stress. You’ll sleep better, feel less anxious and preserve your thinking and judgment skills.
Take an anti-aging potion
The true secret to youth isn’t found in a bottle. Instead, look in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Aim to consume ample amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat or fat-free dairy and healthy fats from fish or nuts.
A nutritious diet lowers the risk for medical conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can aid in managing any health problems you already have. Best of all, healthy eating helps you live longer.
Find a new partner in mental health
Friends and family can provide emotional support during major life events. But it also never hurts to seek out a professional. Mental health providers like psychologists, counselors or social workers can teach you tools to cope.
See one of these providers or your primary care physician if you have symptoms of stress or emotional distress. These include back pain, anxiety, low energy, headaches, or feeling helpless or hopeless.
In other words, if you play your cards right, you can turn your midlife crisis into a total health makeover—one that might even add years to your life.
Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EatRight, National Institute of Mental Health, News in Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services