This is about and for all of us, but especially for those of us who are nearing that place and time referred to as mid-life, which is very important, particularly for women. It seems that the aging process for us brings about an assortment of annoyances and ills that are unwelcome and often unexpected. For starters we face perimenopause (which generally begins two to eight years before menopause), menopause, mood-swings, hot flashes, and the list goes on and on. Fortunately for us, health experts have found that one way to ward off some of these ills and/or diminish the wrath of others is to eat right and exercise. Exercise is something that some of us may loathe and others may loathe even more. But we know that we need to incorporate exercise, as well as good eating habits into our lives to stay healthy, it’s a package deal.
Life can be so unfair.
With the big “Five O” nipping at my heels, I know I must act now. (I know I should have acted years ago, but as we procrastinators say, better late than never). EATING RIGHT AND EXERCISING is my new life’s motto. It seems that from everything we hear and read that if we follow these two golden rules we just might live forever. Well with this wealth of information ingrained in my brain I have proceeded to change my style of living. Yes, this is to be a true lifestyle change not just a quick fix.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary guidelines, “the best way to give our bodies the balanced nutrition it needs is by mixing up the choices within each food group. (1) Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetable while staying within energy needs. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. (2) Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. (3) Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. And finally choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry, and prepare by baking, broiling or grilling. Vary your choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.”
This is all good stuff to know, but I was quite saddened to learn that neither Ben & Jerry’s, nor KFC made the list of required food groups.
The experts also suggest that a well-rounded fitness program for adults includes activities that involve cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises to enhance flexibility and weight training increases muscle mass which helps you burn calories more efficiently and also fortifies bones, which helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Yada, yada, yada.
Well with that said, we (yes, you’re still on this passage with me) have our work cut out for us. We can become Pilates experts, put on our running shoes or pump some iron. We can examine all food labels, buy organic and banish red meat from our colons forever. Or we can meditate any bad karma away. Better still, we can do nothing and just let nature take its course. What do you think? Well, I am going to try a little of each. I’ve already begun taking Pilates classes, and I must say it is easy on the knees, but I must admit that my core is sore.
And if all else fails you may want to keep this in mind. The word on the street is that “50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50”. (If this is true some folks may have their AARP memberships revoked.) Though this theory may not be working for us all, let’s keep hope alive! It’s possible that the food pyramid just may someday include ice cream and fried chicken.
Photo Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian