The Importance of Physical Fitness in Middle Age

By John Teng

John Teng carrying two of his children who fell asleep in the middle of a vacation tour.

Recently I attended a dinner party with some of my wife’s some college classmates. One of her classmate’s wife just had their first child and old friends were getting together to celebrate the happy occasion and to see the new baby. We all met up for dinner at a vegan restaurant. I myself am a meat eater, but I am a very curious person and I am always game to try to new cuisine. I will say that the food presentation was very nice, the ingredinets used for my indian curry dish seemed very well thought out, and the food had a lot of flavor. All in all, I felt like I was having a very healthy eating experience, as well as enjoying good company and conversation to boot! The reason that I bring up our healthy eating environent is that the guy friends who showed up at the restarant did not themselves look very healthy. My wife hung out with the smart kids in college and all of them went on to very successful and remarkable careers. But from the the standpoint of overall health, I was reminded that evening that middle age takes its toll on the physical body. Many in this demographic are very busy raising children, climbing the coroporate ladder, and/or starting their own businesses, involved in their communities, all the while trying nurture the relationships to all the important people in tier lives. So it goes as no surprise that it is just that much harder for people during middle age to get and stay in shape as it was when we were younger.

But if there was ever a time in a person’s life when it was more important than ever to be in shape, it is during the middle age years and here’s 5 reasons why.

  1. Your lifestyle choices no longer just affect you as you most likely have dependents who are now directly affected by your helath decicions.
  2. Weight bearing exercise can help to minimize and even resverse age-related muscle loss.
  3. Now is the time to be even more consious of weight gain and heart health.
  4. If you’re in a long term relationship, like it or not, part of the reason that you connected with your partner, and they with you, mostly likely had to do with being physically attracted to each other. Yes, I am with you in echoing that there are a lot of legitimate reasons why we may not feel we look as good as we did when we were just dating, but know that doing your best to keep up your looks will go a long way to benefitting your relationships.
  5. Many midlifers are still raising children (and grandchildren) and we need to stay in shape to help them, carry them, play with them, and protect them.

Whatever you choose to do to get bqck in shape is up to you. Yes, it’s important to find something that you love to do, but from a practical midlife standpoint, it’s even more important to find something that you have the time to do. Once your medical doctor has reviewed your fitness level and understands your limitations, start by setting some simple goals to move your body aroiund for just a few minutes each day. Maybe it would include walking or jogging around the block ,stretching, or doing some pushups and situps. But no matter what you do, know that being fit is more important now than it has even been so get moving!

And finally, here is a quote about the value of exercise (at any age) that I have held dear in my inspiration book for many years as follows:

“Daily exercise ---as rigorous as possible---is the best antidepressant, mood elevator, memory enhancer, dietary controller, physical health improver, sex-drive enhancer, energy and self-esteem builder that exists.”

-Carol Francis, Clinical Psychologist

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