By Kevin Whipps
It’s hard to admit sometimes, but we’re all getting older. When we’re in our 20s, we think we’re invincible; able to conquer the world with a few free thoughts. Then we get into our careers, families and life takes over, next thing we know we’re visiting our grandkids two states over and trying to find the best all-you-can-eat buffet in town. What happened to us?
Unfortunately, we all go through the aging process in one way or another, and in the next few years, things are going to get worse. There were 76 million American children born in the Baby Boomer generation, and they’re all either right at 65 or closing in fast. Some studies say that by 2020, 25% of all employees in the workforce will be over 55.
Just because 65 is the standard age for people to retire doesn’t mean that it’s going to actually happen. Because of the dip in the economy, Baby Boomers were hit particularly hard, making stock portfolios plummet and retirement plans go out the window. According to surveys conduced by the Associated Press and Lifegoesstrong.com, 60% saw a loss in value on their investments, 42% of Baby Boomers are delaying retirement, and 25% — one quarter of the total — say that they’ll just never retire.
Even just focusing on the physical changes that we all go through can be a bit of sobering realization. Once you hit age 65, you’ve probably got another 20 years left on average. If you’re a man, there’s a 72% that you’ll be married throughout that time, if you’re a woman, 42%. In fact, women have a longer lifespan then men, and 27% of older women end up living alone as a result. About 18% of all adults don’t have their natural teeth, and 14% of an older person’s income goes towards healthcare costs. Oh, and the top three reasons for death? Heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Yes, we’re all getting older, and yes, some of these things seem to be coming towards us at a scary pace. But there’s hope: no matter how old you are, there’s still the possibility to turn back the clock a bit and help save yourself from future problems. And the younger you are, the better off you’ll be long term. By taking a few small steps today, you’ll be making giant strides forward in your golden years. And who wants to spend their final days having to rely on someone else for support? No one, and that’s what we’re going to stop in its tracks today.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
One of the more obvious signs that we’re getting older comes from our skin. As we age, it loses elasticity, making it wrinkled in the process. Who wants that?
To slow down the process, start by eating foods rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and fatty acids. These will help to remove the appearance of wrinkles, and keep your skin as healthy as possible. Then there’s your water intake. Water makes up to around 60% of your body’s weight, and rightfully so. Everything in your body depends on the liquid, particularly your skin. Drink too little water and your skin will dry and crack, causing more lines and wrinkles in the process. Eight glasses a day are recommended to keep yourself well hydrated.
When you get older, lots of scary issues start to come up, like the threat of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s still a lot of research that needs to be done, but there are a few ways you can keep yourself from falling victim to the disease too early.
Recent studies have shown that keeping your mind engaged and active into your later years can help stave off the effects of the disease. Other studies show that keeping your heart healthy can improve your situation. It’s easy to pack on a few pounds as we get older, but make sure to keep your BMI and cholesterol low so that you don’t have more problems later on. As it gets more difficult to put in daily exercise, make sure you have at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day. It may not seem like much, but by taking a walk around the block you can actually put in more work than some seniors do in their later years.
It sounds like some of these tips are just common sense, and in a way, they are. But it’s so easy to ignore the problems as life goes on, and the next thing you know you’re overweight and don’t get any exercise. Change your lifestyle now for an easier time in your retirement years. Studies show that adding fish to your diet can increase brain activity, and fish oil helps with diseases such as macular degeneration. Keep your total cholesterol under 200 mg/dL and your blood pressure to under 120/80 by eating the right foods.
You’ve probably heard for years about the dangers of smoking, and now’s the time to quit. If you stress yourself out over every little thing, start getting regular massages and working through your issues with a therapist. By reducing your stress levels, you’ll put less strain on your heart and you’ll live longer in the process.
It Sounds Too Simple
Chances are good that these are all the same things that your doctor has been telling you for years, and there’s a reason for that — they’re right. Start following their advice and get yourself healthy today. By taking a few small steps today, your retirement years will be that much better.