Now that I’m in my mid 50’s, I notice I don’t sleep as well as I used to. And, after the first couple of steps in the morning, my feet and ankles feel very stiff.
My older patients and friends complain of back stiffness upon waking in the morning. In fact, no matter the age of my patient, whether they are 30, 40, 50 or older, they all complain, “I can’t do what I did 10 years ago”.
It is inevitable that as we get older our bodies go through changes that affect how we move and function.
After age 25
We begin to get shorter as our discs in our spine begin to lose height. (This is unfortunate for me as I started out just shy of 5’!)
After age 30
Tendons become less flexible. Tendons connect muscles to bone. (With reduced tendon flexibility we lose speed.)
After age 50
A lot changes when we reach the age of 50:
- Vision changes
- Hearing decreases
- Muscle mass decreases
- Balance decreases
- Hormonal changes contribute to weight gain and makes losing weight difficult
- Bone mass decreases
- Possible Osteoporosis with risk increase for fractures
- Joint degeneration from activity begins to increase
Of course, these inevitable body changes do not affect everybody the same.
General health, current and past activity levels and genetics all play a role in how much these changes affect your life. With mindfulness, care, and acceptance of your changing body, you can prevent these changes from limiting your life, activities and health. I have been fortunate to work with many amazing older folks who do not let age stop them:
- Joan is an 83 – year – old avid hiker, camper and canoer.
- Hope is a 71 – year – old triathlete who is tops in her age group.
- Peggy is 78 and still hikes the Aspen trails and cross – country skis.
- Multiple men and women in their 40s – 60s are still running marathons, triathlons, or doing yoga and walking.
For some great tips on how to take care of your aging body, download my free eBook: Mindful Tips for Pain-Free Daily Movement.
In addition to the physical changes, we are also dealing with changing roles.
Transitioning from raising children to caring for our aging parents, becoming empty-nesters, or transitioning into a new career or retirement presents challenges. Finding purpose and meaning in this new phase of life can be both scary and exciting. I went through the transition to empty-nester two years ago when my son went off to college. You can read my transition story here.
Want insight how to handle these transitions? Come hear Dr. Ilene Berns-Zare in my office on October 19 at 7:00 pm to discuss strategies for “Navigating the Second-Half of Life with Meaning, Resilience, and Joy”.
For more info on this free event, click here.