I’m a big history guy. I actually almost majored in history until I realized that getting my dream job of being a military historian on the History Channel was going to be a challenge…
I’m also clearly invested in my health and helping others live healthier lives.
In the past and for thousands of years, humans lived to simply survive and reproduce. Now more so than ever, I also like to compare how current humans live to how humans of hundreds or thousands of years ago lived. With modern medicine and improvements in ways we can stay healthy, we don’t need to just “survive” anymore. Nowadays, we can truly live life feeling “good” instead of just surviving to 55 years old. I think we all take for granted how great we have it now compared to even 100 years ago. And with this, there are still so many of us that are just surviving. No care in the world for how we feel. Not thinking about what we put in your bodies. Not thinking of long term health. “Living life” and then being frustrated when our body fails us.
I think this is very much a generational thing. My grandma for instance is 88 years old and still kicking! But, she grew up in the Depression Era when food was, I’m sure, hard to come by at times. You probably know people from this generation and what do they all have in common? They save. They save everything. But, many also have no concept about how to feel “good” because that was simply not prioritized when they grew up. They often learned how to survive on less than adequate nutrition and not enough water. My grandma didn’t start drinking water on a regular basis until a few years ago. The importance of hydration was never taught to many in this generation or the generation after hers. Exercise as a hobby wasn’t a mainstream thing for people when she grew up. She sometimes doesn’t understand why certain foods bother her stomach. Not her fault at all…these are things that were never talked about or taught in school. There was no internet to learn from. Doctors didn’t talk or write about nutrition. The goal of life was to survive, often on less money and food than most of us have now.
Not anymore. We all have the right to feel “good” and if you don’t prioritize this, it will catch up to you sooner than you think. We also all have the ability to feel “good” if we want to. The majority of my clients are baby boomers. A few have been active their entire lives. But, many didn’t start getting active and prioritizing their own health until there 40s or even later. As we have all learned, it is absolutely crucial to be taking care of yourself before you can take care of your kids or parents as they age. Think about the last time you were on a plane. What do you do with the oxygen mask if there is an emergency? You put the mask on yourself FIRST, so you can survive and save others near you. I’m clearly biased with my career, but it’s pretty cool to see so many people older than me changing how they think about life and their health as they age!
On the other end of the spectrum, you have my generation of Millenials and the generation younger than me. “Generation Z” or whatever they like to be called. These two generations prioritize how they feel much more. Why? Well it was simply prioritized more as we grew up. Is this selfish? Maybe. Is it going to create a more health conscious generation? I think so. I think it already has. My mom always made me drink water. Most parents know the importance of fruits and veggies for snacks. There are nutrition classes in school. Doctors actually talk about nutrition now. Yes, there are many processed food options out there, but being healthy is more important now than ever before. We at least have the knowledge and information at our disposal if we choose to listen and learn. Exercise, is now a habit and hobby for many people. In the past more jobs required manual labor. Nowadays, this is clearly not the case. So, dedicated exercise time has become just as much of a hobby as fishing, hunting, reading or riding your Harley. People are learning to take control of their health before their body says “that is my breaking point” and either organs start to fail, cancer appears or other health issues pop up. More people are being proactive with their health instead of reactive. The data proves that we can not only live longer, feeling better but also save money if we simply take care of our bodies. I like to consider myself an optimistic person. Don’t all three of those things sound better than “not living long enough to see your grand kids grow up, feeling like shit every day and wasting thousands of dollars per year on medical costs?”
Now, is this everyone? Obviously not. There are plenty of people still “surviving” and living life with no care in the world for how they feel. But, this crowd is slimming. Even the every day bar rats have gym memberships to walk on the treadmill or hit the elliptical. We all know the importance of daily exercise and healthy nutrition, whether we always practice it or not. And that is why I say we all have the ABILITY to feel better. If you feel like shit in today’s world, it is often times a result of poor lifestyle choices. Before you get upset, yes genetics plays a roll. But, more and more research says that lifestyle choices can combat those genetic short falls more than previously thought. YOU have CONTROL if you want it.
Here are some tips to feel GOOD and not just survive:
- Prioritize sleep. Don’t be a night owl as you age. Also, be “OK” sleeping in or getting that extra hour of sleep if you’re a morning person. You will always be more productive when you’re rested 🙂
- Thinking about your nutrition daily is not a bad thing. Could it be different than what you are used to? Maybe. But, different isn’t a bad thing 😉 You must have your nutrition planned out. You must know what is your next snack and what is your next meal. Randomly eating leads to poor choices. Poor choices lead to poor health. Again, thinking about what you eat and what you are going to eat is not a bad thing. This is not obsessive or unnecessarily selfish, unless you tell yourself it is. This is helping you feel better, have more energy and be more productive. You have to change your perspective on this. I know it’s not easy, but it simply has to be done.
- Have dedicated exercise time daily. This doesn’t mean yard work. I mean time when your focus is on you and your movement. This is not only for physical benefits, but also great for your mind and stress relief. This dedicated exercise time makes your day to day movements and activities easier, less pain free and thus, more enjoyable. Strength train. Go for walks. Do yoga. Enjoy it all!
- Slow down. Relax. Chill. Take time to let life go. I know this is where I need to improve the most. We can’t be “go, go go” and expect to feel good or truly be our most productive. Running on fumes won’t last forever. You will break eventually.
- Embrace the reality of life. As we age, we have control in how we feel most days. But, at the same time wanting to feel how you felt 20 years ago might not always be realistic. Do your best to live in the moment, while being realistic that feeling 50 at the age of 50 is normal and not a bad thing 🙂 It’s our expectations that cause so much frustration. Own your age and own your decisions. At almost 30 I feel good..whatever that means. In general I feel strong and move well. I don’t recover like I do when I was 20. I know I need more sleep than 5 years ago. But, overall I could feel much worse if I didn’t take care of myself. I also realize that as I age things will change…that is normal and I expect it. I hope to be mentally ready for it by being proactive with my health right now. When you are able to own your age and decisions you will realize that having control over how you feel is really an empowering feeling.
Let’s see what I say when I’m 50