Healthy lifestyles for middle-aged couch potatoes: the impossible dream?
We’ve had these bad habits a long time, and we’re rather fond of them. The thought of eating healthily and taking regular exercise doesn’t inspire us to put on our jogging shoes and grab a lettuce – it makes us want to hide under the bed with a plate of chips.
When we were younger, it didn’t seem to matter that much. We could always start a fitness campaign tomorrow. But now we’re middle-aged, we keep seeing news items of people who’ve died of heart disease at the age we’re at now, and we’re starting to panic that we’ve left it too late. Our drinking and smoking habits have crept up over the years, and it’s costing us a fortune to feel this lousy in the mornings.
Why should we bother with healthy lifestyles, anyway?
We’ve now reached the point where we’ve started to hate our saggy old bodies and break into a sweat at cancer adverts on TV, but we still can’t summon the courage to make the changes we should. We don’t need educating about what’s good and bad for us, we don’t need pointlessly restrictive pomegranate-and-porcupine diets or other faddy rubbish, and we certainly don’t need a Life Coach with a body like a stick insect, whose idea of a yummy treat is two raw carrots instead of only one.
All around us we see middle-aged people with healthy lifestyles, playing energetic games with their grandchildren, going on adventure holidays and generally having active and enjoyable lives, while the most we can manage is a few minutes’ exertion before we collapse groaning on a bench.
If we continue the way we’re living now, we can look forward to a seriously unhealthy – and boring – old age. Do we really want to look at our diaries in 10 years’ time and find that the most exciting activities we’ve got planned are medical appointments?
What your body is telling you
A spell of illness is our body’s way of waving a white flag and saying, “That’s it! I’ve had enough – I quit!”
If we’ve told ourselves that we’ll get around to sorting out our lifestyles one day, it’s a signal that The Time Has Come. This is the one time in our lives when we’re actually going to find it easier to make the lifestyle changes that will make us feel healthier and fitter.
We’ve tried the couch potato method for over 20 years and it isn’t making us happy, long-term. Let’s not miss out on this golden opportunity to have a healthy life – we’re not too late, if we get started now.