What do Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Susan Sarandon, and Steven Spielberg all have in common? Yes, they’re all household names, but there’s something else: They’re all Baby Boomers.
Once known for their wild and rebellious ways, those who were born between 1946 and 1964 are already in, or ready to embrace, retirement age.
Rocking chairs and leisure time sound like well-deserved pleasures for their labors, but people often enter their sixties in a state of disbelief.
Life has finally caught up to them, and the end of life seems way too near. Bodies begin to wear out. Knees and shoulders need replaced. Arthritis sets in. And every other week, it seems, another friend hears the “C-word” from the doctor.
The general state of health for the more than 75 million baby boomers living in the U.S. is dismal. According to a special 2014 census study, about 70% of Americans 65 or older are obese.
Many boomers have succumbed to their fates and live from pill to pill. Others, though, say it’s time to get going. They’re working at staying healthy as long as they can, trying to continue giving more than they get.
If you’re a boomer or know a boomer, this article is for you. Let’s look at the two primary things wise retirees are doing to maintain health of body and mind.
Topping the list of health risks for boomers is type 2 diabetes. Not only does this disease come with its own complications, it sets the stage for other diseases to follow. Obesity is a primary factor in type 2 diabetes, and boomers are plagued by too much weight.
Give your kid Twinkies for lunch today, and your parenting skills would be suspect. When the boomers were schoolkids, though, Twinkies and every other high sugar, white flour product on the market were seen as desirable.
You would have been thought a cruel parent then if you didn’t drop a pack or two of Twinkies in your child’s lunch bag.
Boomers are faced with a choice: Stay fat and suffer the potential health consequences or get active, return to a sensible diet and keep going.
Many of the boomers were once health food advocates. They know how to eat well, but it’s tough to change. Sugar is a huge problem Today’s boomer will eat as much sugar by noon as his or her grandparents did in a week.
Annual sugar consumption in the USA is now at about 100 lbs per person. That’s way too much.
The good news is that boomers were young before the internet kept kids trapped in front of a computer screen. The games boomers played were outside, and it’s easier to get back in shape than to get in shape if you’ve never been active.
Many boomers are returning to the gym and even enjoying sports again. If there’s money in treating boomers for health problems, there’s also money in helping them regain health.
SoccerBox says this phenomenon has created a “gap in the recreational market.” Entrepreneurs should see plenty of opportunity here.
Here again, diet and exercise are huge. Notwithstanding hereditary factors, improper diets and lack of sufficient exercise are certainly contributors to heart disease. Many say some types of cancer are also diet-related.
One impediment to getting a plan going is the number of choices available. Exercise and diet books are plentiful, and sometimes contradictory. Should you go for a low fat diet or a high fat diet? Should you become a vegetarian or use meat as the mainstay of your food plan?
Two things are evident: moving is good, whether its dancing or playing baseball. And eating wholesome, real foods is good… whether it’s a carrot or a chicken. Trouble comes from all the processed foods and from eating way too much sugar – including high fructose corn syrup and the like.
Getting older can certainly be scary and sad. Friends and family members pass on. Those who aren’t prepared financiallycan find the budget way too tight. The elderly can feel more like a burden than a blessing.
One more time, though, diet and exercise can come to the rescue. Does that seem like a repetitive answer? That’s because it’s true.
If you’re a boomer who is overweight and unhappy, don’t sit on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself. Get off your butt and make a change.
Sounds like tough love? It is.
I’m a boomer who was in the same situation. I joined the local gym, started taking yoga classes and lifting weights. I got rid of the sugar, white flour, and processed foods. I’m eating a diet aimed at bringing cholesterol levels into the safe zone (without pills), and I haven’t felt this good in 40 years.
Abel Cane is a boomer-aged writer living in Oregon. Abel loves to hike, fish, and float the river. He decided to boom alive, and he wouldn’t turn back for the world.