8 Things to Never Do in Middle Age, Say Experts
As we age our health needs change, and health habits you have already formed may not be doing you any favors. Eat This, Not That! spoke to some health experts who divulged some of the behaviors and health habits you should avoid in middle age—which we define here as middle adulthood, between the ages of 45 and 65. Read on for 8 things to never do in middle age, according to experts—and to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.
Don't Skip Screenings
Darren P. Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College – Thomas Jefferson University warns that ignoring screening tests is a big mistake in middle age. "For example, screening for colon cancer is now 45 years of age and many middle-age people avoid this at their peril. Screening prevents cancer mortality and when you hit middle age, you need to start thinking about it." Breast cancer screening is equally important. "This is particularly concerning for women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer."
Don't Ignore Symptoms
Don't brush off concerning symptoms in middle age. "Ignoring concerning symptoms like unintended weight loss, blood in the stool, chest pain, pedal edema or shortness of breath can also lead to serious maladies going undiagnosed," Dr. Mareiniss warns.
Don't Stop Paying Attention to Sleep Patterns
Don't brush off sleep issues, urges Dr. Mareiness. "Symptoms like daytime drowsiness or significant snoring can indicate sleep apnea. Appropriate interventions like CPAP can avoid long term consequences like right heart failure and pulmonary hypertension," he says.
Don't Partake in Bad Habits
Bad habits can manifest into serious health issues in middle-age, warns Dr. Mareiniss. "Habits like smoking, daily drinking and drug abuse continue to present issues in middle age," he says. For drinkers, they may become cirrhotic or have alcohol dependence issues or experience withdrawal if they attempt to suddenly stop drinking. "Smokers have the potential for developing COPD, cancer, hypertension and/or coronary artery disease."
Don't Live a Sedentary Lifestyle
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when entering the middle age stage of life is being physically inactive, Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, NYC Area Spinal and Orthopedic Surgeon, points out. "A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a range of chronic health conditions such as some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even early death," he says. "Inactivity can also reduce metabolism, and impair the body's ability to regulate and control blood sugar levels."
Don't Forget to Stand Up Straight
Poor posture decreases mobility and makes staying active more difficult, Dr. Okubadejo says. "Poor posture also puts more pressure on your hips than necessary, resulting in stiffness of the hip. Stiffness of the hip causes pain and decreased hip mobility. Poor posture can also conserve your energy and wear your muscles out faster, while proper posture allows for an increased range of motion. Years of bad posture can also lead to poor balance and blood flow, along with chronic neck and back pain," he explains.
Don't Skip Stretching
Earlier in life, you may be able to get away with not stretching. However, it's important to start stretching in middle age. "As we age, tendons and muscles are more vulnerable to injury; if you stretch, you decrease your risk of injury and improve flexibility," Dr. Okubadejo says. "Range of motion also decreases with increasing age; stretching can improve range of motion by keeping the muscles healthy, flexible, and strong. If you do not stretch, your muscles can become tight and shortened. Improved posture and decreased muscle soreness are other benefits of stretching."
Don't Hide From the Sun
While you don't want to stay in the sun too much, Dr. Okubadejo maintains that getting enough sunlight can help your bones. "Maintaining good bone health is essential as you age because weaker bones lead to an increased risk of fractures," he says. "Going outside and soaking in the sun helps maintain strong bones and may be just what the doctor ordered. Sunlight triggers the body to make its own vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in protecting your bones because it helps the body absorb calcium and prevents misshapen, thin, or brittle bones."