Is it too late to change your health behaviour?


Maybe you have been overweight for more than 10 years. Maybe you have tried to quit smoking, but have failed 7 times over, or you are already 50 years old, and think “What is the use now?”

Changing our lifestyle can be challenging, but if there are two things we can assure you of, it is this:

1. It is never too late to start making healthy changes.
2. No matter how many times you fail in the past, you can still succeed in the future. 

A study done in Sweden shows that if you start exercising at age 50, you still have a 49% lower death rate than someone who remains inactive. Another study in the US showed similar benefits. People over 45 who change their foundational lifestyle habits, decrease their risk of death by 40%.

What are these key habits? 
• Include 4-5 servings of fruit and veggies in your diet per day
• Get to a healthy weight
• Don’t smoke
• Exercise regularly

Not only that, but if you quit smoking at age 50, your risk of death drops by 40%! In fact, just 12 hours after your last cigarette, your body will have cleansed itself from the excess carbon monoxide and your risk of heart attack begins to decrease 1 day after you quit. 

When should you give up trying?
The answer is never. 
Whether you’re a professional athlete, or just the average Joe, it’s never too late to succeed. There is just one rule: after every failure, just get back up!

How do you put it into practice?
Just start! Get off your couch, and start walking around the block. Join a gym, and just walk on the treadmill: Any form of movement will help kick things into gear. Don’t wait for the perfect day, the right time of the year, the next Monday. Do it TODAY!

If you want to make sure you exercise without injuring yourself, just follow these steps: 
• Go for a medical check-up to see what your health status is. Your doctor should also check your muscles and joints to make sure you can start a light exercise program.
• Choose activities that can work for you, start slow, but START. Walking, swimming and cycling are great for someone who hasn’t been active in a while, since they have lower impact on the joints. Work with a biokineticist to help create a program that suits your health status.
• Set clear goals. The end goal is to do at least 30-45 minutes of exercise daily. At the beginning, frequency is more important than intensity, so don’t jump from the couch and try to run: instead, make sure you walk every day for a few weeks, and then gradually increase the speed and intensity. 
• Move those joints. Starting your day with a mobility routine is an excellent way to get moving. You can literally roll out of bed, and do some hip, knee, shoulder and neck movements to warm up the joints. 
• Listen to your body. You will notice how your body adapts to the new routine: stiffness is okay, but pain is a warning light. Don’t power through pain – stop, slow down, or go for a check-up. Some warning signs include pain or pressure in the chest, shortness of breath and light-headedness. 

Don’t see this as a chore, an annoyance or something else to add to your long list of things to do. Moving your body, getting fit and reaching new goals is the most exciting adventure – so get out there and make your dreams come true. 

References:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/never-too-late-exercise-helps-late-starters
https://www.today.com/health/7-steps-helped-woman-lose-225-pounds-age-63-t100762