Ageing sucks, but your life doesn’t have to.

By James English

I sit down with a nice glass of red, pop on Netflix and find a bit of nostalgia to watch – E.T., everyone’s favourite Extra-Terrestrial. As I reminisce about corded telephones, hair with no product and the early 80s, it strikes me that this movie was made 37 years ago.  Thirty-seven years ago? How on earth (pardon the pun) did I get to be 48 so fast? 

My whole life, I’ve heard phrases like, “I’m young at heart” or, “I still feel 20”, but they never truly resonated until I realised E.T. was released THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO. As I pause to reflect a little more, a bunch of thoughts hit me, one after the other…

I realise that I hate going out midweek now. My hangovers are worse for less alcohol consumed – it takes me until Wednesday to recover. I can’t really go for long runs on the pavement without my knees hurting anymore, so I walk and run on the treadmill instead. I avoid eating chocolate and cheese too close to bed time, because otherwise I’ll sleep like crap. If I put on weight, it’s harder to take off. Clothes fit me differently and where THE HELL did my arse go?

I hate going to the gym because when I look in the mirror, I see me and a twenty-something-year-old standing side-by-side, but I’M the old one. I’ve discovered that I love yoga though, because it stretches me right out. 

Everything I do, I need to think it through and consider how it will affect my health. But then sometimes I hate thinking and talking about it because it gets a little depressing. When and how did I become this person?  

I sound like my parents.

The thing is, I don’t know when it happened. Because I made all these changes subconsciously –

in response to what my body was telling me along the way. I barely even thought about it, maybe because I didn’t want to face the fact that I was getting older. And that I needed to change my lifestyle.

People my age have grandkids. Or menopause. Or a balding head. And sometimes when I hear myself talking about all this with my friends, I all of a sudden think to myself, “I SOUND LIKE MY PARENTS!” Now there’s a reality check.

I don’t exercise to look good anymore, I exercise because I know I need to. I’m more mindful about what I put in my mouth because it’s not just about calorie counting – it’s about how different foods affect my energy levels, cholesterol, mood and sleep. Forget about all-nighters, sleep is my best friend. My body is starting to do weird sh*t (quite literally).

40-somethings. The forgotten generation.

Meanwhile, every magazine, blog post and news article about health revolves around the latest oxygen diet, ‘hot abs in 4 minutes’, or how lemon rind over your eyes can make you dream better.

Where’s the health advice for us forty-somethings? Are we the lost health generation? More things are happening to our bodies now than in the last 25 years since we went through puberty – and there’s no manual or special textbook to help us through. 

Yep, getting old sucks. It’s a confusing place to be – and I don’t really want to be here. But all the same, I have to adjust and embrace this time of my life. And taking on HeadUp, for me, meant that I could do this more easily.

HeadUp helps.

For the first time in my life, I now understand how my mood, sleep, activity, weight, BMI and most importantly heart, work together. I have a constant reminder and companion that helps me understand what is going on inside me. 

I know I still need to do all the hard work, but I should have to anyway – it’s my body, my life and my heart after all. Don’t get me wrong, I still intend to live my life, eat that steak with a little blue cheese, dance till dawn (maybe) and make the odd silly decision – but now that I have HeadUp I know how that all plays out and how it can affect my mood, my sleep and my activity levels. I know which areas of my health to prioritise and where to focus my efforts. Quite simply, it all makes sense.

So before E.T. phones home he can now open HeadUp to get the full picture of his health (including his beating heart). He needs to start thinking about these things after all, he is over 37.