Many people are afraid of getting old, probably because of the different things they hear older people talk about all the time. Once a person fast approaches the big 30, 40 or 50, many warnings and myths are given as unsolicited advice. But, instead of making them feel better and more secure, they end up feeling anxious and afraid of entering the middle stage of life.
Expectations and certain stereotypes about being a middle-aged person are not specifically the same for every person. Hence, here are myths about your 30s-50s you have to stop believing:
1. Your cognitive functions decline.
Because most films and television shows often depict older people as forgetful, many people believe that they will suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease when they get older. More so, some think that their minds won’t be as sharp as when they were at their prime, mentally speaking. But science proves otherwise.
“The deficiencies of a middle-aged brain have likely been overstated by anecdotal evidence and even by some scientific studies,” reports Melissa Lee Phillips in a 2011 article for the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology. In fact, the verbal, math abilities and spatial and abstract reasoning all improve when people enter their middle-aged years.
The study also found that as people age, their brains may employ effective techniques to compensate for the cognitive decline. It can be sufficient evidence to prove that middle-agers are smarter than youngsters. Because the brain is divided into two hemispheres with each side specialising in different operations, older adults use both the left and right hemispheres when confronting a problem. According to the University of Southern California, youngsters only use only one side for a specific task.
Cognitive reserve has also been getting some buzz lately, which implies that although all brains may atrophy, bilingual brains, for example, seem to be effective at resisting the effects of aging and degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, as a result of the workout they’ve been given over the course of a lifetime.
2. Frailty Is Inevitable.
The media, as well as older generations, have always implied that aging is equivalent to being weaker and weaker as you age. Different medical conditions that have something to do with age seem to agree with this point, but further studies beg to differ.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, while frailty is most often associated with the elderly, some old people never get frail. Their study concluded that it is a medical syndrome with a group of symptoms that collectively characterizes a disease.
Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. of Harvard Health Publication also notes that although age is the strongest risk factor for Osteoporosis, many older individuals “never develop the disorder”.
3. It’s too late to lose your baby fats.
If you didn’t exercise in your 20s, then working out or trying to be fit and healthy in your 30s, 40s, or 50s will be useless and it’s too late to start. Stress is a legitimate reason why many middle-agers seem to forget about their weight during their 30s-50s. Advancing years could bring advancing waistlines and unwanted fat pouches here and there. Although some claim that once you turn 30, losing those ‘baby fats’ is too late, experts say it is just a myth you should stop believing now.
Fact: It’s never too late! In an oft-cited study, 50 men and women with an average age of 87 worked out with weights for 10 weeks and increased their muscle strength 113 percent. Even more important, they also increased their walking speed, a marker of overall physical health in the elderly.
In a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, men who keep fit were seven times more likely to have a healthy old age, even if they only took up exercise when they retired. One study shows men aged between their mid-20s and mid-50s will lose only 5% of their fitness if they exercise moderately and consistently every week.
Conclusion? Age is just a number and not a bar that dictates when you can or no longer can burn all the fats you hate.
4. You’ll Stop Learning and Growing.
One of the most common fears of aging people is the fear of stop developing their own identity as a person, as they focus in enriching the lives of their kids and family. But, scientifically speaking, one does not really stop having the ability to learn and grow.
Experts say, time and again, that no in no particular age the brain stops absorbing new information and developing. As long as people strive to learn and make an effort to know more things then they can develop past their prime, in their middle years and even as they age 60 and above.
5. Middle Life Crisis affects everyone.
The idea that everybody will go through their own midlife crises are common is a myth, experts say. “It makes for good novels or good movies, but it is not really accurate,” said psychologist Margie Lachman of Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
According to a research from the University of Zurich, “There is no specific time in life that predisposes you to crisis, but there can be times when things crystallize as very problematic, a very deep disturbance in your life,” Freund expressed in an interview with the LiveScience website. “People experience these types of crises, but they are not at all related to age,” she added.
But crises are usually spurred by some event that can happen at most any age, such as a career setback, the death of a friend or relative, or an illness. Challenges and problems are just more likely to present themselves during the middle age when people tend to focus on making positive contributions to society through the interactions with people of significantly different ages. Such interactions include formal and informal mentee/mentor relationships, stratified workplace relations and cross-generation family dynamics.
People in their 30s-50s also develops a greater sense of control than other life periods. Young adulthood, by contrast, is usually a time of striving, and late adulthood is typically a time of loss, including of one’s job, health and friends. Researchers have also found that the main problem for middle-aged people is feeling unable to get everything done.
Bernice Neugarten and Nancy Datan have published a study entitled “The Middle Years” (“The Foundations of Psychiatry,” Basic Books, 1974)”, and have stated that today’s generation of middle-agers is “no longer driven, but now the drivers,”.