Or is it, numbers all around you and the boss breathing down your neck which is permanently on the block. Excitement and stress combined with a sedentary life, thanks to the air conditioned car, office and home. Driving, pecking at the laptop and blackberry while comfortably couched.
So which is it? Aren’t both part of the middle-aged dream life?
Of course it is. Dream you shall. Only those who dare dream, achieve! You walk this planet but once. So go right ahead.
That said, the road ahead is not always smooth; the road to quality has no end. These are corporate jargons that you are all familiar with. These are true statements. Health Insurance schemes, inter-alia, take care of the road ahead to a large extent. But ‘quality of physiological life’ needs a different approach. A ‘lean quality approach’ maybe? So what is this lean quality process? Lean processes are the latest diet craze in the world of quality control. Lean is a quality control technique you can use to identify and eliminate the flab in your company’s processes. The “flab” is all the dead weight carried by a process without adding any value. The customer doesn’t want to pay for dead weight, so why should you?
Similarly, by adapting a lean process for your own healthcare, you can significantly reduce health related risks and set yourself up for a smooth ride ahead. Lean provides a robust framework that facilitates improving efficiency and effectiveness by focusing on critical customer requirements. Lean is a management system that focuses on delivering value to the end customer by continuously improving value delivery processes.
Value Stream Mapping
People think in images not in words. Look yourself up in the mirror. Reflect on your lifestyle. For most of us who are over 50 our lifestyle dictates that during most part of the day when you are at work or back home, you are sitting behind the wheel driving your car or you are seated travelling, else you are seated behind your desk at work peering into your computer or at some files, or you are in your couch at home watching TV. Imagine the amount of time you spend in this sitting posture. Do you know what happens to your muscles in this posture? Remaining seated for long periods creates a static load on our body resulting in muscle fatigue and restricted blood circulation and will affect our health considerably in the long run. Remaining seated for prolonged periods disrupts metabolic functions that lead to poor vascular health. This is part of the package that comes along with the life that we dreamed of. Now that we have identified the flab, we need to remove it while we continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we have rightfully earned. Women who reach 50 years of age need to prepare themselves to face the additional challenges posed by the onset of menopause. Women tend to gain weight as they age due to decease in muscle mass and accumulation of excess fat and lower resting metabolic rate. Hormonal shifts can cause a range of symptoms and increase overall risk for heart disease and stroke. The absorption of certain nutrients may also decrease because of a loss of stomach acid.
The Lean Integration Principles
Build quality. Do your stretches before and after your exercise schedule. This is mandatory and so is a consultation with a doctor before you embark on an exercise schedule. Follow through with your doctor periodically. Augment with daily doses of Multivitamins, Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
The Lean Integration Principles
- Focus on yourself. You are in control of your health. The change begins and ends with you. It is such a simple change. You just need to ensure that the flab that came along with the package disappears. You don’t need it. It’s a waste. Exercise is the elixir that removes waste and gives a new meaning to your well-earned lifestyle. It should be our goal to exercise to have a strong heart and muscles, decreased stiffness and less body fat.
- Walking, running, dancing or cycling are good cardio exercises that you can build into your exercise schedule. Walking and Cycling are relatively easier on the knee than running or dancing. They need not be a rigorous. You can walk to the grocery, you can take the stairway to your office or your apartment, and you can cycle to your club or even to your office if you are blessed with a residence that is close by. A good 30-45 minutes of cardio exercises two days a week is recommend.
- Two days in a week should be utilized for muscle strengthening. Weight training under supervision is the best way to do this. Invest in a membership in a gym or use the gym in your club to your advantage. The return on investment is considerable. Research shows that by age 65 we end up losing 20% – 30% of our strength and every decade after 65 the rate of loss speeds up. The good news is that this rate can be slowed down by building muscle through weight training. If you have not done weight training at all in your life so far, it does not matter. Start at 50 and set yourself up to be fit at 65 and beyond. That leaves us with 3 more days in a week.
- Chose the sport that you love. Go out and enjoy playing for an hour, two days of the week. It could be badminton, tennis, swimming, volley ball or any other game. Give it your best, both physically and mentally. This will keep you physically fit and mentally sharp. While aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, strength training can build muscle mass and bone density. Both come in handy when you’re trying to pick up your grandchild or even simply a bag of groceries.
- On the seventh day, whichever day of the week that is – normally a weekend, turn off your alarm clock. Catch up with sleep. Read a book. Work on a crossword to keep you mentally agile. Spend time with family. That’s an hour a day, six days a week, all for you. And imagine, until now someone else was managing your time. Now you are managing it yourself. Not to forget the whole of the seventh day that you will devote to yourself and your family. Isn’t this wonderful. 50++ is not so bad after all!
- Once you are set continuous improvements can be introduced. For example as you progress you could build-in interval training in your cardio exercise schedule – alternating 10 min fast and 10 min slow or any similar time alternates that can be built-in within the total exercise time for better results.
- You are empowered to take your decisions. You can decide to walk, dance, cycle or run. Innovate. Try something new. Do not fear failure.
- Change is constant. Plan for change. If you had a wonderful place where you could cycle but had to move to a different home from where you cannot access this place, don’t let it be a show stopper. Go for a run, do something else that you enjoy.
- Optimize the whole. Adopt a big picture perspective. Introduce a good dietary system into your lifestyle. Clearly, the diet for the 50+ will conform to the goals of maintaining weight, consuming heart-healthy foods and building strength. Research shows that even modest exercise and changes in diet can bring considerable benefits regardless of the age you start. You don’t need to run marathons to shape up after 50, but you do need to get moving.
- Automate. While I wouldn’t want to call it rigor, it should become part of your DNA. It should happen by itself.
- Build quality. Do your stretches before and after your exercise schedule. This is mandatory and so is a consultation with a doctor before you embark on an exercise schedule. Follow through with your doctor periodically. Augment with daily doses of Multivitamins, Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
Lean is not just for quality in the manufacturing or service industries. Lean is for quality in your lifestyle. Health is quality. Exercising and eating right is health. Dream, achieve and build quality into your lifestyle. Enjoy life 50++.
About the author:
Naresh is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, rowing and a multitude of outdoor sports. He also works in the healthcare industry and, at close to sixty years, is trying to create awareness of the concept of health through fitness.
Photo Credit: Image 1
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