Boomers need to focus more on their own well-being

Baby boomers may be confident in how they take care of themselves, but they are not focusing enough on their physical well-being and many are finding themselves struggling to juggle competing priorities, according to a national survey by Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston.

The survey, of more than 500 Americans between the ages of 50 and 65, also found that to better manage these priorities, 61 percent of boomers were willing to commit to a New Year’s resolution to either pursue the active lifestyle they deserve (50 percent) or to stay healthy to continue to help others (49 percent).

Of course four out of five people who make a resolution usually break it, with 33 percent of people giving up before the end of January.

Considering that 74 percent of boomers who work full-time feel that they do not have enough time to do things they enjoy, it is not surprising that their resolutions quickly fall by the wayside. While the stress of being overscheduled and having conflicting priorities impacts everyone, those who are among the more than 50 million adults in the U.S. acting as caregivers for both an elderly parent and a child – those in the “sandwich generation” – have a heightened stress level.

To help all boomers reduce stress and improve their physical well-being, Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston has created an online resource, “Be Well for Life,” to provide practical information and commonsense tips needed to live a longer, healthier life. Curated by longevity expert, Dr. Alison Moy, “Be Well for Life” distills medical research on stress, nutrition and health into actionable activities.

“Oftentimes the stress people feel is simply the imagination gone wild. By taking a step back and looking at stressors objectively, boomers can identify windows of opportunity in their day to reduce their stress and improve their health,” said Moy. “First, clarify your specific goal and make it smaller and accomplishable. For example, if the goal is to increase daily exercise and you’re crunched for time, then start by taking the stairs each day at work, not the elevator. If you work on the 10th floor, then take the elevator to the ninth and walk one flight. Once it’s easy, add more floors.”

She added that, “Controlling stress through small increments of daily exercise is especially important for boomers who are caregivers as medical researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that the type of prolonged caregiving stress boomers in the ‘sandwich generation’ are under can shorten the length of telomeres, which are the segment of DNA at the end of a chromosome. If telomeres shorten to a critical length, the cell stops dividing – which is believed to be a marker for cellular aging.”

Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston surveyed pre-retirement-age boomers to gauge their perceptions about their physical health and well-being and their preparations for retirement. The survey was conducted online in November 2012 by ORC International and surveyed a total of 501 Americans aged 50 to 65.

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