Many men in their middle years are suffering, I have come to call this the early old age syndrome, this syndrome has many signs and causes some of which I will discuss below.
Early old age is being forty going on sixty, energy levels are low, both body and mind are running on fumes and even after a long nights sleep you feel exhausted. Add to that the feeling you can’t see the forest for the trees, you are distracted by everything, struggling to hold any sort of focused attention whilst also experiencing a lack of motivation and excitement in your life. Finally your body is slowing down alarmingly, you are gaining weight consistently year on year resulting in a paunch that will not shift whilst your joints and back get stiffer and sorer. Below is a graphic representing some of the challenges faced by those men suffering from early old age, challenges are present in the physical, psychological and social realm.
I will briefly outline some of the reasons that this is happening to so many middle aged men all across the world broken down by the three realms.
Muscle loss starts at thirty and accelerates at forty, between 3% to 5% of muscle is lost per decade for inactive men. During their lifetime most men’s muscle mass will reduce about 30%.
Reduction in testosterone commonly reported in middle aged men, low testosterone is associated with alzheimers, frailty, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease.
Flexibility reduces as we age, the elasticity of tendons, ligaments and joint capsules decreases, over the span of working life. Adults lose some 8-10 cm of lower-back and hip flexibility on average.
The UK has the highest levels of obesity in Western Europe, obesity has risen 92% since the 1990s over the population. Middle aged men are well represented in these figures, 19% of males between the age of twenty five-thirty four are obese, this number almost doubles to 37% for those between the age of fifty five-sixty four.
Many middle aged men are fathers as well as hold management jobs that command a good salary but also have lots of associated stress. Stress is understood to be one of the key components of both depression and anxiety.
Research undertaken between 2012 and 2015 saw subjective well being at the lowest in people between thirty five and fifty nine years of age whilst anxiety were at the highest through the same age category’s.
Depression and low life satisfaction is magnified when working a job you hate and when you lack the release of enjoyable activities or hobbies. The term ‘Empty man syndrome’ has come to describe a group of men within society with these symptoms.
A distinct lack of focus and as a result a lack of clear goals are common. We live in an age of distraction, life is more complicated than ever with more ways to waste your time than ever before.
As men age a trend develops where they spend less and less time cultivating new relationships and managing their existing ones. This for many results in a mild type of isolation whilst for others a more serious form can exist.
Lacking a peer group is an extension of the above issue, being part of a peer group allows for a sense of belonging, provides social support and a chance to have some fun banter back and forth. Men are typically not great at talking about their feelings that can result in them bottling them up when not part of a peer group.
Divorce rates among middle age men are considerable, large numbers of men are separated from their kids and ex wives and lack the peer group discussed above. Lots find themselves in resentful relationships that perhaps should end but continue on.
For many men in middle age their parents who would be a source of advice, support and guidance are now either old and frail, cognitively declining or passed away. The realisation for many is now they are supposed to be the one with all the answers.
An alternative to early old age: Endless Growth
I have put some thought into the causes and remedies of this syndrome, below are two blogs on the subject. Firstly the five tips to avoid falling into early old age here http://tiny.cc/zuwoqy
Next the seven mistakes that will lead to you falling into early old age here http://tiny.cc/xyoeqy
What I propose is the opposite of the man in the introduction who is mentally and physically exhausted, who is unfocused and distracted by the thousands of things whilst gaining weight and slowing down. What I propose is a you that is fresher, sharper and leaner as you move on into your middle years, a concept I call endless growth.
What does life with an endless growth strategy look like?
To learn more about how you can avoid early old age and facilitate an endless growth strategy sign up for your free 12 minute discovery session today.
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