Reaching the age 50 is a momentous occasion and a milestone in existence that should be celebrated. It is a stage where you have probably retired or about to, taking a step back from your career, with more free time especially now that the kids are grown and independent of you. However, in the midst of this, this new stage in life is where certain things have to be taken more critically – one of these is your health, which is your most important asset. There’s no stopping the ageing process, but with a few important lifestyle adjustments you can slow it down. That’s why we’ve put together eight tips that will make you feel healthy from the inside out.
A healthy diet is important at all ages of life, but more important for people in their 50s and above. This is because at this age, they are more prone to certain illnesses and diseases. People over age 50 are at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer – prostate cancer for men. A healthy diet helps to prevent this and manage those already nursing some of these ailments.
It’s important to eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.Low fructose fruits, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts are good sources of protein, too. Good vitamins and minerals such as B-12, calcium, vitamin D and potassium, along with fibre, are other key nutrients for the 50-and-older group. Cut down on empty calories from sugary drinks and sweets and DRINK ENOUGH WATER.
The risk of heart disease increases as we age. The risk for heart disease among women increases once they hit menopause, while men may experience theirs early before women. At 50 years and above, the risk of heart failure is very high; this is why the heart must be protected at all costs. Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes omega-3s, healthy oils and vegetables, and regular exercise, can help decrease the risk for heart disease. Take time to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have and educate yourself on the signs of heart attack and stroke.
Physical activity is the best way for men over age 50 to improve their overall health, especially heart health, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. Physical activity helps reduce the risk of some diseases, including dementia. Sarcopenia – the loss of muscle mass with age – is common with this age but this can be effectively offset by incorporating strength or resistance training into your weekly routine and exercising your muscles can actually reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Try not to forget about aerobic exercise too. Improved sleep, blood pressure, immunity and mental health are just some of the benefits of cardio workouts.
We’re not expecting you to turn into a bodybuilder, but exercising helps you move your body and is crucial to maintaining muscle mass for that age. If you have arthritis or damaged joints, running could be too much. But you can still benefit from exercise. Low-impact activities like walking or biking can help strengthen muscles, support joints, and lessen pain
More so, Avoid sitting for too long; whether you are driving, at a desk or on the couch, sitting for long periods is a health risk to the body especially at that age. Set an hourly reminder to get up, stretch it out and walk about.
Bone health is essential for both men and women in their 50s outside exercise, other biological factors can lead to decreased bone density and risk of bone related issues. This is more common to women, whose changing hormone levels before and during menopause can lead to these. Diets rich in bone-healthy nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, etc., should be consumed. More so, food-based supplements rich in these nutrients should be taken especially when medically prescribed. Also focus on weight-bearing exercise like walking, jogging, light weight training, or hiking to build new bone tissue that strengthens your entire bone structure. As good as exercise is, it is important to take note of its effects on the bones.
Social people have sharper thinking and they’re much less likely to have memory problems as they age. Spend more time with friends or family. It can help keep your mind keen. Staying social at old age has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life.. Keep in contact with good friends, join a local community club or even get a pet. Having a strong network with whom to socialise will improve mood, offer companionship and keep the brain ticking when it comes to conversations.
The importance of good sleep can’t be over-emphasized, especially as you might need a little less sleep these days than you used to. In fact, research studies conclude that the best hours of sleep for older adults is between 6 and 7.5 hours, and is associated with longer lifespans than more than eight or less than six hours. Insomnia isn’t a normal part of getting older, so eliminate sleep inhibitors such as alcohol and some medications. Quality sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves your concentration and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Seek treatment if you have an underlying problem like depression or anxiety which can prevent you from sleeping soundly again.
As one ages, so does the skin – wrinkles on different parts of the skin are visible. This calls for taking good care of the skin. A good skincare routine is essential and it’s so important to use the right products. Certain skincare products will hasten wrinkling of the skin – don’t use products that dry out your skin. Avoid alcohol-based skincare products such as lotions and moisturisers as these tend to dehydrate the skin. Many moisturisers are alcohol-based so the product absorbs quicker on the skin, requiring less time to apply. Oil cleanser or milk cleanser that cleanses your skin without stripping it can be used.
Diet rich in vegetables and unsaturated fats and low in dairy and sugar may lead to healthier skin. These include but are not limited to avocado, yellow or red bell pepper, fatty fish, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc. Eating more tropical fruits, foods rich in vitamin C and nuts can help to make your skin glow. Switching to healthier, non-fried, sugar and dairy-free options work wonders when it comes to keeping your skin healthy, youthful and absolutely glowing
Dementia, Amnesia, and transience are common memory impairments associated with old age. This is because the hippocampus—the part of your brain associated with memory—shrinks as people get older, often leading to cognitive impairment in your later years. Activities such as learning a new language, word games such as crossword puzzles, sudoku etc, help improve cognitive abilities of the aged. Research shows that taking the time to engage your brain in your 50s and beyond can have significant benefits for your cognitive function. In one large study involving 7,000 people in their 50s and older, six months of daily brain training led to significant improvements in memory, reasoning, and the ability to carry out daily tasks—all areas that can decline with age. Adults are encouraged to often read at this age.
Surprise yourself. Instead of sticking with what’s familiar and comfortable, tackle something new. Find what motivates you, and do more of it! Happiness is essential to a healthy living and finding interesting things to do at that age can be helpful. This includes travelling, cooking, camping, etc. Go to out-of-the-ordinary places. Make new friends. Learn a musical instrument or a language. Just ensure to explore new things that bring fun. New experiences will build new pathways in your brain, keeping your mind healthy as you age. They’ll also expand your options for finding excitement and happiness.
It is important to make the most of your doctor’s time at this stage. Getting some routine tests done at the clinic is essential, especially blood pressure and sugar levels. This is because people at this stage in life are susceptible to autoimmune diseases that can lead to stroke and related heart disease. Other ailments such as eye pains, blurred vision, insomnia, arthritis, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, etc. are very common at this age. Use all medications as prescribed by the doctor and keep your doctor informed of any changes.