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How To Stay Healthy For People Over 50

Updated on March 5, 2018
Good Guy profile image

I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

My wife and I treading on the Foot Reflexology Path in a public park


How to stay healthy for people over 50

Some people are always naturally and luckily healthy. Some are on the other extreme, always sickly. Most of us are in between. As one becomes older, health problems begin to surface. As I become older, I am more concerned with maintaining my good health. My constant thought was, “How to stay healthy for people over 50”. Why people over 50? This is just my personal yardstick to regard those who have crossed a critical physical stage in their lives. The Chinese and Indians have a “critical” age boundary, and that is at the age of 60. This “60-year old” threshold is considered the beginning of one’s spiritual journey before one reaches one’s final “destination”. To me when one is over 60, each day alive is a bonus! So for the not so young, please pay careful attention to your health. Believe me, nothing is more precious than your health, good health that is. You may have everything in this world, but if you are not healthy, it is hell!

A practical approach to good health

This article, “How to stay healthy for people over 50” is not an authoritative health treatise from any health expert. It is just from my personal experience on my journey through life; about how I keep my physical body healthy at all times. I am now 62, this year 2012. I can consider myself fortunate to be still alive and healthy. I am just an average healthy person.

What I share with you here are all very practical aspects of health “activities” which I follow every day. I call my health program, “activities” because they are not structured and rigid. Of course, I don’t do all of these activities every day, otherwise I will not even have time to eat and sleep, let alone to write this article. In other words, my activities are diverse, and there is always the flexibility to choose which activities to do each day. Apart from these, I do a number of little exercises throughout the day. They are too many and too minor to write about them here.

I believe you will benefit more from following my health activities for three main reasons. The first is that it is FREE. The second is that the information is always available here for you to refer. And third, which is the most important; it is 100% practical and effective. If I can do it, so can you. Remember, I am just an average healthy 62-year old person. I can give you a “money-back” guarantee, if I charge you. But since it’s free, everyone should be happy, and healthy! (LOL)

The four pillars of watchfulness

Okay, let’s get on with my officially termed “How to stay healthy for people over 50” or simply “my daily health activities”. You need to have two key conditions to follow my health activities. One, you must have the TIME. Second, you must have the DISCIPLINE with commitment, determination and a relaxed frame of mind. I shall not describe in detail the various health “activities”. Please refer to the four “link” boxes on the right to read the specific topics which are highlighted in bold prints in this article.

In one of my earlier articles, “How-to-live-to-100-plus”, I have written about the three lines of defense to protect our bodies from sickness. They are proper nutrition, regular exercise and a relaxed positive mental attitude. Here I will add another defensive weapon to strengthen our body immune system. Let us call this overall defense strategy as the “four pillars of watchfulness”:

1. Watch your food intake : Nutrition

2. Watch your body condition : Physical body

3. Watch your mind : Mental health

4. Watch your environment : Family, social, and external

Watch your food intake : Nutrition

“Food intake” here includes everything you put inside your stomach, both solid and liquid. This is the most important “health pillar” because whatever we put into our stomachs, our bodies will accordingly respond to them. If we put in healthy nutrients, our bodies will benefit healthily. If we throw rubbish and poisons into our stomachs, our bodies suffer.

The supermarkets not only sell food; they also sell “poisons” in the guise of additives, essence, coloring and preservatives. You know what I mean. Be very careful on what you regularly eat. We can always allow ourselves a little indulgence in junk foods and drinks once in a while, but must not consume them regularly. Continuous consumption of junk foods laced with toxic preservatives and additives will open our bodies to sicknesses. “Cancer” is the most dreaded word in the human vocabulary.

I start my morning with 2 tablespoons of tibicos mushroom concentrate and a mug of plain water. Then followed by a light breakfast. The amount of food one takes largely depends on the constituency of the individual and to a certain extent, his physical size and his daily activities. It is essential that you drink sufficient plain water everyday.

Different peoples in different cultures consume different types of food. So here I can only share my own experience. Asians eat a lot of oily stuff and seafood, which are most delicious, but not very good for health. So I try to reduce these unhealthy foods. Caucasians, I suppose like red meats, and from my knowledge, red meats are not good for health.

Read a good article on healthy nutrition and you shall know what are healthy foods and what are literally poisons. On the whole, I try to reduce intake of sugar, salt, oil and fats, and anything I know that is not good for my health. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink alcoholic substances.

My food intake philosophy is “eat and drink in moderation”. This includes avoid over-eating. In fact it is believed that we should always be less than 100% full. This will not cause the body to overwork just to digest too much food. Another strategy which I believe is that sometimes it may be good to introduce a wee bit of toxins into our bodies so as to activate our immune system. Just like the army cannot just stay inactive, but must constantly train itself. In the process, the immune system will be strengthened. This is just my personal belief. I regularly eat plain steamed food, personally prepared by myself, with plenty of healthy vegetables, beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Fruit juices provide essential vitamins and enzymes to keep our bodies healthy. They are best consumed immediately after the juicing. I personally do my own juicing, usually with pineapple. I will add a tablespoon of psyllium husks to the juice. Psyllium husks are beneficial for keeping the digestive track and stomach healthy. Apart from fruit juices, I sometimes prepare fruit enzyme. I take the fruit enzyme as and when I feel like it. As this fruit enzyme is quite expensive to prepare, I don’t take this often.

As a general health regime, it is also essential that we take some form of vitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis.

Me doing the Lajin stretch


Me with a pair of 3kg dumbells


Me doing the push-ups


Me doing the "plough"


Me doing the leg and body stretch


Me doing the "shoulder stand"


Watch your body condition : Physical body

Take good care of your physical body, and your body will be fit and healthy. There is no other way except to exercise your body. It is just like car maintenance. If you neglect your body for a prolonged period, it will eventually break down. Exercising your body everyday is essential to keep your body in shape. I definitely don’t have a superbly-shaped body. What I mean is that the body must be able to function properly. There are so many types of exercise. Make your choice. Exercise includes body massage and breathing exercise. Physical exercise helps to strengthen the bone structure and the heart. Body massage and proper breathing exercise can help the body internal organs to function effectively.

My favorite exercise is the La-jin stretch and qigong. Lajin concentrates on stretching of the joints and ligaments, while qigong ensures overall stretching and bending. My articles on Lajin and qigong also include massage and breathing techniques. To me, the knee joints are the most important parts of the bone structure. There are ever increasing cases of knee problems. The surgeons are laughing all the way to the bank for performing very expensive knee-joint replacement surgeries. To strengthen my knee joints I do the knee-bending exercise in the 3-1-2 qigong series, and also do the simple knee-rub massage.

To strengthen my arms and chest, I exercise with lifting a pair of 3-kg dumbbells, followed by push-ups.

Apart from the above, I also practice simple yoga poses. Yoga poses are usually more difficult as they involve more bending. So you need to be careful and don’t ever over-stretch yourself. I practice a few poses that are not too difficult. Take a look at the two photos on the right of me doing the shoulder stand and the plough.

Apart from exercising your body, you also need sufficient rest and sleep. The body is not made to sustain physical activities 24 hours a day. Continuous physical activities without rest will take a toll on the body, and if it is prolonged in this way, the body will ultimately break down. Medical research found that the most valuable period to sleep is from 10pm to 2 am. I try to go to sleep before 12 mid-night, but I end up always past mid-night. Please remember, your body not only needs sufficient sleep, it also requires periodic rest throughout the day. Plenty of rest and sufficient sleep will help the body to rejuvenate itself.

Me at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Kuantan, Malaysia


A view of the imposing meditation hall


Me, meditating at home


Watch your mind : Mental health

This is perhaps the most neglected area when physical health is concerned. The main reason is ignorance to the importance of mental health. I must admit, this is the most difficult area for me to practice. In theory I may be an expert, but in practice I fall short of what is expected. Recently on December 5, 2012, I attended the Goenka 10-day Vipassana course. I have benefited a lot from this course. Please read it here : "Goenka Vipassana meditation, my personal experience".

Some people have very good temperament while others not. Generally, you can witness those with good temperament as happy people. They seldom get angry over trivial things. On the other extreme, you see many who are extremely negative and hostile. Most of us are in between.

When the mind is agitated, our body will respond likewise. Under normal situation, we do not feel any correlation between the body and the mind. However, during critical conditions like extreme anger or extreme fear, the whole body will shake and shiver. In extremely critical circumstances we can even lose control over our bowel and urinary movements! In Asian spiritual philosophies, especially from the Chinese and Indian cultures, the mind is the most important part of our physical body. Ironically you can never find the location of the mind. Let us just take it that the mind works through the brain.

When the mind is at peace, the body is relaxed. All body systems function efficiently. When the mind is agitated with all the negative thoughts of greed, hatred, resentment, revenge, fear and worry, then the person is going to be in trouble. The whole body systems will be adversely affected. If this state of negative mental agitation prolongs, the body immune system will be weakened, and in the end germs and viruses and cancer cells take over.

It is therefore, most important that we must learn how to relax and reduce our negative thoughts. Many people cannot forgive others who have hurt them. Many others cannot reduce their fear and worries about the future. These two evil poisonous mental thoughts eat away the vitality of the physical body. It is wise to realize that to forgive others is not to their benefit but for the benefit of one’s health. It is also essential to realize that fear and worries are poisons to the body. Let them go, and you will be happy and healthy.

Meditation will help to train the mind to reduce all these negative tendencies. But it takes a lot of patience and time. I have been neglecting on this area too, but after attending the Goenka vipassana meditation course, I have been consistent in my daily meditation. This has improved my mental health significantly. You need to have the time, a conducive environment and the proper frame of mind to practice proper meditation.

An easier additional effort to maintain peace of mind is to listen to soothing music, read an interesting book, and engage in some wholesome hobbies. It also helps if you maintain a certain degree of worldly wisdom of being contented in life, taking little pleasures in the simple things in life and being free of greed, hatred and resentment. Then your mind will be at peace, and you will experience health and happiness.

Me, at the park, by the pond


Watch your environment : Family, social, and physical environment

We are creatures of comfort. The more we are able to relax and to feel relaxed, the healthier we will become. We live in an environment. So make sure your surrounding environment is conducive for your well-being. Whatever affects us externally is our environment. They are our family relationship, social relationship, and the physical environment. Social relationship will include your work environment. You can conduct a mental survey of how happy you are with your family, friends and work condition.

Treasure your friends, love your family and enjoy your work. The level of happiness has a long-term effect on your health.

As for the physical environment, the air you breathe and the daily lifestyle you adopt will tell on your health. I am fortunate to live in a very quiet and peaceful environment, with plenty of fresh air. I regularly take walks with my wife around the pristine pond nearby my home, and at the same time use the public exercise equipment there. In addition, my small private garden ensures that I have sufficient exercise like weeding, mowing the lawn, and keeping it spick and span.

Remember, clean air and happy people around you, will contribute to your good health!

The four axioms of good health

I have shared with you the “four pillars of watchfulness”. From these four pillars of watchfulness, we can summarize them into four axioms of good health:

1. You are what you eat.

2. You are what you do.

3. You are what you think.

4. You are what you mix.

An after-thought : you are also what you listen

This is an after-thought. Perhaps I should add another "bonus" contribution to our health regime, listening to soothing songs and music of your choice. I am quite a universal person as far as music is concerned. I enjoy listening to all sorts of music. This is because I live in a very cosmopolitan country. Of course I have special preferences, even they are diverse. Please go to the links on the right column if you are interested to know the diverse types of music that I enjoy listening to. Perhaps for most Caucasians, the best relaxing music will be the classical chamber music. Just take your pick and relax.

Listening to soothing music and songs will help you to relax, set your mind in peace and in equanimity. Only when you are in the right frame of mind, can you relax, be happy and be healthy.

A Final Revelation

This is not any spiritual revelation but about what I have observed throughout my life. Personal hygiene, including the cleanliness around the person are long term contributors to your health and well-being. Just imagine having a rubbish bin inside your room or worse still inside your room. Likes attract likes. Remember the Law of Attraction. If one is personally unhygienic, surrounded by dirty and unpleasant things, one is going to get sick in the long run. Just imagine the dust and unseen germs floating around, attacking the person every second, until one day the person succumbs to sickness. It is very important that a person must be reasonably clean physically, and live in a reasonably clean and tidy home, especially the rooms and bathrooms.

Need I say more?


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    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Stacie,

      Thanks for visiting and thumbs up. I hope you keep healthy as well.

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      4 years ago

      50 was a critical year, for myself and others. We all had major health issues and I agree with your “four pillars of watchfulness”.

      Thumbs up!

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Cathy Fidelibus and tebo ,

      Thank you for visiting and comment.

    • tebo profile image


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      A very informative hub. I must check out the knee exercises you mentioned as this is an area that gives me a little bother - not too bad, but would be good to strengthen. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 

      6 years ago from NJ

      Good Guy,

      Very impressive regimen, especially the yoga.

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Renee Abbott,

      Thanks for visiting and comment.

    • Renee Abbott profile image

      Renee Abbott 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Greetings Good Guy

      Thank you for writing this hub. I am one year younger than you, and I do enjoy living life. In living well, I have also implimented some of your own suggestions. The two though that work for me is to have passion for living and agin is wisdom verses a crime.

      I will be following you, and wish you wellsness.

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Arielqiao,

      I agree that we should have annual medical check-ups. But since I fall short of this, I left out this part, as this article is about my personal health regime. I believe in "practise what you preach".

      Thanks for visiting and comment.

    • Arielqiao profile image


      6 years ago

      It's so amazing that you can do so many difficult exercise that even the younth can't do. Good health is so important for us. Beside of the things you mention in your article, We should check our body condition periodically.

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi carol7777,

      I am indeed fascinated with your ability to read all the hubs being published, and comment too.

      Thanks for the encouragement, and vote.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I enjoyed reading this..We are both health advocates. We exercise most days of the week,eat healthy and try to laugh a lot. Life is full of challenges that can tear into the solid base we have. There are always issues..and we do not always face things with the right attitude..However we feel we beat at least 95% of the population. Keep up your excellent life style. Voting up and sharing.


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