- Aging & Longevity
Tips for Healthy Living after Age Fifty
Core strategies for staying young
A zest for life
If you’ve reached the age of fifty with no serious health issues, count yourself lucky, but in order to continue being healthy as the years advance you’ll find you may have to work a little bit harder now that you’re not so young any more. Preventative health measures can be your insurance policy for fitness during the thirty or more years of quality life you should still have ahead of you.
Take advantage of all health-screening programmes available for your gender and age group - such tests can be real life savers. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure which health checks apply to you.
In your 50’s you may gain a little weight even though you haven’t been eating any more than usual. This is because your body doesn’t need so much energy to maintain its current weight and your metabolism may have slowed slightly. Go easy on sugar loaded ‘empty calorie’ comfort foods or fizzy drinks that cause indigestion and in excess may even lead to more serious health issues such as maturity-onset diabetes (this is when the body can no longer deal with the sugar overload it could easily manage in the past).
Cutting out or at least cutting down on smoking and being less liberal with alcohol consumption is also wise because the occasional over-indulgence that your body may have coped with admirably when you were younger is now much harder to tolerate.
If you start getting pains where you’ve never had them before, don’t view regular use of pain killers as an ongoing solution. The pain is there for a reason - your body is telling you something is wrong. You may be able to rectify it yourself by giving up an unhealthy habit. Work with the pain and find out what is the cause rather than give into it purely on account of your age.
The solution may be an easy one such as a few days' rest or you may have to change the habits of a lifetime to find some relief. For instance, middle-aged women who have worn high heels all their lives may suddenly find that their feet now demand more sensible shoes. Problems with back pain and bunions can so easily be rectified by wearing more suitable footwear.
Adopting a common sense approach to eating habits will ensure you get the vitamins and minerals required to maintain health and fitness. Make sure you always have a healthy selection of foods in your larder so you don’t feel tempted by calorie-laden biscuits and snacks. Even if you don’t have a weight problem, eating nutritionally unsound foods will do little for your health and well-being.
The Mayo Clinic suggests five ways in which you can help prevent heart disease - a major cause of premature death in the western world: don’t smoke, eat healthy food, don’t put on weight, take regular exercise and get regular health screening. This is sound advice which no one can dispute. Adhering to such rules will give you a better chance of enjoying many productive years ahead in which you can live life to the fullest.
Don’t think you are ‘over the hill’ just because you’ve reached a birthday milestone that sounds daunting. If you still feel fit and healthy then age is of no real obstacle to doing whatever you still feel physically capable of.
Sexual health is something that the over 50’s still need to be aware of. Even though women of this age group may feel more liberated now they are past child-bearing age, they still need to protect themselves against sexually transmitted disease and even pregnancy is the fifties is not unheard of.
Mental health is also of utmost importance and it’s worth mentioning that mental stimulation from learning something new can help keep your brain cells active. ‘If you don’t use it you’ll lose it’ is a good phrase to bear in mind when it comes to both mental and physical agility.
Many folk who have lived to a grand old age will verify that they’ve got there by maintaining a balanced attitude to health and fitness over the decades and have never lost their zest for life.
© 2015 Stella Kaye