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How To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle Over 50 

woman walking on pathway during daytime

There’s plenty to celebrate when you turn fifty. Senior citizen discounts may kick in, if you’ve invested wisely, the returns start to pour in, your kids are probably settled and you’re looking forward to the Golden Years. Human beings are living longer, doing much more than they ever did in our history, and scaling peaks of achievement that were the stuff of science fiction not so long ago.

 

What’s worrying is that we have become more  complacent and we take this extended life-span for granted. It took a crisis such as the Covid 19 pandemic to give us a jolt and we re-discovered how fragile life really is. But…..no matter how you feel mentally and emotionally, let’s face it, your body will certainly tell you exactly how old you are!

 

Possible Health Issues After 50

 

If you’ve crossed half a century, you’re probably at the peak of your career, with thoughts of retirement floating vaguely through your mind, during an idle moment. It’s the time to consolidate and build, and perhaps take stock of your life, relationships, goals and aspirations.

 

Meanwhile, don’t ignore the warning signs that your body may be giving you while you’re rushing about from A to B.

 

Bone Loss: Till 50, bone loss replacement occurs in your body at an efficient rate, but after that loss happens faster than replacement. This is especially risky for women as they lose bone density rapidly after menopause, and could develop osteoporosis.

 

High cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes often make their presence felt post 50. Osteoarthritis is another disease that generally hits between ages 45-65. The warning signs could be the occasional knee pain, wrist pain, stiffness in the fingers when you wake up in the morning or back pain.

 

It’s harder to lose weight as you age, and fad diets are a big no-no at this time. If you’ve struggled with weight gain or obesity all your life, turning 50 isn’t going to change anything. Obesity is linked to developing a range of other diseases such as stroke, cardiac arrest or pancreatitis.

 

Apart from physical issues, many people report feeling more anxious and depressed as they cross the half century. High stress levels, lack of adequate sleep, relationship problems, career concerns, financial worries, poor dietary choices, extra consumption of alcohol or cigarettes,  and lack of regular exercise contribute to increasing your anxiety and making you feel low on energy and more wound up.

 

This is also the time to relax, mentally and physically. Treat yourself occasionally to snacks or meals that you love, pamper yourself with spa or salon treatments, gift yourself a wellness hamper and enjoy holidays that aren’t hectic and packed with stuff to see and do.

 

Healthy Lifestyle for the Over 50s

 

But don’t think it’s all gloom and doom, or assume that this is the end of the road, and there’s no more fun and games left.

 

You may have read articles in magazines, or scrolled through social media posts that tell you 50 is the new 30.

 

There is a grain of truth in it – human beings are living longer and mortality rates have fallen drastically. A century ago, life expectancy in developed countries was around 56 for men and 59 for women, and today, the numbers are 79 for men and 83 for women!

 

The reasons are not hard to find – they’re due to better access to healthcare facilities, advances in medical technology, awareness, improved nutrition and higher levels of hygiene and disease prevention.

 

Today, we’re flooded with ageist messaging. Growing old is compared to a disease, and the market is deluged with anti-ageing products, supplements, procedures and advice. Many of them claim to delay or reverse aging. Diets that focus on a single food or beverage can do more harm than good.

 

Instead, make sensible plans for the years ahead, audit your own finances, take regular health check-ups and practice mindful living, staying grateful for the blessings you can count.

 

Here’s  where we can step back and take a closer and harder look at what we’re doing to preserve this gift of longevity that is available to us. While it’s true that we don’t have much control on the unexpected and the unseen, it’s certainly within our control to take a proactive role in staying fit, healthy and happy.

 

  1. Stress Management: One of the worst culprits in eroding your health after 50 is stress. No matter what the reason, your body remains in high alert, with the Fight or Flight reaction in place constantly. It’s important to allow the parasympathetic nervous system’s rest and digest response to kick in.

 

Bust That Stress:

 

  • Recognize, identify and acknowledge stress
  • Find the common triggers
  • Adopt preventive measures such as yoga, meditation or journaling
  • Practice kindness and gratitude
  • Regular exercise, mindful diet and adequate sleep

 

  1. Exercise: Exercise helps you to maintain efficient body processes. It’s natural to lose muscle mass and tone by 50, and the only way to combat this is through exercise. It also keeps your brain active, helps you to breathe easier and release good hormones that combat the blues

 

Do It Right:

 

  • At 50, it’s not possible to do what you did at 25
  • Select activities  in sync with your current health status, goals and interests
  • Choose low impact activities such as walking or swimming that are less harsh on your joints
  • Stay hydrated
  • Join a dance class, go golfing or cycling with friends

 

  1. Diet: Nutrition plays a major role in staying healthy. At this point, it’s not just about looking good – that is a bonus – it’s more about feeling good from the inside.

 

Eat Right:

 

  • Avoid binging or starving, remember fad diets are a no-no
  • Choose diets high in fiber, low in sugar
  • More fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Less processed foods and beverages
  • Smaller, more frequent meals
  • Healthier snacking options
  • More berries, seafood, whole grains
  • At least one source of protein in every meal

 

  1. Socializing: Getting together with family and friends gives you a sense of belonging and happiness. Many older people tend to isolate themselves due to health problems, commuting difficulties or depressive feelings.

 

Stay Connected:

 

  • Don’t always depend on others to take the initiative – reach out
  • Don’t wait for special occasions to meet
  • Impulsive meetings are fun – ring up a friend and meet for coffee
  • Volunteer
  • Avoid being judgmental about people
  • Learn a new skill

 

  1. Social Media: Staying connected on social media is great, but it has its dark side. Studies show that excessive dependence on social media leads to depression, anxiety and stress. Remember that a lot of what people put out isn’t real – pictures of great holidays, perfect homes and children, amazing meals – they don’t show you the entire picture.

 

Detox:

 

  • Keep your phone out of your bedroom and turn off notifications
  • Cut excessive and obsessive scrolling
  • Free up your time for exercise, sleep or a hobby
  • Delete a few social media apps on your phone
  • Designate a certain time of day to be on social media
  • If you can’t do it alone, do it with a spouse, sibling or buddy

 

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