10 Tips for optimal health in your 50s

BY Andy Pilides

1st Jan 2015 Wellbeing

10 Tips for optimal health in your 50s

As the years roll on, it’s essential we prioritise our health so we can make the most of everything life has to offer. Here are some top tips to keep you at your best in your 50s—and beyond.

1. Walk more

Movement is the essence of life. And the more we move, the easier it becomes.

It’s common to see people struggle with joint pains, which only get worse as time goes on. Walking is a fantastic and low-impact way to keep both the heart healthy and the joints moving.

It’s also an easy way to keep the weight off, as 10,000 steps (the recommended daily target) is said to burn approximately 500 calories. A pedometer can be a great way to keep count of your steps.

2. Drink more

Water plays a pivotal role in the functioning of our internal organs, muscle, digestion and skin—so as we age an adequate intake becomes even more of a necessity. Hydration also keeps us from needless food binges, as dehydration is often confused with hunger.



3. Eat for immunity

During the ageing process, our bodies are exposed to toxins and free radicals from our environment and the stresses that life throws at us.

Eating fruit and vegetables in sufficient amounts provides us with antioxidants to help maintain a strong immune system. This in turn helps us fight unwanted diseases and illnesses to keep us in good health.

Try eating fruits and vegetables ranging in as many colours as possible, as this will provide a broad range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

4. Get adequate protein

After the age of 35, our bodies drop on average five per cent of muscle mass every ten years. Consuming protein daily helps you to fight back, maintaining both muscle mass and the integrity of your bones. Of course, strong bones and muscles will help support your body structure, keep joints supple and prevent the risk of breaks and fractures. 

Select protein rich-sources such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts and incorporate into your meals. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, good protein sources include beans and legumes. Or you could simply get protein shakes like hemp protein or vegan if you’re trying to avoid dairy.



5. Work on your flexibility

This point goes hand-in-hand with the topic of movement and walking. A daily stretching routine of 10–15mins will ensure you stay supple and be able to move freely. Being pain-free is essential, especially as you get older.

6. Manage stress levels

Stress is inevitable and can affect practically every process within the human body; relationships, careers and health can all come into the firing line if stress isn’t controlled. Try meditation to control your stress levels, and keep away from coffee after 4pm.



7. Visit the brain gym

Its not just your body you need to keep fit—it’s your mind too. Challenging the mind with puzzles and games such as crosswords, chess and Sudoku will help keep your brain stimulated, promoting healthy cognitive function. Your mind is part of your body: you must use it or lose it!

8. Go swimming

Ageing joints and past injuries prevent many of us from exercising totally pain-free. Swimming is a fantastic form of impact-free exercise and could be the key to bridging the gap between resistance training (see below) and getting back on track with your fitness again.

What’s key is that water provides gentle resistance, meaning you can maintain your strength through cardiovascular work while enhancing your muscles’ capacity to work under stress.



9. Try resistance training

Resistance training means exercising your muscles against opposing force. Using dumbbells, resistance bands or even your body weight can contribute to building your strength when resistance training.

Maintaining strength as you age is essential for promoting quality of life. The good news is that it’s never too late to pick up a set of dumbbells—we can work on our fitness from any level and at any age.

10. Stay social

The physical transformation of age is inevitable—but socially not much should change. 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.

Read more from Andy Pilides here

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