Entering your 50s will come with a slew of changes to your body, so it’s important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are six ways you can become the healthiest version of yourself in your 50s and beyond.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
One of the most important ways that you can stay healthy as you age is to eat a nutrient-rich diet. If you want your body to be strong enough to fight off diseases, it’s essential that you provide it with the fuel to do so. Make sure that you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. Although treating yourself once in a while is perfectly fine, you should try to avoid eating foods high in saturated and trans fats, fried foods and refined sugar. Once you reach your 50s, you have to accept that you won’t be able to eat the same foods that you ate in your 20s or 30s and remain healthy. If you’re having trouble meeting your nutritional needs or deciding which foods you should be consuming, a nutritionist or dietitian can help you set specific goals.
Take Vitamins and Supplements
Taking vitamins and supplements is a great way to provide your body with the essential nutrients that it may not be getting from food. Vitamin D and calcium are especially important for women in their 50s, as they become more prone to bone loss and osteoporosis after menopause. Omega-3 fatty acids are a great option for promoting overall health, as they’ve been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, combat Alzheimer’s disease and possibly prevent cancer. If you’re looking to prevent hair loss and reduce inflammation, saw palmetto balances hormones and protects cells against damage due to its high concentration of antioxidants. Taking vitamins and supplements is a great way to maintain your general health as you age.
While maintaining a healthy diet is important, your body can’t process those nutrients if it doesn’t have enough water. Water is an essential component in almost all of the body’s processes, and therefore it’s crucial that you drink enough each day. Staying hydrated can also prevent you from binging on unhealthy food, as your body can often mistake thirst for hunger. To calculate how many cups of water your body needs, divide your weight by two to get the ounces of water, and then divide by eight for the total number of cups. If you find it difficult to drink enough water, try supplementing with herbal tea, smoothies or soup.
Get Some Exercise
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but exercising is one of the most important ways to maintain a healthy mind and body. You don’t have to join a gym, purchase expensive equipment or push yourself too hard. Simply taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day can improve cognitive function, reduce risk of disease and release feel-good hormones in your brain called endorphins, which can reduce stress and improve your mood. The key is to find an activity that you truly enjoy so that exercising won’t be a chore. If you’re not into brisk walks, activities such as gardening or even taking the stairs count as exercise. In addition, you should also aim for some strength training two to three times a week. Bone disorders such as osteoporosis become increasingly common as you age, so it’s important to engage your muscles in order to build strength and muscle mass. In general, you should aim for about two hours and 30 minutes of exercise a week to reap the full benefits.
Schedule a Colonoscopy
Many experts recommend that adults should get their first colonoscopy at age 50. A colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the large intestine and colon for any abnormalities, which could signal the beginnings of colon cancer. You’ll be sedated during the exam, so you won’t remember anything or feel any pain. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, approximately 90% of new colon cancer cases occur in individuals over age 50. However, colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of the disease, so it’s important that you get screened in order to detect any abnormalities before they progress.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Just as you need to engage in physical activity, it’s also important to keep your mind sharp as you age. Mental exercise can include anything from practicing an instrument to playing crossword puzzles, and it can have extremely beneficial effects on your brain. Engaging your mind has been shown to promote cognitive function and enhance memory. This can be beneficial in warding off brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, which become more prevalent with age.
It’s important that you prioritize your health in your 50s if you want to maintain a healthy body and mind. Following these six tips can help you stay healthy into your 50s and beyond.