Your Complete Guide to Healthy Living in Your 50s
By Dr. Mehrtash Amini
In Canada, almost 50% of those 51 to 60 years old have at least one serious chronic condition. That number jumps to almost 70% for those 61 to 70, and a little over 80% for those 71 and over.
Of course, there are some conditions that are inevitable and unavoidable as we age. But there are certainly ways you can be proactive about your health to decrease the effects of those conditions.
To help you out, here is a complete guide to healthy living in your 50s so you can live a long and happy life.
Take up Healthy Eating
Eating healthy in your 50s is key to keeping your body in good shape and managing any chronic conditions you might have. While you can certainly treat yourself every once in a while, it’s important that you have healthy eating habits.
Considering your immune system becomes weaker and slower to respond as you age, you want to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that’ll help you fight off illness better. Try a range of colourful fruits and vegetables to get a variety of not just antioxidants, but also beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Also, starting in your 30s, you’ll start to lose around 3% to 5% of your muscle mass every decade. For most men, this amount will total 30% in their lifetimes.
Losing your muscle mass doesn’t just mean you’re weaker. It also means you’ll be less mobile and you’ll have a higher chance of breaking a bone should you have a fall.
To fight against this, you should get more protein in your diet. Foods that are rich in protein include:
- Ret meat
For vegetarians, you can try protein sources such as legumes or beans.
Lastly, you’ll want to mainly stay away from deep-fried foods, as well as anything that’s high in sugar or sodium. An occasional treat might be ok, but keep those to a minimum.
Drink More Fluids
Not only should you eat a more wholesome diet, but you should also drink more fluids. The average man should drink about 3.7 litres a day, and the average woman should drink about 2.7 litres a day.
The good news is, this doesn’t mean solely water. So if you aren’t a fan of drinking just plain water, then you do have options. In fact, 20% of your daily fluid intake comes from the food you eat, so takes care of around 0.5 to 0.75 litres already.
In addition, you can get your needed daily fluid intake from other beverages as well. So if you enjoy coffee, tea, juice, or soda, these count as well. Just remember to keep your sugar intake low, so you don’t exacerbate any existing health conditions.
The more you can keep yourself hydrated, the better. But don’t force it, as it’s actually possible to overhydrate.
This is good advice that people of all ages should follow, considering the US has a problem with obesity. Of course, your choices in physical activity will depend on how mobile you are.
At the very least, you should get up and walk around often during the day. Not only will this help you keep your mobility, but it can also ease joint pain and keep extra weight off. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or else you’ll risk injuring yourself.
Make sure you stretch before you do any type of physical activity, even if it’s just walking around. Taking 10 minutes to stretch beforehand will benefit you in 2 ways: it’ll decrease your chance of injury and it’ll help you move more easily.
Exercise Your Brain Too
Alzheimer’s and dementia are very common health conditions that senior citizens get. While there are no cures for these diseases, there are ways you can keep them at bay.
One of the most important things you can do is “exercise” your brain. For example, you can do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other challenging games to keep yourself entertained and your wits sharp. If you’re a fan of technology, you can even pick up some fantastic video games to keep your mind fit.
In addition to exercising your brain, you should also take care of your mental health. Make sure you’re getting enough social interaction by keeping in touch with friends and family, whether that’s in person or through texts and video chats.
If your stress levels are high, try some relaxing activities, such as meditation or yoga. And if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to seek out help from a professional therapist.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a vital activity that enables your body to repair itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, then you’re running your body and immune system down.
Make sure you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Not only will this put you in better health, but you’ll also feel more energetic and ready to tackle each day.
Get Regular Checkups With Your Doctors
You can do all of the above perfectly but still have underlying health issues. This is why regular doctor visits are essential.
In general, you should get a checkup with your doctor once a year. Depending on the state of your health, you might need to see them more often.
You should also see the eye doctor on a regular basis. Many health issues start in the eyes, so if you’re diligent about eye doctor visits, you might be able to catch them before they turn into much larger and more serious issues.
Get Started on Healthy Living Today
Now you have some great healthy living tips for staying fit in your 50s and beyond.
For some, it might be a huge overhaul of how they live their lives. And for others, it’ll just be a few minor adjustments.
Whichever category you fall into, make sure you’re proactive about your health and stay that way. In addition to eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep, make sure you make those crucial checkup appointments with the appropriate healthcare professionals. By catching issues early on, they’ll be more manageable.
Make sure you live healthy, starting with booking an appointment with your current doctor to get a check-up. If you’re currently our patient, then make an appointment with us now.