Turning 50 is a significant milestone. You begin to realize that you’re getting older and need to start taking a more serious look at your health and fitness. The key is to get your body in top shape before you reach your 60’s and beyond, so here are some tips to staying fit and healthy after hitting the big five-0.
Especially for women
For women, the key is to curb your salt intake, eat smart, heart-healthy foods, and use the right vitamins to keep your body going. Using the right supplements is smart, and make sure you use one that has vitamin B12. Here’s why: as you get older, your body has a harder time extracting B12 from the foods you eat. You need B12 for healthy blood cells and nerves, and to produce DNA.
Cut way back on your salt. A good target is no more than 1500 mg or less per day, which equals about ½ teaspoon. Skip processed foods, and cook meals yourself. Use herbs instead of salt – they’ll add more flavor, and many contain anti-cancer agents and are high in antioxidants.
Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, to help prevent osteoporosis. Women over 50 are at much higher risk for developing osteoporosis, and need to eat foods that are rich in calcium like spinach, broccoli, kale, low-fat yogurt, sardines, and others. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is why it’s critical to have it in your diet.
Menopause puts women at a higher risk for heart disease. What can help is eating a Mediterranean diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fruits, and a moderate amount of wine. This diet will not only help to prevent heart disease, it will help with cancer prevention as well.
Tips for everyone
For both men and women, fitness plays a critical role in staying healthy over 50, and one of the biggest keys in fitness as you age is flexibility. The more flexible you are at 50, the more flexible you’ll be at 60 and 70. You don’t want to find yourself in a position to have to have someone help assist you out of a chair, or be unable to get down on the floor with a grandchild.
Establish an exercise program that you’re not only comfortable doing, but also one that you can keep on doing. The main thing is to create a program that’s sustainable. If you’re too ambitious developing your program, you won’t want to exercise as frequently as you need to do.
Take things slow – if you jump in with both feet too fast, you’ll have trouble maintaining your program. Here’s another tip – vary your exercises. Cross training not only helps develop all of your muscle groups, it helps keep your interest day after day. Nothing cuts a program short like boredom, and by varying your exercises you’ll avoid the top mistake people make.
Because diet plays such an important role in your health as you turn 50, it may be a good idea to start keeping a “food journal “ It will help track your calories, as well as help you discover certain eating patterns, like eating too many processed foods or carbohydrates. You’ll also be able to see if you’re meeting your goals of eating a well-balanced diet.
Here’s another tip you probably didn’t think of – get more sleep. The older you get, the less sleep you get each night. And you need good sleep to prevent a hormonal imbalance and to keep your brain working properly. Eight hours a night should be your goal, so go to bed and wake up at the same time every day,
Finally, do things you enjoy doing! If you love pets, get a dog. You’ll find yourself walking more than you ever did before. If you love to travel, do it. Keep yourself stimulated, happy and enjoy life. You’ll stay healthier, and live longer!