Sport and Health

How to stay healthy in your 50s and Beyond

Your 50s are often an age when you start to have more time for yourself, as your kids grow up, gain independence and leave home. It’s also a time when you start to notice the physical signs of ageing, so it’s a great idea to devote some of that extra time to adopting lifestyle changes that ensure you stay fit and healthy.

Here are a few tips to looking after yourself in your 50s.

Be active
Exercise helps to prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density in your 50s – but you don’t have to sweat it out at the gym! Take regular walks, go ballroom dancing, play golf or tennis, go for a swim, or try yoga or tai chi. If you haven’t already been exercising regularly, start slowly and build up to the recommended 150 minutes a week. New research suggests that even if it’s done in increments of just a few minutes at a time, any exercise is still beneficial. Note: Remember to speak to your GP before you start a new form of exercise.

Eat well
Your digestion slows down in your 50s, so be sure to eat plenty of fibre and foods like leafy greens, fish, whole grains and fruits. Healthy fats like those found in avocado, salmon, yoghurt and olive oil are good for you, but you should avoid saturated and trans fats along with too much salt. Ensure you get enough calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong. Other nutrients that are important in your 50s are vitamin B12, omega-3 and potassium.

Get your eyes checked regularly
Usually, the first physical sign of ageing is that your eyesight starts to change, especially in your 50s. Regular eye tests are important not only to ensure your vision is correctly adjusted but also to check for other conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration. An eye test can also alert you to conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Learn new things
Not only is learning a new skill or hobby great for your mental health, but it may also help to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of age-related dementia. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a language or an instrument – now’s a perfect time!

Take naps
Did you know that taking a short nap can help to enhance your memory, improve your heart health, reduce your stress levels, boost your mood, strengthen your immune system and sharpen your senses? Just be sure not to nap so long that it interferes with your night-time sleep – 20 minutes is the maximum recommended duration.

Look after your skin
As you age, your skin tends to get thinner and drier. Protect it from UV damage with a good sunscreen. Whether you prefer a shower or a bath, make sure you don’t soak for too long and that the water isn’t too hot, or it will dry your skin out more. Use a rich lotion or body butter directly after bathing to lock moisture in.

Get a regular physical
While your health risks increase as you age, many conditions can be prevented or managed better if you catch them early. Ideally, meet with your doctor once a year (or as recommended) for a thorough check-up, and keep up with any recommended screening such as colonoscopies, mammograms, skin checks and prostate exams.

The health information is provided for general information and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health advice. Before taking any action based upon such information, Grandparents NZ encourages you to consult with the appropriate medical and healthcare professionals. Furthermore, Grandparents NZ does not provide any kind of health advice or accept any responsibility for any decision/s made by any reader or reader/s or any other person/s as a result of relying on or applying any information on the Grandparents NZ website.

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