5 Ways to Stay Healthy in Your 50s
If you’ve reached your 50s, you’ve likely had days where you didn’t feel so young. Noticing a few aches and pains, facing new health concerns, or even watching parents age may be causing you to focus on your own health. Even if you weren’t vigilant about diet and exercise in your 30s and 40s, it’s not too late to take measures that can keep you fit and healthy as you enter your sixth decade of life. Try focusing on these five areas.
1. Maintain Muscle Mass
After the age of 35, our bodies drop an average of five percent of muscle mass every ten years. Consuming plenty of protein and engaging in resistance training are two ways to help you maintain muscle mass and strength.
- Protein-rich foods include poultry, red meat, fish, dairy, nuts, beans, and legumes. Need some cooking inspiration? Try some of these healthy, high-protein recipes from Real Simple.
- Resistance training can include dumbbells, resistance bands, or even your own body weight. If you are new to these types of exercises, check out this article from Self that shows you eight basic strength exercises for beginners.
2. Boost Your Balance
Finding ways to improve your balance lowers your risk of a fall. Yoga, pilates, and tai chi are all good ways to build your capacity for balance as well as increase your flexibility. If you are new to yoga, you may want to start with chair yoga.
Many fitness studios and exercise apps offer livestream or on-demand classes. YMCA members can access exercise videos through YMCA 360. You can also find many free exercise videos on YouTube.
3. Protect Your Heart and Your Mind
Some of the measures that can improve your heart health also help lower your risk of dementia. Eating healthy fats, following a Mediterranean diet, and getting regular exercise have all been shown to improve both heart and mind health.
- Fatty fish, nuts, and flaxseed are all good sources of healthy fats.
- Several studies have shown the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate wine consumption, and olive oil.
- Regular exercise boosts blood flow to your brain and helps lower cholesterol levels. Try walking, playing tennis, or gardening for 30 minutes a day, five times a week.
4. Keep Your Joints Healthy
One of the best things you can do to keep your joints pain-free is to shed any extra pounds. Extra weight puts stress on your knees. Losing one pound of body weight can take 10 pounds of pressure off of your knees. Research has also shown that losing as little as 11 pounds may cut your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50 percent.
Regular stretching and low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or biking can strengthen the tendons and muscles that surround your joints, adding stability and power.
5. Self-Care and Support
Reducing stress is also vital to health. Many people in their 50s find themselves taking care of aging parents while still having children at home. Making time to take care of yourself, engage in hobbies, and spend time with others (even if it’s virtually) are all factors that can lower stress.
If you’re not setting aside time for yourself, consider putting some time on your calendar for self-care. It may mean asking others for help or saying no, and while that may be hard, it will pay off in the long run.
Set Health Goals with Your Doctor
A primary care doctor can help you set health goals tailored to your individual needs and make sure you’re getting any necessary health screenings. The primary care team at LeBauer is ready to help you stay healthy in your 50s and beyond. Request an appointment online or contact the LeBauer office that is most convenient for your location.
Each LeBauer primary care office offers both virtual and in-person visits. We can help determine which type of visit best meets your health needs.