Aging well is all about forming habits that are good for you, like regular exercise and a healthy diet. A healthy lifestyle should be a lifelong pursuit, but after age fifty, it’s especially important to maintain healthy habits to keep you strong and active longer. If you’re not sure where to start, try these seven habits to stay fit after 50.
A yearly physical is the easiest healthy habit to form, because you only have to do it once a year! You may be tempted to skip your yearly appointment if you feel fine, but routine screenings by your doctor may catch a health risk before it becomes a problem.
After age 50, men are at an increased risk for colon cancer, so you should get a yearly colonoscopy. If you’re at risk, your doctor may recommend screening at an earlier age.
After age 50, men lose testosterone at a faster rate. Lowered testosterone levels can result in a loss of muscle mass. So resistance training at least three days a week is important to maintaining lean muscle. Resistance training can be done in the gym with free weights or resistance bands, or even using your own body weight.
Make sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine; if you experience any pain during exercise, stop and evaluate the pain. To eliminate the pain, you may need to modify your routine. Want more tips on exercising over 50? Check out our article on baby boomer fitness tips.
It is recommended that all healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. That can be just 20 minutes each day! Walking is a great introduction to cardio exercise. Start with just 15 to 20 minutes, and increase the amount of time when you feel comfortable. If your doctor clears you, you might add in interval training, which can help burn more calories if you’re trying to lose weight.
Steer Clear of Sodium
We know that good nutrition matters in disease prevention. Too much sodium in your diet can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. When cooking at home, try to flavor foods with other spices and avoid adding salt to meals. Be aware of high-sodium foods, like canned vegetables, soy sauce and some deli meats.
Try to purchase low-sodium products, and if using canned veggies, rinse them before cooking to reduce their sodium content.
Cut Back on Fat
A premium cut of prime rib is delicious, but too much fat can increase your risk of several health problems. Avoid trans fats, found in many processed foods, and cut back on saturated fats, which can be found in most dairy products, red meat and other animal products.
Instead, stick to lean proteins and healthy fats in your diet. Chicken, fish and turkey bacon are all examples of healthy lean proteins. Healthy fats include avocados and olive oil. While healthy fats do have many health benefits, these should also be used in moderation.
Eat Complex Carbs Earlier
Complex carbohydrates can be found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. After 50, men’s bodies retain fat more easily, making it harder to get rid of later. When you eat complex carbs earlier in the day, you’ll have plenty of time to burn them off later.
Drink More Water
While everyone’s body is different, aim for at least a half gallon of water per day. After 50, we can feel less thirsty, so it’s important to maintain water intake, even if you don’t feel thirsty. One way to get in the habit of drinking more water is to always keep a full bottle with you. Another is to drink 20 ounces of water with each meal, which will help keep you from overeating and aid in digestion.
Aging well is a lifelong process. With these healthy habits, you’ll stay strong, active and fit well after 50.
To learn more about healthy aging, download our guide and included fitness tracker and sample meal plan today.