Healthstyle Blog

How To Achieve a Better Life in Your 50’s and Beyond

Italian actress Sophia Loren once said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.” Her assessment was spot on. In fact, research has shown that staying active and engaged—in mind as well as body—can keep us feeling and looking younger as well as enable us to truly enjoy our golden years. If you’re 50 or older, consider these exercise, general health and fitness suggestions to help you make the most of the decades to come.

 

Exercise

Staying active is essential, whether you’re in your 50s or your 70s, not only to preserve mobility and prevent bone and muscle loss but also to prohibit excess weight gain. One study found the average woman gains 12 pounds within eight years of menopause. Fortunately, exercise can help. Experts recommend continuing to do at least 30 minutes of cardio three times a week at moderate intensity. Additionally, if you have not yet started weight training, do it now. To reduce your chance of injury—and make sure you’re getting the most from every workout—learn proper weight lifting form from a personal trainer. Then complete three 30-minute sessions a week.

 

General Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of breast cancers occur after the age of 50. Annual mammograms are essential. If a monthly breast self-exam reveals any changes, you should also notify your doctor immediately. In addition, consider your breast cancer risks before starting hormone replacement therapy. If you have had abnormalities in the past—or have a family history of breast cancer—you will want to weigh the pros and cons carefully with your physician.

 

Colon cancer also becomes more common as we age. You should have your first colonoscopy shortly after you turn 50. Repeat the test every 10 years or as directed by your doctor. For women, a DEXA scan to measure bone density is also important. In the five to seven years after menopause, a woman can lose 20 percent of her bone density according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

 

Nutrition

Thanks to a slowing metabolism, the average 50-year-old woman burns between 1,400 and 1,600 calories a day. To keep the pounds from creeping on, you’ll need to make adjustments to your diet. This may include continuing to reduce your caloric intake as well as making sure everything you eat is packed with healthy nutrition rather than added sugars and fats. Choose whole foods whenever possible—like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A bonus: research has shown people who regularly consume whole grains are as much as 40 percent less likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

 

You may need to add in more supplements. After the age of 50, your body starts to lose its ability use nutrients as well as it did in your younger years. Calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D are of particular importance—without them, you’ll feel tired and lethargic. Your bones will actually become weaker, and your body will have a harder time burning fat as well. Look for a daily multivitamin specifically designed for women over 50 to ensure you get the extra nutrients your body needs.

To help with exercise and nutrition consider joining the smooth movement. Information on the next Smooth Challenge coming soon.

 

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