Although you may not feel like it, you’re at the peak of your physical abilities in your 50s. However, if you don’t change your habits now, there’s a good chance you won’t be in the best shape later in life. If you have been leading an unhealthy lifestyle up until this point, you’ll want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself to maintain physical wellness and doing all that you can to maximize your health throughout this decade of life. Discover the physical activities and other things you can do to keep your body healthy and active, even as you age.
It’s easy to think of exercise as more of a chore than an opportunity for personal growth. But if you can get into it, regular workouts are one of your best weapons against a decline in health. Regular exercise is also key to developing new habits that will last for life. So consider moving up that daily walk or adding weight-training sessions at home into your weekly routine. Just check with your doctor before starting any new fitness routine—primarily if you haven’t worked out much lately or have other health conditions (i.e., high blood pressure).
One of the best things you can do for your health in your 50s is to quit smoking. Smoking limits blood flow diminishes oxygenation and affects every system in your body. If you do smoke yet, now is as good a time as starting (there’s never really a wrong time to stop). And if you are ready to break that habit for good, remember that quitting cold turkey might seem like an impossible feat—but it doesn’t have to be. Many medications and programs help smokers quit with more ease than one might think possible.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is an integral part of physical wellness in your 50s and is also one of the most important parts of aging well. A poor diet has an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. While it is tempting to overindulge at holiday parties or spend time cooking for your family on special occasions, it’s important to stay on track with a healthy diet year-round. By following these tips on maintaining a healthy diet throughout your 50s, you’ll lower your risk for chronic disease while still enjoying yourself at Thanksgiving dinner or birthday parties.
Get Enough Sleep
Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can affect a number of factors. You might have poor concentration, memory, and emotional control, and you’re also at greater risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, so make sure you set aside time to get enough rest. And don’t forget about naps! A quick 10-minute nap can help improve your alertness and learning ability by up to 34 percent.
Avoid Chronic Stress
Stress has a direct effect on your health. Studies have shown that stress can lead to serious chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. As you get older, it becomes even more important to avoid chronic stress. If you have time-consuming work demands or are dealing with complicated relationships at home or work, try new ways of reducing your stress. Many people find it helpful to engage in activities that help them relax and manage their stress levels more effectively.