Stay fit after 50
May be you didn't have the healthiest habits in your 30s and 40s, ate too much and exercised too little. But changing your lifestyle in your 60s and beyond, can still make a big difference. Exercising more and eating healthier can lower the risk of heart problems, cancer, and bone fractures even now. You really can be healthier and more fit now than when you were 30.
Exercise to slash your Alzheimer's risk
You have to get moving to keep your mind sharp as you get old. Regular exercise in middle age can lower your risk of memory and thinking problems when you're older by almost half. Exercise boosts blood flow to your brain and helps new cells grow there. Just 30 minutes of walking, biking, or even gardening 5 days a week can make a difference.
Protect your joints
Getting older doesn't mean you have to give up your morning run. People used to think running would wreck their knees. But new research suggests it might actually strang then muscles, support your joints, and lessen pain. But if you have arthritis or damaged joints, running could be too much. So choose low-impact activities like walking or biking instead.
Aerobic exercise is important, but don't forget to build your muscles, too. One study on regular strength training in seniors found that it caused genetic changes in cells and their muscles became more like those of people in their 20s.
Stay on balance
Having good balance is one of the best ways to prevent a fall and potentially serious injuries. Make these exercises part of your day - Stand on one foot or walk heel-to-toe as if you were walking on a beam. The gentle, dance-like movements of Tai Chi and Vinyasa Yoga are other helpful options. Older people who stick with tai chi for 6 months can cut their risk of a fall in half.
Make smarter food choices
As you get older, your metabolism slows down and you need fewer calories. Choose foods packed with the nutrients you need. Eat dark leafy greens and colourful fruits and vegetables. Increase low-fat dairy to get calcium for bones. Fortified foods like cereals with vitamin B12 and milk with vitamin D can help, too. Cut down on empty calories from sugary drinks and sweets.
Eat healthy fats
Saturated fats are bad for your arteries and heart health and can also harm your concentration and memory. So cut down on the red meat, butter, and other such foods. Instead, add more fatty fish and fats from plants, like flaxseed and nuts.
Blood pressure tends to rise as we get older. Since sodium can drive your readings up, cut down on salt in your diet. The worst sources are premade and packaged foods. Even bread and rolls can also have a lot of salt.
For a natural remedy, eat a banana, the potassium will lessen the effect of sodium in your diet and keep your blood pressure lower.
Get a fuller picture of your health by trying a wearable fitness tracker, logging the food you eat onto a smartphone app, or using gadgets like a home blood pressure monitor. You'll learn new ways to improve your health and chart your progress.
Instead of sticking with what's familiar and comfortable, surprise yourself by tackling something new. Go to out of the ordinary places. Make new friends. Learn a musical instrument or a language. New experiences will build new pathways in your brain, keeping your mind healthy as you age. They'll also expand your options for finding excitement and happiness.
Spend more time with friends or family. It can help keep your mind keen. Social people have sharper thinking and a much lower risk of memory problems as they age. Or try volunteering, it's linked with a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life. Don't wait until you retire to start. Studies show that the earlier you begin, the less likely you are to have health problems later.
You might need a little less sleep these days than you used to.But if you're getting less than 7 hours a night, or feel worn out during the day, something's wrong. Insomnia isn't a normal part of getting older. Seek treatment if you have an underlying problem like depression or anxiety; it can help you sleep soundly again.
Enjoy the rewards of age
The older people get, the more content and satisfied they are. People in their 80s report being more satisfied than people in their 70s. So look forward to the future. It could be a time of great happiness.
Written by Shamima Akhtar Tulee
Owner at Combat GYM, Ladies section