5 Tips to live a happy & healthy life in your 50’s & beyond
As a woman enters menopause she steps out of the primarily childbearing, nurturing role that was hormonally scripted for her. She now becomes freer to choose where she will direct her creative energies. Some women funnel this heightened energy into new businesses and new careers (I am on my third career change). Some discover and cultivate artistic talents they did not know they had. However it gets channelled, there is a wonderful sense of living from the inside out and focusing more on what YOUR needs are.
Ageing is a fact of life but you can have some control of how well you age. A healthy lifestyle can have a big impact on this, along with a positive outlook on life.
Are you ready to start living a happy and healthy life well into your 50’s and beyond? These 5 tips can help you to stay fit and healthy for years to come!
Tip #1 – Exercise for Stronger Bones and Muscles
As you age your hormones contribute to the decrease in your bone density and your muscle mass. The key is to focus on preserving and building your muscle mass as you age past forty.
According to an Australian study conducted in 2015, 35 % of females aged 15 and over were sedentary. This is one of the main reasons why osteoporosis has become so common. It is not the ageing process per se that causes bones to thin – it’s the fact that too many women slow down and stop using their muscles
Regular exercise can help to cut your risk factor of osteoporosis. Every major muscle in your body is attached to bone by tendons so when you use your muscles you affect your bones.
Any form of exercise is always going to be better than nothing but some types of exercise can be more beneficial in your 50’s and beyond.
Weight training and strength training play a crucial role in creating and maintaining healthy bones and muscles.
What is strength training?
- any exercise that uses some form of resistance to strengthen bones and build muscle
- hand-held weights, weight machines, resistance bands, resistance balls and even your own body weight
- Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi
What is weight training?
- a type of strength training that uses free weights or weight machines for resistance
- it’s been shown to slow down and even reverse bone loss as well as strengthening your muscles
If you’re worried about the impact of falls as you get older, you’ll definitely benefit from doing more of these types of exercises. As they help to strengthen the muscles and connective tissue around your bones, this can make you less likely to fall and less likely to break something if you do fall.
There’s another big benefit linked to regular exercise too … it can help to slow down the ageing process!
From a personal perspective, it’s also a great way to get fitter and stronger. Perfect for keeping up with younger members of the family and keeping your joints and muscles in good shape for the demands of day-to-day life.
Tip #2 – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? A lot of people feel as though they’re acting on autopilot as they get older. This isn’t always a conscious decision but it can mean that life isn’t as fulfilling as it could be.
How can you change this? One way is to start moving out of your comfort zone and to get involved in new experiences. This can build new pathways in your brain and is important for keeping your mind healthy and sharp as you get older.
How you do this is totally up to you. You could take up a new language, learn a new skill or hobby or even start a new career as I have done. This period of your life is a wonderful opportunity to do the things that you’ve always wanted to but never got a chance to do when you were younger. You might also decide to conquer a few fears while you move out of your comfort zone.
Why don’t you challenge yourself to give someone an outrageous compliment today?
Tip #3 – Overhaul Your Lifestyle
If there was room for improvement in your lifestyle in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, don’t worry!
It’s not too late to get on board with a healthier lifestyle, even if you were inactive and didn’t eat the most balanced diet in previous decades.
The important part is that you’re making changes now and reducing your risk factor for poor health in the future. Given that you’re at great risk of most health problems as you get older, getting more active, eating a healthier and more balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and reducing your stress levels can all play a major role in staying healthier for longer – even if you’re only starting now.
Tip #4 – Take Care of Your Brain Health
Many people worry about cognitive decline as they get older but it’s not an inevitable part of getting older.
What can you eat for better cognition? Some top choices include leafy green vegetables, blueberries and fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel. These have all been linked with slower cognitive decline and better memory, especially as you get older. Did you know that even dark chocolate is good for your brain health? This is why:
- it improves your focus, concentration and mood
- it stimulates endorphins
- generally, the darker the chocolate, the purer and better for your brain
According to studies, the Mediterranean diet can go a long way towards improving cognitive health.
Exercise is also great for brain health. In fact, studies have even suggested that exercise can reverse cognitive decline after 6 months!
Tip #5 – Think Positively About Getting Older
How you look at the ageing process can be important for your health and happiness. If you view it as an opportunity to acquire more wisdom and experience, it’ll be a lot easier to see the future in a positive light.
Accepting and even embracing the ageing process is a huge part of this. That’s not to say that you have to give up on looking gorgeous and sexy as you get older, but it can involve a change of focus.
Improving your fitness, moving away from unhealthy lifestyle habits and embracing health and happiness can be much more empowering than anti-ageing products.
Instituting these changes are a way for you to invest in your future and can make a difference in how fabulous you look and feel.
So pick just one small change that you can make this week, something that you know you can maintain long term and commit to that change.
Christiane Northrup, M.D. The Wisdom Of Menopause (Bantam Books 2012)
Originally posted on Enlighten My Health
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