Health & Longevity for over fifties

Are you over fifty? Are you considering winding down to retirement? Are you really? We heard it said that fifty is the new thirty. In reality, people are living longer lives and in better health. Nowadays, you can easily access health care and professional advice for your health and well-being for longevity. 

 

Your fifties can be a period of great enjoyment. Your mortgage might be paid; the children may be at college or married and left home. Maybe you are retired or only need to work part-time so you have the money to enjoy your life with financial and personal freedom. 

 

It is never too late to positively change your life. Most of us know someone who has lost a loved one in their early fifties, or younger. Whilst this loss is tragic, in most cases, these early deaths could have been preventable with a measure of forward thinking and an active plan on improving health. This article presents a case for making the best of being over fifty.

 

What Kind of Exercise Should Someone In Their 50’s Do?

 

It will come as no surprise that we discuss exercise for health. A healthy life is an active life. To be healthy, you don’t have to be super slim but you do need to commit to a form of movement every day. Doctors and health practitioners suggest that sitting for long periods is unhealthy.

As we age, our bodies become less flexible, so sitting for long periods can ‘freeze up’ our hip-flexors which when they get tight, create other issues in our bodies.

You may experience niggling pains in your back or sore leg muscles, stiff neck and shoulders or sore feet. This you may attribute to getting older but in the majority of instances, lack of movement is the reason for these pains.

When you were a child, you moved your body laterally. You ran and waved your arms around as you played fun games with your friends. Sadly as an adult, the lateral movement diminishes.

But, as we said earlier, it is never too late; there are many forms of exercise that will contribute to your wellness. Yoga is fantastic for restoring flexibility and movement to joints and muscles.

Dependent on what form of yoga you choose to do, you will develop core strength and mobility.  Yoga may not be your first choice, but there are other activities to choose from. Commit to a short walk each day and gradually increase the distance.

You can buy a pair of ski/walking poles and use your shoulders to build lateral mobility of your upper body. In time, as you gain fitness, you may want to start jogging. Cross-country running is easier on the joints than pounding round the roads.

You may find exercising a challenge but soon you will come to enjoy the euphoria of well-being associated with the endorphin release you get from taking part in exercise.

What Are The Most Healthy Foods to Eat?

We aren’t going to recommend a particular diet but the general principles are to reduce the intake of processed foods and reduce sugar intake. Reduce saturated fats and drop trans fats.

Eat plenty of fibre and foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids. Eat wholemeal bread, pasta and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Cut back on red meats if possible and replace with fish.   If you eat healthily this will look after your heart, increase your energy and reduce inflammation in your body.

 

To Quit or Not To Quit Smoking, That Isn’t The Question…

 

Cigarette smoking accounts for a large proportion of major illnesses experienced by the over fifties, especially lung cancer and lower respiratory diseases. At this age, focusing on the quality of your life is important because your health will play a major role in how active you can be.

Your health is everything because once you lose it, you will find it harder to engage in the things that you want to do. We appreciate that it’s not easy to give up smoking but it might be the best thing that you can do to increase your chances of greater longevity.

Moderate Drinking

Doctors suggest that men and women should restrict alcohol to less than 14 units a week. This is a glass of wine a day or 2 pints of beer a day. Alcohol has many toxins which means that the liver has to work hard.

Alcohol has ‘empty’ calories, a high proportion of sugar that will be stored as fat in the body. If you regularly drink to excess then this can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

When you were young, your body adapted to drinking excess alcohol occasionally, but as you age, it becomes harder for the body to cope and you end up with potentially life threatening diseases.

One Thing Most People Forget: Staying Social

 

It is important to stay connected to people. Spend time with friends and family. Take up a hobby that interests you.

You will stay mentally active by engaging with others and it will aid in a positive mental approach to life. Try to arrange lunch or coffee with a friend at least once a week and organise regular trips out to new places.

Think of broadening your horizons, planning for days out or longer trips. If you have lost a partner, this is particularly important but even as a couple you will benefit from getting out for periods during each day and meeting others.

It can be too tempting to stay confined to the house. Rejuvenate your relationship through exploration and friendships with others and develop a new zest for life.

How Important Are Sleep and Rest?

 
 

As you move into your fifties, you may notice that you are tired more often. As a woman, you may be experiencing pre menopause or be menopausal. The changes in hormones can create feelings of exhaustion that can be hard to manage.

For men, whilst they don’t  experience the hormonal issues, they may still find that they tire more than they used to when younger. Learn to listen to your body and go to bed earlier and get a good night’s sleep. If you are tired during the day, close your eyes for half an hour or so and take the rest that your body needs.

It is pointless to resist these feelings of tiredness, indeed, if you do resist, you end up feeling worse. Give your body what it needs when it needs it and you will have more energy.

What’s The Best Way For Over 50’s To Lose Weight?

Excess weight is a stress on your body. If you have been overweight for a while, you may find that your joints are sore and painful. The health risks associated with being overweight can restrict your life in as far as the activities that you can do. With obesity, you are risking a narrowing of the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the heart. That in itself presents you with a plethora of health risks…

Obesity puts you at risk of the following diseases:-

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis or other joint issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Certain cancers are linked to obesity
  • Gallbladder disease

You may notice that you find it harder to move around physically. If you are obese, this may be due to painful joints that are out of alignment by the excess weight. 

 

This is potentially life shortening, and significantly affecting, the enjoyment of your life. Unless you take action, it may become worse from the adverse effects of the extra weight.

 

Our advice is to consult with your doctor. With a multitude of fad diets on the market, appealing to our desperate need to reduce our weight, it’s preferable to take professional advice before you make a plan to lose the weight. 

 

After getting a health check, we recommend joining a weight loss class. You will find it helpful to work with instructors that can mentor and guide you to a healthy weight based on sensible eating and progressive exercise.

 

How To Reduce Stress & The Effects Of Stress Over The Years

 

Unhealthy stress can create a myriad of issues with your health. Long-term stress can cause debilitating health concerns such as:-

  • Adrenal Fatigue – where the adrenals become depleted from being constantly over-worked
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
 

We cannot list every possible health issue that can arise from stress because it could fill these pages. The main criterion is that you find a positive way to manage and reduce your stress. Sadly, we live in a world that conditions us to attach importance to doing, reacting and being busy. 

 

Mindfulness is a powerful way to bring your attention into the moment. Over time and with practice, meditation and mindfulness teach you how to choose your reactions more purposefully. In our experience, a problem is best solved from a position of calm than from a place of panic.

 

You won’t need to sit staring at a candle for hours chanting ‘OM’. Mindful practice such as yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Pilates will help to still your mind. If this doesn’t appeal, take time each day to sit quietly and focus your thoughts. This quiet time will give your mind and body a rest. If you can manage to do this a few times each day, in a few weeks, you will notice that your stress is less consuming.

 

Discover New Hobbies

 

It is exciting to find out how much fun you can have or discover untapped creativity. Perhaps you always wanted to play golf, or learn to fly a plane or maybe you are eager to learn how to create floral displays, bake cakes, rebuild car engines or fly a kite!

There is no end to the list of potential hobbies that you can explore. Join a hobby group where others share your interest, make time to do the things you don’t know if you can do but want to try.  It doesn’t matter how many hobbies you take up and drop because eventually you will find one that you enjoy and want to continue.

Life Choices for Over 50’s

 

Have you seen the film ‘The Bucket List’? The film features Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

They are in the same room in hospital with terminal illnesses. Although different characters they are drawn together by the fact that they are going to die.

One of the men, I recall it was Jack, suddenly decides that he has had enough of lying in a hospital bed and so, comes up with a bucket list of things that he wants to do, places that he wants to visit, before he dies.

Together, Jack and Morgan work their way through their lists, including jumping out of an aeroplane and travelling round the world! They both had fun but then Morgan takes a turn for the worst and dies.

The message is to seize the day. Why wait? Do it now. Do it whilst you can.It’s a time for great choices. Do it whilst you are healthy. Do it whilst you and your family and/or friends can enjoy it together. Live your life to the full.

Finances for 50-something & How it can affect your health!

 

It would be remiss of us to not mention the important of finances for the over fifties.  We know you want to be able to enjoy a few luxuries, revel in your free time and gain new experiences. You don’t want to worrying about money. You may agree it is a discussion for planning and talked over with you loved ones.

It is important to have a will (see our will writing services) so that, should the worst happen, your loved ones are cared for, as you want them to be. We recommend writing a will as soon as you are able because you can change it at any time. With a will in place, it successfully removes potential worries or doubts if you did pass prematurely.

On a similar note, it may be beneficial to take out a prepaid funeral plan. With the rising cost of funerals, it can be a drain on your family if they need to find the funds to organise the funeral they want to give you to show how much they loved and cared for you. When you are fit and healthy, this might appear to be an unnecessary expense but a funeral package and a will covers the “what if’s” giving you and your family peace of mind so you can enjoy the things that matter.

Enjoy your fifties. In real terms, you are still young enough to enjoy your life to the maximum. Take care of your health and well-being and embrace each moment with gusto!

 

The contents of this article were submitted by an independent writer interested in Over 50’s health and do not represent the opinions of FuneralGuide.co.uk or it’s owners. If you have any comments or suggestion please email me directly matt@funeralguide.co.uk