Five healthy habits for men aged 50 and older

October 04, 2018

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When men hit 50, they should adjust their lifestyle.

Your family and future self will thank you for adopting healthy habits.

Men, let’s face it, if you haven’t done it by age 50, you’re probably not going to play centerfield for the Mariners, break four minutes in the mile, or be named sexiest man alive. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s better to accept it and move gracefully into the next stage of life than to imagine you can jump off the couch and school the kids on the nearest basketball court. 

So, with your feet grounded in reality and your eye on a healthy future, consider these five healthy habits you can adopt after turning 50.

Exercise regularly, not just sporadically

Stop imagining you’re like those professional athletes on TV: Get outside or hit the gym yourself.

If you exercise occasionally, try to make it a daily routine. Make sure you’re doing a combination of aerobic and strength-building exercises. And don’t be discouraged if you can’t run as long or lift as much as you once did. The point is to build a healthy habit.

The National Institute for Aging promotes an exercise campaign it calls Go4Life. It recommends exercises that promote strength (chair dips, back leg raises), endurance (bicycling, using a treadmill), balance (Tai chi, heel-to-toe walking) and flexibility (thigh stretches, lower back stretches).

Check out more tips and helpful articles about exercise.

Get enough sleep

Don’t neglect your rest. It’s more important than you may think.

It’s commonly thought that people require less sleep as they age, but this is a myth, as the National Sleep Foundation points out. People need about the same amount of sleep when they’re older as they did when they were young, but their sleep patterns change. Most commonly, they have a harder time going to sleep and staying asleep than they once did.

Lots of things contribute to this, from medications to changes in circadian rhythms. Many are linked and can lead to problems. Hypertension, for example, contributes to snoring, which can cause obstructive sleep apnea, depression and heart failure.

If you’re not sleeping well, talk to your health care provider to see what you can do to change your patterns.

Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea:

Take care of your skin

You have noticed already, perhaps, your formerly taut, smooth skin has acquired some character — wrinkles, age spots or bruises that take longer to heal. This is perfectly normal, but as the National Institute on Aging points out, there are some things you should be doing to take good care of your skin. For example:
• Use sunscreen.
• Take fewer baths or showers, and remember warm water is less drying than hot water.
• Check your skin regularly for growths that grow, are irregularly shaped or changes color.

Eat a healthier diet

This is a tough one for those who still crave late night pizza and the occasional adult beverage. But the fact is, your metabolism changes and your body develops different needs as it ages. 

In the older adults section of Choose My Plate site, the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes these recommendations, among others:
  • Season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Add sliced fruits and vegetables to your meals.
  • Drink three cups of skim or low-fat milk each day, or, if that’s a problem, try yogurt, hard cheese or lactose-free oods.
  • Eat foods fortified with Vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals.

Check out more tips and helpful articles about nutrition.

Drink plenty of water

Did you know that some people lose their sense of thirst as they get older? Nevertheless, their bodies still crave fluids. 

The National Institute on Aging suggests that people should consciously create routines to take in water during and between meals. Drink a full glass of water with medicine, for example, and take a drink of water before heading outside. Avoid sugary drinks. Remember, water restores your fluids without adding calories.

To discuss any of these issues with a Swedish health care provider, find one near you in our online directory.

If an older man or woman in your life needs help with cooking, cleaning, errands or yard work, Optimal Aging from Swedish can connect you with trustworthy service providers to help them maintain their independence.

 

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

Topics: Exercise, Men, Wellness