Ways to be Preventative About Your Health in Your 50s

By on August 6, 2017

By Corinne Keating–

As you age, you’ll notice your energy levels shifting, and your bones feel like they creak more than ever. A three-mile run was once no problem, but now you’re panting for air. Have you lost track of good habits with diet and exercise? Now is the time to nurture your mind, body and spirit for better health in the long run.

Once you reach your fifties, you must begin taking preventative measures regarding your health. Good and bad habits you developed in your 30s and 40s will affect your risk for various diseases and conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight and Regular Screenings

Most people have a little extra weight than they may like but are hopefully maintaining a healthy weight. Remember to get your annual checkup with your primary care doctor, including weight, heart rate and more. Describe any changes in your health that you are experiencing to keep your doctor informed.

Maintain other regular screenings, such as for breast cancer and high blood pressure. For example, it’s good to check cholesterol levels every four to six years, unless you have a history of heart disease in the family. Then, you want to check your levels more regularly.

Be Aware of Your Family Medical History

Pay attention to older relatives, especially parents and grandparents, look how their health was as they aged. Does cancer, heart disease, diabetes or arthritis run in the family? Ask for copies of your medical records from childhood as well as from your primary physician. Do you know your blood type? It’s time to find that out, if you don’t.

Symptoms may not show up now, but they may later, especially if you keep up with bad habits. If you’re a regular smoker, for example, you have an increased risk of coronary heart disease, and many of these symptoms may stem from childhood if you were sedentary. If you’re prone to osteoporosis, increase your magnesium and calcium intake, especially past age 30. Keep up those regular screenings and do your best to curb those bad habits that boost disease risk.

Check Your Eyes and Ears

Don’t forget to get your eyes and ears checked regularly. Your eyesight and hearing begin to deteriorate with age, and though it may not become noticeable right now, other damage and sudden sensory loss is possible. You don’t want to be one of the 48 million Americans, for example, who suffer from hearing loss, some of which are due to an autoimmune disorder. Be proactive by having your eyes and ears checked. 

Eat Well to Keep Your Metabolism Up + Gut Happy

The secret to a healthy metabolism is the combination of diet and exercise. Depending on your activity level, it’s a good idea to estimate your caloric intake based on age and activity level, usually falling between 1600 to 2400 calories. For example, a moderately active woman would need 2,000 calories daily to maintain a healthy energy balance.

Eating fiber-rich food will help kick your metabolism into gear, such as whole grain bread and pasta and oatmeal. Nurture your gut health by eating and drinking fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt and kombucha, or you may take a probiotic supplement with a complete daily vitamin. Don’t forget to eat your fruits and leafy greens! Meat and bread are good, but your body loves fruits and veggies, too.

By practicing preventative health measures in your fifties, your longevity and wellness increases, and your disease risk decreases. Maintain a healthy weight with exercise and diet, get regular screenings and be aware of family medical history. 

These things will keep your body healthy and happy, including a robust metabolism and a happy gut. Wellness starts from the inside out.

Corinne Keating is a health columnist who enjoys reading, hiking, and writing for her bog Why So Well

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Ways to be Preventative About Your Health in Your 50s