Healthy Living In Your 50s & Beyond


Published: August 5, 2014

Youthfulness is about how you live, not when you were born. – Karl Lagerfeld

Welcome to part five of our series, Reinventing Your Health at Any Age. We began with an overview of the three fundamentals of healthy living, followed by articles on living well in your twenties, thirties, and forties. This week our focus is on being your best in your fifties and beyond.

Fifty is no longer the age to wind down and allow the younger generations to steal the spotlight. When a woman hits her fabulous fifties, she still has all of her potential to shine as long as she nurtures her body through wise health and lifestyle choices. Now is the time to take life by the reins and shape the years ahead of you – in more ways than one. Like everything else in life, it all comes down to mastering your state of mind and opening your eyes to invaluable advice.

The evolution of life is a beautiful thing. Throughout each decade, changes occur which require new requirements for keeping your body the best it can be. Change is also a theme of your 50s, as menopause typically occurs around this time. Consider viewing menopause as a reminder to take even better care of yourself from here on out. You are self-assured now, comfortable in your skin and poised for the next chapters to unfold.


Be a body in motion

Not only are specific types of exercise vital for keeping your body in shape in your fifties – they also offer numerous protective health benefits. Due to the ebb and flow of hormones, post-menopausal women may become prone to thinning of the bones, breast cancer and a variety of diseases, as well as weight gain and depression. But exercise helps to lower your risk for all of these conditions.

Keep your heart up and invest in some daily aerobic exercise – swimming, brisk walking, and cycling are all great choices. Longtime Hollywood fitness expert Kathy Smith recommends four to six sessions of 20- to 40-minute cardiovascular activity a week for all fifty-somethings. Resistance training is also hugely beneficial for helping to maintain muscle tone, which gradually diminishes as you age. Pilates and weight-bearing activities are perfect for helping to define your silhouette.

Make gentle tweaks to your lifestyle which will then grow into instinctive habits. Walk as much as possible at a brisk pace and focus on your posture. Years of being hunched over a desk or computer may have caused your shoulders to slump. Focus on engaging your abdominal muscles and holding your shoulders back. Lift your head up high to create the tallest version of yourself possible. Not only will you appear slimmer and more poised, but you will actively tone your body as you stand tall.

“The best predictor of how well the brain copes with age is the amount of exercise you get,” asserts neurologist Dr. Schneider. A recent study found that engaging in frequent physical activity, such as brisk walking, in midlife and beyond significantly reduces your risk of dementia as the years roll by. The women who walked every day were 70 percent less likely to have developed cognitive decline eight years on than the inactive women. Need any more incentive to get moving?

Go beyond skin deep

At fifty and beyond, there has never been a better time to go green. Green leafy vegetables need to make a regular appearance in your daily diet, as their abundance of vitamin K and magnesium make them a structural support squad for your bones. Not only do they keep your skeleton happy – they also nourish your skin, helping to promote radiance, clarity and youthful elasticity.

Your fifties also call for regular refills of good bacteria. Replenishing your gut flora is essential to gastrointestinal function and powering up your immune system. Think frequent top-ups of sauerkraut, ogi, kunni, iru, lafun and ogiri, as well as slightly under-ripe bananas. A probiotic supplement supports your colon and immunity by sending new recruits to your inner ecosystem daily.

Get the inside information

You may fly through your fifties looking and feeling sprightly, but it is still important to keep a keen eye on your internal environment. Speak to your doctor about medical tests specific to your personal health history. Besides adding health- and brain-boosting habits to your lifestyle, make sure to add the medical exams recommended for your age group:

  • Eye exam – every 2 to 4 years
  • Blood pressure – every 2 years
  • Pap smear and pelvic exam – every 1 to 3 years
  • Thyroid – every 5 years
  • Mole check – every year
  • Mammogram – every 1 to 2 years
  • Blood glucose – every 3 years
  • HIV screening – every 2 years

We hope you have enjoyed Radiant Health’s five-part series on living well at any age. You can find links to all of the previous articles here: twenties (20s), thirties (30s), forties (40s).

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