Staying healthy and active after 50 can be hard – but now is the time to really take care of yourself.
From the foods you eat and how you exercise, to how you keep your mind stimulated, there is so much you can do to keep yourself healthy. These tips can help you maintain your physical and mental health, allowing you to live life to the fullest!
Sharpening the Mind
With significant changes occurring in your life, you might be feeling a loss of purpose and identity. Spending time each day practising mindfulness can help to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and prevent cognitive decline while improving memory, creativity and attention. It’s important to keep your brain as healthy and active as your body and the more you use and sharpen your mind, the more benefits you will get as you get older.
Here are some activities that can get your mind active and engaged:
Reading is something we can enjoy no matter how old we are. It’s always exciting and interesting to pick up that book you’ve been dying to read. Our imagination is able to run free, taking us on journeys to other worlds. Not only is reading a great way to relax, but it also increases three types of intelligence:
- Fluid Intelligence helps you detect patterns
- Crystallised Intelligence which aids in problem-solving skills, and
- Emotional Intelligence helps you identify and respond to others’ emotions.
Apps, either on your phone or another device, are a great way to help keep your brain healthy. Whether you are playing games like Candy Crush or Words With Friends or using an app like Lumosity that is designed to keep you mentally active, apps are of great assistance for your mental health.
There are so many ways to keep your mind sharp and brain games are an easy way to do it. An online course that is designed to train your mind and improve memory is an excellent way to prevent brain ageing. Crosswords, Sudoku and word searches are also beneficial and are really fun as well.
Learn Something New/Different
Now is the time to learn that language you’ve always wanted to, or learn to play that instrument that you’ve never had time for. Learning something new is a great way to keep yourself occupied and sharpen the mind at the same time. There is growing evidence to suggest that learning a new language is beneficial in the fight against dementia.
Getting out amongst nature, even if it is in your own backyard, is a great hobby that can improve your brainpower. Gardening is a known stress reliever and is generally very enjoyable. As an added bonus, you will be healthier by growing your own fruit and vegetables. If you’re unsure how to get started, Youtube is a great tool. You can watch thousands of videos showing and explaining how to do the things you are interested in.
Crafts are not only fun, but they can do wonders in improving your brainpower. Painting and drawing let you exercise your imagination, or you could try something a little more challenging like origami or sculpting. No matter what you choose, you will be having fun while sharpening your mind at the same time.
Keep Your Body Active
An active lifestyle is essential for your health as you get older. Daily activity improves physical and mental health, both of which can help you to maintain your independence as you age. Exercising can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and high blood pressure.
The benefits of exercise do not have to involve exhausting workouts or trips to the gym. Find a type of exercise you like and that motivates you and incorporate it into your daily routine. Take a walk with a friend along the beach, go swimming, join a yoga class or simply incorporate exercise into your routine, by walking or biking somewhere that you usually drive to.
Eating a well-balanced diet is also an important part of staying healthy as you get older. The risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis can be lowered by healthy eating. To make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes foods from each of the five major food groups.
Try to eat fresh foods and stay away from processed products with artificial ingredients. It’s important to avoid foods with a high amount of salt and sugar in them as well as alcohol and caffeine.
Tools for Soul Searching – Which Direction?
It can be difficult to find a new purpose in life as you’re getting older. You’re retired or in the process of retiring, your children may have moved out of home and you’re settling into a quiet and relaxed life. There are so many counsellors and online resources and apps that can help you focus on the important things in your life. Each person’s journey is different, but here are some tools to help you start thinking about how to move forward and in which direction:
Get Involved in the Community
Attending a local event or even volunteering to help at one is a great way to find meaning and purpose in your life. This is a great way to help and support something you’re passionate about.
It doesn’t have to be far. Go somewhere new and exciting for the weekend. Go somewhere that you’ve dreamed about and have the time of your life.
A gratitude journal is a great way to recognise the positive things in your life. Simply writing down one thing you are grateful for every day will change your mindset and make you focus on what’s really important to you.
Whatever you decide to do, it should be a result of some deep soul searching so that you are comfortable with the path you are on.