5 Tips On How Men Can Stay Healthy After 50

Aging is an inevitable process. As time marches on, our bodies undergo natural changes, and our overall health and well-being start getting affected. We may no longer feel as energetic and strong as we did a couple of decades ago. Mornings might greet you with joints that feel a bit rigid and creaky, and doing simple tasks like opening a tight jar or bending down to tie your shoes may require an extra bit of effort. 

However, it doesn’t mean we’re headed for a downward spiral once we hit the big 5-0. There are plenty of things men over the age of 50  can do to stay physically and mentally fit well into their golden years. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are seven simple habits that men over 50 can start today to keep their bodies in tip-top shape.

  1. Regularly Schedule Screenings and Preventative Exams

Our bodies have a unique system of signaling if something’s wrong. However, the usual aches and physical challenges we face every day often overshadow these subtle signs and they go unnoticed. 

Various health issues, such as heart disease, liver issues, and peritoneal mesothelioma, start with minor symptoms, but the health condition progresses over time and may become life-threatening if left untreated. Some deadly carcinomas like peritoneal mesothelioma cancer develop slowly after a person is initially exposed to asbestos. Even some minor symptoms like abdominal pain may not appear until ten to fifty years of first exposure. By that time, the malignancy had already spread to other organs in the abdomen. 

Regular screening, early diagnosis, and treatment is the only way to increase life expectancy and rule out the presence of serious health problems. This is why healthcare providers emphasize getting regular screenings for men over the age of 50. Your healthcare provider will regularly check your vitals and schedule screenings or preventive exams. These scans will help them diagnose health issues early on and devise treatment plans. 

  1. Make Prostate Health a Priority

All men are at risk of developing a variety of prostate problems at any age, but the probability increases when they enter their 50s. On average, 50% of men aged 50 and above experience an enlarged prostate, and issues related to the prostate tend to increase in severity during the later stages of life. These problems may include:

  • Urine incontinence
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Dribbling after urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Cancancerous growth or prostate gland
  • Prostate cancer

Besides general checkups and screening, stay vigilant for any prostate-related symptoms and make prostate cancer screening a priority. Moreover, some simple lifestyle changes can help you maintain prostate health and prevent some serious issues down the road. These lifestyle changes include:

  • Eating a balanced, low-animal-fat, and low-carb diet. 
  • Replacing plain carbs with complex carbs.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Maintaining a healthy BMI.
  1. Stay Hydrated 

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but staying hydrated is extremely important for your health in countless ways. For men over 50, adequate hydration is especially important. It not only boosts your prostate health but also lowers the chances of developing obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes. Water also helps strengthen your muscles, keep your kidneys healthy, and maintain a clear skin. If you follow a fitness routine, then water intake is essential to avoid burnout, fatigue, cramps, or muscle irritability.

Sometimes, what we perceive as hunger may actually be thirst. So keep a water bottle up close and take a sip whenever you feel puckish. If plain water feels difficult to swallow all too often, you can always add a little bit of lime, mint, lemon, berries, cucumber, or even watermelon chunks to pump in some flavor. Ditch sodas, sports beverages, or sugary juices with sparkling water alternatives that can help you curb your soda habit. 

Consuming 8-10 glasses of plain water a day is a must. However, if you follow a rigorous workout routine, talk to your physician to determine your optimal water intake. Make hydration a habit, and you’re sure to find yourself with more energy and a lighter frame.

  1. Develop a Healthy and Consistent Exercise Routine 

Once you enter your 50s, staying physically active becomes even more important to maintain bone-muscle mass and keep your joints healthy. While it might get harder for you to hit the gym with the same intensity as in your 30s, staying sedentary can have detrimental long-term effects. Here’s how:

  • A lack of physical activity leads to loss of muscle mass, strength, and flexibility. This ultimately affects your mobility and functional abilities as you enter the golden years of your life. 
  • The more weight you gain, the more likely you are to have lifelong health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. 
  • A lack of physical activity can severely impact cognitive function and overall mental well-being.  

For men over 50, physicians and trainers recommend including at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity per week in the form of low-intensity aerobic exercise. If you’re just starting out, begin with a low-intensity workout for 15-20 minutes a day. It can be as simple as taking a walk, jogging, cycling, house cleaning, yard work, or even dancing to your favorite melodies. 

Once your body adjusts well to this routine, slowly increase both the severity and duration of your workouts. You don’t need to go to the gym daily to achieve this goal. Any exertion that gets the heart rate between 85 to 145 beats per minute is equally beneficial. However, resistance training can go a long way in preserving your muscle and bone density and making mobility easier in the later years. To strengthen the muscles, you can use body weight, dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells. But if you have any underlying medical conditions, consult your doctor and physician before altering your fitness routine. 

  1. Cut Down on the Sodium 

Excessive salt consumption is problematic for the body, especially in men crossing the 50s benchmark. High levels of sodium in the blood may put you at risk of developing heart problems, stroke, and hypertension and may cause problems in essential organs. When your kidneys struggle to eliminate excessive salt from your blood, they may retain water and potentially lead to the early development of kidney problems. In males, high salt levels may also harm the prostate. Research links high salt intake to an increased risk of developing several cancers, including prostate, testis, and colon cancer.

Small changes in your diet can help prevent the problems associated with high salt intake. Fresh salsas, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, black pepper, squeezed lime, or even cheese are great alternatives to salt and give the same umami flavor. 

However, salt isn’t the only source of sodium. Did you know that processed foods and fast foods contain tonnes of sodium? Not to mention bakery items that are loaded with bicarbonate soda! 

Now that you have crossed the 50-year mark, it’s high time to limit the consumption of canned items, processed/packed foods, dried or salted meats, pickled vegetables, confectionary items, and commercially prepared sauces. Instead, opt for low-sodium and high-potassium foods like leafy greens, beans, veggies, low-fat dairy, and farm-fresh fruits. Prefer buying fresh meat and poultry that is free from marinade.  

Final Thoughts

The more you age, your desire to stay healthy and fit becomes stronger than ever. Now that you’ve already spent decades of your life achieving your career goals and financial objectives, it’s time to get serious about your physical and mental health. The above simple changes and careful considerations will help you maintain a healthy and active body and mind. Remember, it’s never too late to start making positive changes that will benefit your health for years to come.