Being Your Best Self in Your 50’s
I’ve just turned 50! While most dread the day they get a year older, I must say that I don’t. At 50, I feel great and look forward to becoming a better version of myself every year!
I have always been an advocate for self-care through health promotion. But aside from being a Physiotherapist for over 20 years, I first worked as an Archaeologist for six years then as a chef whilst I was studying Physiotherapy.
In this article, I’ll be sharing my top 5 tips to staying healthy, fit, and active through your 40’s and 50’s:
Whatever You Do, Keep Active
This is a time in our lives when we tend to get less active. Careers and family take over, and the demands of keeping up on payments for mortgages or rents and providing for our nearest and dearest add up. Many of us tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the pile but, whatever you do, you MUST stay active. At least 30 minutes of walking five times a week has been shown to:
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Improve bone density
- Improve blood sugar regulation
- Burn fat
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Reduce risk of colon and breast cancer
- Reduce glaucoma
Our bodies were designed for activity –throughout the duration of our lifespan– and they need it to be able to function normally. Don’t let your body down by ignoring the need for exercise because, eventually, your body will let you down.
You Are What You Eat
At this stage, most of us gain weight. On average, a kilogram per year through your 40’s. Some of that relates to hormonal changes and a change in our basic amino acid profile. However, it also relates to eating more of the wrong foods. Whilst not a vegetarian, I only eat red meat about once a month, minimise bread and complex carbs, try not to mix fat and sugar together, and I focus on maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of varieties of vegetables. Inspirational cookbooks, like Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 help!
Give Your Phone A Break
In this information-overloaded age, our brains become hyper stimulated (but undernourished) and switching off is hard. There is always another job that needs to be done and we never have to actually leave work. Apps keep us glued to the screen whilst travelling to work and on our breaks. That takes its toll on the neck, upper back, and eyes. Research shows though that we become less productive, less connected, and more easily depressed.
If You Need Help, Ask For It
Whether it’s the annual checkup at the doctors, a niggling injury that a Physio could sort out quickly, or a feeling of being out of sorts, don’t ignore your bodily needs. I have basically always been lean and fit and couldn’t understand why I had such trouble sleeping. So, I asked a GP for a sleep study and they found that I had sleep apnea – the moment I fell asleep, I stopped breathing. Now, I’m not the patient you expect to find that in, and I’m on effective treatment now, but had I not made myself a priority and asked for help, I’d still be struggling. SO whatever it is, ask for help and you may be surprised when your life turns around.
Stay Connected To Stay Happy
You need to make time for yourself. As an old Irish saying goes, “The best medicine is a good laugh and great night’s sleep.” Our stories are fascinating – you can’t get to 50 without having amazing stories and life experiences. Those feel good chemicals are complex, but that help to heal the weary mind and troubled soul. Meaningful connections with friends and family give us reasons to keep fit and healthy for the second half of our lives.