I often have chats with my friends about how they keep fit and healthy. I’m always keen to know how other middle aged women keep up their energy or fight the flab as our hormones go haywire.
A friend asked me just the other day what sort of things I do to try and maintain good health, so I thought today I’d spill the beans on my unscientific routines, and then ask you to divulge some of your health secrets in the comments section too.
Here goes …
Well to start off … and to tell you the truth … I’m not that keen on breaking a sweat.
Hell if I could laze around, read books, write blog posts, occasionally
voraciously check out Facebook and consume large quantities of Lindt Chocolate while lying in bed, or reclining on a sun lounger then this lazy girl probably would – if she could.
But I can’t, and I must get up and raise my heart rate as well as eating properly and not drinking too much wine.
Because although we may feel well after 50, now’s the age when we can become at bigger risk of things like heart disease and osteoarthritis too. So it’s important after the age of 50 to pay particular attention to getting regular well woman health checks – you might want to speak to your Doctor and see what he/she suggests for you.
How to keep fit and healthy after 50
- Keep exercising and watch your diet – consider cutting down on saturated fat and sugar, get enough calcium in your diet, but overall – eat smaller portions.
- Have your blood pressure taken regularly
- Ask you Doctor to see what he/she suggests and have a general blood-count check done.
- Go to a skin cancer clinic once a year and have your skin checked
- Make sure you keep up with mammograms, pap smears, screening for colon cancer and cholesterol checks.
Aieee, it wasn’t like this in my thirties! But I’ve reigned myself in and I’m now getting into the habit of a regular maintenance schedule like an old car!
Things change as you age
I had a melanoma removed a couple of years ago – and I was horrified that I had one. Surely I’d always been careful and used enough sunscreen? But thank goodness for my regular skin checks, and a great skin doctor who discovered it in good time.
My good/bad cholesterol seems to be affected these days by my diet and exercise.
Swimming used to be my go-to exercise but now it makes my shoulder sore. Bugger!
My knees sometimes hurt going up and down steps, so I try to increase muscle in my legs with cycling.
- From the research I’ve been doing about my diet as I get older, I’m trying to cut down my portions a little.
- I’m increasing anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s from foods like avocados, nuts and oily fish.
- I’m trying to decrease saturated fats.
- For evening meals I’m trying to eat more fruit and veggies and fish, and cut down on red meat.
- I’m trying to eat porridge oats daily as I’ve heard they help lower cholesterol, and the same goes for Flora spread instead of butter.
- I’m keeping an eye on my calcium intake by having skim milk in my tea, cottage cheese instead of hard cheese, and low fat yoghurt sometimes for breakfast.
- I’ve discovered bread gives me indigestion so for lunch at home I’ll have something like cottage cheese or tuna with tomatoes and cucumber on rice crackers or ryvita.
- Recently from my own (unscientific) research I’ve found that not only does coffee (at any time of day) make me wake up in the night, it also plays havoc with my bladder.
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Exercise to make me puff
My exercise routine generally consists of power walks with a bit of jogging, and then 30 minutes of Callanetics – and cycling at weekends.
I try and walk first thing in the morning, catch myself by surprise before I have time to think about not going.
- A brisk walk – anything from 40 to 60 minutes
- Although my knees groan I will try to jog at intervals to keep my heart rate up.
- My shorter walks I try to follow with half an hour of Callanetics, rolling around in various positions on the carpet at home – a routine I know off by heart having kept it up, off and on, for over 30 years.
- At weekends I say “Yes” if my hubby suggests a bicycle ride into town (followed by a herbal tea and poached eggs of course!)
Once we’re over 50 it’s not a great idea to suddenly start jogging for your life, or doing some extreme sport straight up, or trying to do a hundred push ups straight off. No, we need to ease ourselves into it slowly. Walks in the countryside are good. I love getting out on the Cape To Cape track in South West Australia (above).
As we get older I’m told that cardio and strength training helps to increase bone density and builds strength. Yoga may help ease stress and menopausal symptoms. Meditation can reduce stress and has all sorts of other health benefits.
I really really want and need to take up Yoga. Do you do Yoga?
Vitamins and Vitality
I go through stages of taking vitamins and supplements. I don’t actually like taking tablets, so generally I end up not taking them for long.
I went through a faze of having half a Berocca every day. I do think that Berocca gives me a boost of energy and I like to think that it’s keeping my B vitamins in order.
Over to you
Over to you Lifestylers: Do you have any tips to add about staying fit and healthy as we get older?
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Some good healthy tips Jo but one thing I balked at was margarine instead of butter as marg is full of preservatives and additives which are not healthy. but if you want to avoid the saturated fat like butter (albiet butter is a natural product) something like Nuttelex would be a better alternative, made from vegetable oils and dairy free, gluten free and free from artificial additives.
I know it’s a late response but I was away last year and missed the post and came by it today from your current post on Michelle Bridges 🙂
Now that’s a fab tip, thank you Ingrid. I’m going to try Nuttelex instead.
Loved you blog!
I don’t see many people talking about giving up coffee (or the down sides). I love coffee, associate it with my late husband and some wonderful times. But as my weight loss would slow at various times I would seek answers and in doing so ran across a lot of information on caffeine that suggested it was worth a shot (at least to drop it). It was much easier than I would have imagined (in fact I hardly noticed doing from a lot of non decaf coffee to a moderate amount of decaf. Maybe in the long run it will be better for me (here’s hoping, I miss a dark brew).
Thanks Lynn! I gave up coffee for a while and slept much much better. So I’m sure there must be merit in it.
Great information. I’ve only just started exercising after some time due to poor health. Not much just walking, hula hoop and pretending to skip. I am very conscious of what enters my mouth. Any sweets I have are vegan and very tasty, fills that sweet tooth cravings. I am loosing weight and feel great. My sons wedding is coming up and I’ve always dreamt of wearing a dress to his wedding, so my health is very important and I think I might just make it. Just love your blog, it really entertains me as well as answering questions mature fems have. Thanks for taking the time to write your blog.
Thanks so much Bronwyn 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoy Lifestyle Fifty. I’m alos really glad that you are feeling great because of your new lifestyle regime (power to you!) and here’s hoping you do wear a dress to your son’s wedding – pic please 🙂
Ely & Adele
Hi Jo, great article. There are a couple of additional things: maintaining an active sex life —it has many health benefits—and having a strong life purpose.
Thanks Ely and Adele – and thanks for your helpful additional tips too 🙂
Hi Jo, I can relate to sooo much of that! I absolutely love yoga, have been doing it on and off for over 30 years. In June I did a yoga retreat at Samudra in Dunsborough – best thing I’ve ever done! If you want to get into yoga, check them out; it really helped to get me on track with my daily home yoga practise. I also learnt a lot about healthy eating, it really raised my awareness.
Thanks so much and thanks heaps for the heads-up about Samudra – I’m going to check them out, Gaye.
There’s so many great tips here Jo that I should be doing! There’s always an excuse but i think time is running out. Now that we’re home it will be back to smaller meals, walking and pilates! Hope I can keep them up!
It’s always so hard to get into a good exercise and eating regime when you’re travelling isn’t it Jenny? I think you’re doing the best thing though and getting back onto the straight and narrow as soon as you get home, without thinking too much about it 😉
I miss my long walks in the city. I think walking early in the morning is must no matter your age. It will serve you well later in life.
Yes, I agree. Just keep on walking. Always. Thanks Matt.
Thanks Jo for these handy reminders and tips. One easy way to consume oats on a regular basis is to soak them in juice overnight. I use 1/2 cup of oats and 1/2 cup of juice. Top with a few nuts, raisins or blueberries, and you’re ready to go. The bonus is that you don’t have to slave over the stove cooking your oats!
That sounds a great way with oats Wanda … and I’m going good to give it a go this weekend!
I pretty much follow your regime of walking and cycling almost every day but I also mix it up with Pilates or Yoga classes at the Gym. I actually have lemon juice in water every morning as it seems to keep me regular and flushes toxins from my body. I taken magnesium/calcium/vitamin D tablets and a fish oil tablet every day. I tend to put on weight very easily and I’m currently doing the 5:2 diet and so far I have lost over 4 Kgs. I am feeling so much better for it and would love to lose more weight. I think all of your advice was fantastic for us more mature ladies!
Thanks Kathy and I love your tips too 🙂
Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
AT last! Somebody else who has found swimming aggravates their shoulder. I can’t jog/run for the same reason, but I try to walk at least half an hour 4 or 5 times a week. I take fish oil tablets for heart health (and that sore shoulder) & brain function – because I never eat seafood I thought it would be a good idea.
Sounds like you have a good routine going there Janet. Thanks for popping by today 🙂
Oh yes … why can’t Lindt chocolate be a health food and snooping around on Facebook and Pinterest be a brilliant calorie burner?!!
Haha! I wonder Amanda!
Hey Jo, loved your posts and you have the same lifestyle wish as me: writing, beach views & chocolate! I am actually off to my first PT session today. One of the school mums is offering sessions at her house-wish me luck. I am trying to do something everyday for 30-40 mins just to get into a zone where I don’t think, just do!
Great philosophy Lisa! Just do it, as they say 🙂
Great post Jo 🙂
I see a lot of women through my work as a dietitian going through menopause and struggling with their weight. I like your ideas about keeping exercise regular and varied and most importantly something you enjoy. I and am a lover of yoga and pilates as I find they help me relax. Your diet tips are great! Smaller portions and everything in moderation. Plus increasing intake of fruits and vegetables which can also help to lower cholesterol with the increased fibre 🙂
Thanks for some great affirmations here Nat:)
Goodness me Jo.It quite tired me out reading this My body did ten thousand steps just thinking about your exercise regime!
Have to agree about the coffee. One cup a day -well before lunch- is all I can cope with sleep-wise and bladder-wise.
Thanks for yet another great post.
Just settling back on the couch for a little brain gym.
Relax Denise 🙂 and enjoy a little brain gym which is also important as we get older 🙂
Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
Looks like that calinetics is working! I think incidental exercise is the best – like walking or biking to town. I try to be active twice a day, as much to get some me time and be in nature as to get physical exercise. I think getting outside is so important for health at any age.
Great that you get out and active twice a day Annabel. Yes makes for great me time too 🙂
I too walk every morning,lucky to have a fairly flat course to walk as the knees don’t handle the hills too well any more. Here in Cairns our swimming pool gets a lot of use and I keep my dumbells next to the pool and I find I do arm exercises standing in the water. Also my noodle is used to support me while I do bicycle motions with my legs for my knees and hips. Of course I swim laps as well. I try to watch my diet and I have found cutting portion sizes is the best advice,other than that everything in moderation!
Awesome Lesley! You seem to have organised a balanced and healthy eating exercise and food regime that fits neatly into your lifestyle and one that works. Great to have the weather in Cairns to exercise in the pool too 🙂
Nice to find your blog, Johanna! Thx for finding my chocolate travel blog.
Indeed, including a piece or two of pure, dark chocolate or having some cocoa nibs (small pieces of cocoa beans) is a part of my daily ‘health’ regiment as cocoa actually possesses the most antioxidants of ANY power food on the planet! So eating it helps give me energy and keep me healthy.
Oh what a great tip Doreen! Thank you!
Life Images by Jill
Thanks for this timely post Jo. I must admit exercise and me do not go together (don’t even ask me to join a gym!). It was fine when I was dragon boat racing, because I was part of a team I was committed to. I am determined to try and get myself out of bed earlier so I can go for a walk before work. I do Spanish dancing. It is not easy, but it is great for the memory brain cells, coordination and balance. Next time you are heading out on the Cape to Cape, give me a call Jo, I would love to come along. I think doing something you enjoy is great for keeping happy and I always play music at home on my days off. Hmm….but I do need to start that walking regime!! Thanks Jo another great post.
Spanish Dancing and Dragon Boating would be such fun ways to keep active and fit, Jill. Yes when we head off for another Cape To Cape I’ll let you know.
Interesting, thank you 🙂
I’m sure you keep really fit wandering around Japan sourcing such interesting info for us Muza-chan 🙂
great post and some excellent tips.
Creating time to laugh and enjoy the company of family and friends are also great ways to keep the blood pressure down and boost endorphins. I enjoy listening to dance music especially from the 70s &80s if I have the house to myself and doing some of those tedious chores, and executing some spectacular moves of my own. Walking the Cape to Cape is a favourite of mine as well.
Hi Bernadette – Thank you for your lovely tips too. I’d like to see you doing some of the spectacular 80’s dance moves while doing your housework. Grease – perhaps? Move over Olivia Newton John!