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?