Your 50s is a period that can be incredibly enlightening, empowering and quite probably some of the healthiest years of your lifetime. Your career is likely established by then and if you raised children, they would be grown-ups.
At this point, things have settled down and you have fewer distractions, meaning you can fully focus on yourself, particularly your health. To narrow down further, you will want to be in great shape mentally and physically, and in this post, we explore the top 5 ways to boost mind and body strength in your fifties.
1. Eat a brain-boosting diet
The good thing aging is that you live through several life experiences. You have already utilized your mind in problem-solving, information storage and processing, and cultivated memories, and you are mentally in your prime. Processing time slows down at this age, though you have better judgment because of the experiences you’ve had.
To keep your mind in tip-top shape, a brain-boosting diet is a major priority. The brain needs as much fuel, just like the body. Below are the key nutritional tips to help boost your brainpower:
- Omega-3 fatty acids are great for brain health. Consider fish, which is particularly rich in omega-3. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, tuna, halibut, and trout – these are all excellent choices. Not a fan of seafood? No problem – kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, walnuts, and spinach are all sources of omega-3.
- Reduce saturated fat and calorie intake. Research has that high saturated fat – sources including red meat, butter, whole milk, cream, cheese, and ice cream – can impair concentration and memory.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. These are packed with antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage.
- Take green tea more often. This type of tea contains polyphenols, substances that also guard against radicals that can damage brain cells. Green tea also improves memory and mental alertness and slows brain aging.
- Keep your alcohol consumption in check. Alcohol kills brain cells, but it can actually enhance memory and cognition is consumed in moderation. Red wine is deemed the sweet spot in this respect, with a glass a day for women or two for men recommended. Rich in a flavonoid by the resveratrol, red wine is said to boost blood flow within the brain and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other options with resveratrol substance include grape juice, fresh grapes and berries, peanuts and cranberry juice.
2. Workout more often
This one guarantees both mind and physical strength at the same time. Maintaining an active lifestyle at this age will lessen the chances of your bones weakening once you grow older. Generally speaking, aging and inactivity do not get along well. As a matter of fact, this is why some people develop arthritis or achy muscles.
That said, invest in a regular workout routine to maintain your bone health. This should include a combination of cardio, stretching and strength training. Not only is this important for keeping you strong and healthy, but you will also maintain a healthy weight.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that moderate exercise several times a week helps keep the mind sharp for people over 50 years. The research showed that through exercise, the brain receives a great supply of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients that improve its health, and also receives a growth hormone that enhances the formation of fresh neurons and connections.
Joe Northey, the study author from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at Canberra said: “Even if you are doing moderate exercise only once or twice a week there are still improvements in cognitive function, but the improvements were better the more exercise was done.”
The study also recommended that adults should do at least two hours of moderate aerobic activity every week and do strength training once or twice a week. Physical activity has additionally been known to reduce the risk of diseases such as type-2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
Be sure to perform cognitive training too, and this involves various mental activities like working a crossword puzzle, playing board games or chess. Training your brain improves your processing power and remembrance of information.
3. Get enough sleep
Sleeping patterns usually change as you grow older, but good sleep is crucial for good health at any age. Some of us have had moments when we were sleep-deprived and couldn’t remember what we went into the kitchen to pick or where we left the keys. In short, you can’t operate to your full potential if you’re sleep-deprived – and this includes your ability to think clearly or communicate, remember things as well as cognitive skills.
If you notice that you are more tired than normal or having difficulty sleeping, talk to a doctor. Getting too little sleep can increase the risk of some health issues.
4. Practice meditation
Studies have shown that chronic stress can cause both mental and physical health for people in their 50s. General stress also increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, among other serious medical problems. In fact, it may quicken your aging process.
Therefore, engage in activities or lifestyle habits that reduce stress and depression. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation. This practice lets go of negative thoughts and encourages positive thinking, consequently reducing stress, anxiety and giving you a clear mind.
A clear mind leads to better judgment so that you make informed decisions and fewer mistakes. With that comes fewer regrets, which positively impacts your general well-being.
Studies suggest that folks who are socially active are a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Socializing usually engages several areas of the mind plus many social activities include physical aspects, such as playing a sport, which is also of great benefit to your mind. So sign up for a local walking group or volunteer activities or join a club. Don’t forget to stay close to your family and friends.
Social engagements are associated with a stronger immune system, meaning you are better off to combat colds, flu and some forms of cancer. Interacting with others also increases the feelings of well-being and reduces feelings of depression.
To wrap it up
Your 50s bring on some mental and physical changes that you should be aware of, but it’s also a period when your mind and body can thrive. If you put in the extra work to stay active, participate in mind-building activities and eat a balanced, it can go a long way in ensuring a healthy lifestyle for years to come.