Health Advice Men Over 50 Need to Pay Attention To
You’ve heard it before — 50’s the new 40, so in terms of your health, you have nothing to worry about. While you may feel as healthy as ever before, you still need to care for your aging body to ensure you’re set to live a long and healthy life.
Unsure of where to begin when it comes to health after 50? Here are a few tips men will definitely want to follow (especially No. 8, which can be extremely hazardous if left uncontrolled).
1. Don’t quit any medications cold-turkey
Noticing a few more aches and pains as you enter the crux of middle age? You may notice your doctor is prescribing more medications as you age — and they may not be all pain-related, either. High blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels are also a bigger threat as you head through your 50s and beyond, so getting those under control is vital, too.
If you’re on medications, don’t quit them without first asking your doctor if it’s OK. Your body may not bounce back as well as it may have in your 20s and 30s, so always double check with a medical professional.
Next: Speaking of taking a doctor’s advice …
2. Don’t skip out on the doctor
Think you only need to visit the doctor when something feels off? While this tactic may have worked in your youth, that may not serve you so well once you’re in your 50s. Don’t forget — women have a higher life expectancy than men largely because they have demanded consistent care over time. And there are plenty of life-threatening conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, that present no symptoms. For this reason, make sure you’re getting yourself to a doctor’s office for an annual visit.
Next: Are your eating habits as good as they could be?
3. Quit your junk food habit
Your metabolism likely isn’t what it used to be — and as you age, you’re more susceptible to various diseases that can potentially be controlled by what you’re eating. Make sure you’re getting a varied diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. A. Vogel even suggests eating less meat and dairy, as these types of foods may promote inflammation and disease in the long run.
It’s not too hard to eat more fruits and veggies, either. Take your everyday meals and incorporate more fresh produce into them instead of trying to revamp all of your favorites into totally vegetarian fare.
Next: This seems simple, but it’s one of the most important.
4. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
You might have other healthy habits, but if you’re skipping out on sleep, you’re doing your mind and body a serious disservice. Everyday Health explains if you’re a man in your 50s, you still need between seven and nine hours per night to properly function.
So, what happens if you’re lacking on your shut-eye? Phyllis C. Zee, Ph.D., tells Everyday Health that you may be raising your risk of diabetes, obesity, and other emotional and physical issues.
Next: There’s one gland you need to watch.
5. Watch for prostate issues
WebMD explains the most common prostate issue for men over the age of 50 is having an enlarged gland. Usually, it’s a benign, noncancerous condition that only causes minor discomfort — but it’s still certainly something to be aware of. By 60, over half of all men have an enlarged prostate.
If you do have this condition, it’s likely the discomfort will affect you eventually. Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you’re having symptoms that are impacting your daily life.
Next: You need to quit this habit if you’re still partaking.
6. Quit smoking now if you haven’t already
Think it’s too late to quit smoking since you’re already in your 50s? The Cleveland Clinic notes it’s really never too late to kick the habit, as your body starts to heal the damage the smoke has left behind as soon as you stop.
In the long-term, quitting lowers your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, all of which are more of a threat to you when you’re over 50. You’ll also feel more energized after you quit, which is helpful if you’re having trouble with exhaustion.
Next: In addition to fruits and veggies, eat these.
7. Eat more healthy fats and less saturated ones
Saturated and trans fats found in junk food, fast food, and fried favorites might be delicious, but as noted before, it’s more important than ever to watch what you’re eating. Remember that all fat isn’t the enemy, either. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your heart, and monounsaturated fats can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Add more avocados and fish into your diet, Everyday Health suggests. These foods are full of good fats that promote longevity (and they’re filling, too).
Next: You may notice weight gain around one particular area.
8. Work to control any weight gain around your midsection
It’s common for middle-aged men to gain weight in their midsection. But you may not realize that belly fat can prove to be quite dangerous. Mayo Clinic notes you may have a bit of extra fat directly below the skin, but it’s also likely you have visceral fat that’s surrounding your internal organs. And it’s this visceral fat that can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and high blood pressure.
If you do notice you’re gaining a “beer belly” or more fat around your waistline, watch your diet and increase your exercise to control it.
Next: There are certain tests you need to ask your doctor about.
9. Don’t miss getting screened for key tests
Before any symptoms develop, it’s important to know if you’re at risk for any life-threatening conditions — and getting screened for various tests can help you accomplish this. The Cleveland Clinic says all men over 50 absolutely should get their blood pressure and cholesterol screened. In addition to that, you should consider getting checked for prostate cancer and colon cancer, as both conditions can exist with no symptoms. If you have a history of cancer in your family, this is particularly important, especially by middle age.
Next: Hitting the gym? Make sure you’re getting this type of training in.
10. Start strength training now
You know daily exercise is important — and a walk around the block is surely better than nothing. With that said, it’s extremely beneficial for men over 50 to weight train. WebMD reminds us you’ll start losing bone mass and flexibility by the time you reach your 60s, so getting a jump start in helping your body in your 50s is ideal.
Need more reason to strength train in your middle-aged years? Studies have shown that men in their 60s and 70s who lift weights have muscles that can do just as much as men who are inactive in their 20s.
Next: Don’t forget about this vital organ.
11. Keep your brain stimulated
If you’re spending your nights watching TV or staring at your phone, you may be neglecting your brain more than you think. WebMD explains it’s more important during middle age than ever to get to work on saving your cognitive function.
Working your brain is easier than you think. Try a daily crossword, call up a friend to talk on the phone, or explore a new hobby that takes your full concentration. You’ll help your brain stay healthy and active and you’ll also likely feel some emotional fulfillment out of these activities.
Next: Your chronic worrying is severely affecting your health.
12. Reduce your stress levels
No one likes stress at any age, but it’s vital that you get your high stress levels under control by your 50s. The Huffington Post explains chronic stress can contribute to weight gain and that dreaded belly fat. Not only that, but it can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and can weaken your immune system overall.
There are plenty of easy ways to help reduce the stress in your life. Daily exercise and as little as 10 minutes of meditation or yoga per day can work wonders.
Next: If you’re not eating enough of your nutrients, consider this alternative.
13. Consider a multivitamin
Eating your vitamins and minerals is better than consuming a vitamin, but if you’re having trouble meeting your daily needs, there’s no shame in going the multivitamin route. If you’re unsure of what type of multivitamin you should take, one for the 50+ age group is a good way to go. A. Vogel recommends the Vitabiotics Wellness 50+ Health & Vitality tablets for anyone in their 50s, 60s, and beyond. They’re particularly helpful for middle-aged men, too.
Unsure of other good multivitamin options? Ask your doctor — they’ll surely have good recommendations.
Next: Have a drink every day? Here’s what you need to know.
14. Keep your alcohol consumption low
You might think your heaviest drinking days are behind you, but research shows that may not necessarily be the case. Bel Marra Health reports a poll distributed in the U.K. found the risk of problematic drinking actually peaked for men in their early 60s. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have an alcohol problem as you enter your 60s, but if you find yourself reaching for a few drinks as a way to unwind each night, you should be aware of the health risks.
WebMD reminds us that habitually drinking can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia, so beware.
Next: You may be neglecting your body’s largest organ.
15. Don’t forget to care for your skin
If you’ve neglected proper skin care over the years, it’s time to start lathering on the sunscreen and paying close attention to any moles you may have. WebMD notes between 40-50% of fair-skinned folks who live to be 65 will experience at least one form of skin cancer. And if you’re not paying your skin any mind (which many men are guilty of), then you should change this habit.
Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Simply wear sunscreen daily, hydrate properly, and quit smoking.
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