Health Mistakes Anyone Over the Age of 50 Needs to Stop Making
When you were in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, life was good. You could move furniture without fear of pulling your back out, and you could go for long runs without having to ice your knees afterward. Now, however, you’re over 50 — and certain aspects of your health are different than you expected.
In order to keep living your healthiest, liveliest life possible, there are certain health mistakes you need to stop making immediately. Here are the ones to fix to ensure many more years to come.
1. You don’t take your heart health seriously
Maybe you’ve always had a healthy ticker, so as you reach 50 and beyond, you’re not too worried about your heart. AARP notes the good news is if you’ve been healthy and active all your life, your organ’s probably in good shape. But by 50, many start to see the first signs of heart disease.
If you notice a skipped beat or a racing heart, you may be developing an arrhythmia that’s more common with age. It’s important to mention any symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, or dizziness to your doctor.
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2. You forget about your weight
If you notice your metabolism isn’t what it used to be, you’re not alone. Prevention notes your resting metabolic rate decreases by about 1-2% per decade, which is part of the reason why weight creeps up as you age. But don’t throw the scale aside just yet. While your weight certainly isn’t everything, you can keep it in a healthy range with the help of a nutritious diet and weight training for increased muscle mass. You should also make sure your hormones aren’t out of whack, as this can lead to weight gain, too.
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3. New aches and pains have you skipping exercise
Your joints might be stiffer than they used to be, but getting regular exercise is as important as ever. WebMD explains you can ward away heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke with physical activity. And it’s also good for your brain, which is important for Alzheimer’s prevention.
When choosing a routine, remember to incorporate aerobic exercises with weight training and stretching. Low-impact moves that don’t involve any jumping or pounding are better for your joints, too.
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4. You lose your positivity and slip into a ‘midlife crisis’
If your 50s and beyond have you feeling a little down, you’re not alone. The dreaded “midlife crisis” has many middle-aged folks worrying about their health, happiness, relationships, and bodies more than ever. But WebMD notes now’s a good time to be thankful for all the great things you still have in your life.
It might also be the time to seek out the advice from a mental health professional if you feel like you’re about to make a rash, life-disrupting decision. If you do feel as if you need a life change, they can help guide you in a healthy direction.
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5. You neglect training your brain
Forgot where you left your phone again? We all have memory lapses from time to time, but this is an increasingly common issue for the aging brain. And if you want to improve your memory and thinking skills, you have to train your brain like you’d train your body.
Health suggests using chopsticks to help your brain, as engaging the nerve cells in your fingertips can help stimulate the brain. You can also try playing brain-exercise games and eating foods that fight cognitive decline, like asparagus and blueberries.
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6. You have no idea what your blood pressure is
If you’re unsure of your blood pressure, there’s no better time to visit your doctor and get it checked out. Research shows those who have a normal blood pressure at 55 have a relatively low risk of developing heart disease and stroke, WebMD says. On the opposite end, those who had high blood pressure by 55 had a raised risk of these two conditions by up to 70%.
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7. You’re still not sleeping enough
If you’re not getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, then you may be doing your body and mind a serious disservice. Prevention explains adults between the ages of 26 to 64 need this amount of sleep to function at their best. And if you’re above the age of 65, seven to eight hours should be enough.
If you’re dealing with sleep issues, you’re not alone. Many over the age of 55 report difficulty falling asleep or waking up exhausted. It’s important to mention these problems to a doctor so your quality of life doesn’t suffer.
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8. You won’t schedule that dreaded colonoscopy
Self explains once you hit 50, it’s highly recommended that you get your first colonoscopy. This procedure allows doctors to see if you have any ulcers, tumors, polyps, or inflammation in your colon or rectum that could lead to cancer. If you have an average risk of developing colon cancer, doctor’s recommend you go through with the procedure at this age and then get one every 10 years thereafter. If you have a relative who had colon cancer at age 60 or younger, however, screenings for you should really begin at age 40.
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9. You have no idea what check-ups you need
You know your annual physical is important, but once you hit 50, the checklist shouldn’t stop there. Next Avenue explains you should know your cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and BMI at bare minimum. On top of that, you should also get a head-to-toe skin exam, since skin cancer rates are rising, as well as a test for vitamin B12 deficiency. And since Boomers are five times more likely to contract hepatitis C, you should also ask your doctor about this as well.
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10. You don’t know what vitamins you’re not getting enough of
You eat your greens and take a multivitamin, so that should be good, right? The truth is if you don’t know what vitamins you really should be taking more of, you could end up with a deficiency.
AARP notes vitamin D, B12, and calcium particularly important for the over 50 crowd. You should also be getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to help your heart and blood sugar levels. And probiotics are another good supplement to add in for gut health.
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11. You’re still not flossing every night
Your dentist has told you floss once daily since your teen years. If you’re still resisting, it’s time to take that advice seriously. Not only does flossing keep your teeth strong, but Delta Dental notes it can keep the rest of your body in working order, too. Diseases having to do with the heart and respiratory system, as well as stroke, diabetes, and arthritis, have all been linked back to gum disease. The better your gum health, the healthier the rest of your body will be.
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12. You forget to de-stress
Whether it’s work, retirement, or family that has you stressing, we know finding time for yourself can be difficult. But once you hit that 50-year milestone, it’s more important than ever to take care of your stress levels. The Huffington Post explains chronic stress can lead to weight gain and raise your risk of developing diabetes or hypertension. Not only that, but it can also weaken your immune system or even lead to memory loss. Maybe meditation doesn’t sound that crazy after all.
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13. You’re too busy to eat all your meals, so you skip some
It might seem fine to skip a meal here and there, but Health reminds us how harmful this practice can be. When you skip meals repeatedly, you can mess with your metabolism and raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Since the vast majority of adults are diagnosed with diabetes over the age of 40, you should take preventative measures early on.
You should always start the day with a healthy breakfast. This can help you stay focused throughout the day and keep hunger at bay so you don’t overindulge in junk food.
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14. You ignore common health warning signs in hopes your doctor will find them
Yes, your doctor’s job is to inform you of your health. But that doesn’t mean they can do all the heavy lifting. Health explains you should tell your doctor if anything’s amiss instead of waiting for them to find something during your yearly check-ups. Dr. Katharine Taber says many patients are afraid or embarrassed to speak up, but it’s important that they do so. In the end, it could be life-saving.
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15. You don’t drink enough water
If you don’t drink enough water, you’re not alone. And AARP notes even mild dehydration can severely impact your mood, memory, and digestion.
It’s also important to note that after age 50, your ability to recognize when you’re thirsty decreases. And if you’re on medications like diuretics or antihistamines, this can make matters worse. Make sure you’re drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If your urine is dark in color, that typically means you need to drink more.
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