Food, fitness & health: Live your healthiest life in your 50s
Life does not stop at 50 and neither should caring about your health and wellness. While hitting your 50s can mean you're quicker to feel the wear and tear on your body, that doesn't mean it's all over. Prioritizing your health and wellness is the ticket to enjoying agility and youthfulness as you age.
We believe that you can feel youthful at any age by taking a holistic approach to your overall well-being. That’s why we created a guide for 50-somethings to managing your diet, exercise, and health so you can experience this decade with joy, exuberance, and above all else, good health!
Don't let vitamin or mineral deficiencies get the better of you
As you grow older, you're more likely to develop deficiencies in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium.
Because so few foods are rich in vitamin D and because it is difficult to take advantage of the sunlight during Canadian summers, older adults often struggle to meet the daily vitamin D recommendations.
We also become less proficient at absorbing vitamin B12 as we age, but it is integral to healthy nerve signalling and red blood cell production, so it is important to find other ways to get the necessary amounts.
Calcium becomes incredibly important as we age as well—it is needed to keep bones strong but Canadian adults are not getting enough each day . Especially with the rise of dairy alternatives, it is important to find a way to bring calcium into your diet.
If you are worried you aren’t getting enough of these vitamins and minerals, consult a doctor or dietician.
Here are 5 more nutrition tips to help you during your 50th decade of life:
- Reduce your cancer risk by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables (these are high in phytochemicals—plant compounds that help protect against cancer) and less processed meats.
- Immune function decreases with age. Help counter it with zinc-rich foods like lean meats, oysters, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds, and folate-rich foods like spinach and Brussels sprouts.
- Older adults often struggle with constipation . Choose high-fibre foods over refined products to help prevent or relieve it.
- Eat oily fish—such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines—at least twice a week to
reduce your chances of developing heart disease and slow down cognitive decline.
- If you drink alcohol, moderation is key. Too much can lead to
an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers .
Fight muscle mass and tone with strength training
It’s important to keep physically active at every age, and your 50s are no different. Canada’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that adults in their 50s:
- Perform a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activities.
- Perform muscle-strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week.
- Incorporate several hours of light physical activities (including standing) into the week.
- Limit sedentary time to 8 hours or less and break up long periods of sitting often.
Consider adding stretches for your chest and lats, as well as balance, core strengthening exercises, and some weight training sessions to combat the loss of muscle mass as you age. And remember to give yourself ample time to recover between high-impact activities like running.
Staying active can add years to your life. A combination of cardio, strength, and balance training can help maintain muscle tone and make everyday tasks easier. Plus, with regular exercise, you'll likely have more energy and confidence, and cope better with the daily stresses of life.
Keep an eye on your risk profile with preventive screenings
The best way to keep tabs on your health is to ensure you are going to your doctor regularly and attending all of the necessary preventative screenings for your age.
|Recommended screening||Frequency||Top health tip|
Pap test (women only)
Once every three years
For women: Breast cancer screening means checking your breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Many expert organizations recommend that if you are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer, you should get a mammogram every two years.
For men: To screen for prostate cancer, you should get a baseline rectal exam and PSA blood test at age 50. Then, if you are at high risk, you should get a PSA and rectal exam every year thereafter.
|Every 6 months|
|Once every 2-3 years, including glaucoma screening|
|Once a year|
|Mammogram (women only)||Once every 2-3 years|
Prostate exam (men only)
Speak to your doctor about your risk factors to determine when you should be tested.
|Every 2 years|
|One dose after you turn 65|
|One 2-dose series after you turn 50|
Looking for more information on preventative screenings? Speak to your doctor or visit the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care website to answer any questions you may have.
Please always check with a medical professional to ensure these strategies are right for you.