Mental and Physical Health After 50

“I used to be so strong and now I get these aches and pains that I never had before. I know I need
to make changes in my meals yet I’m not sure what to do anymore.”

Life can be overwhelming when trying to make so many health changes – keeping track of the right foods, maintaining a positive attitude, the adequate fitness plan, boosting your immune system and keeping your heart healthy. But don’t panic! The key to healthy aging is sound knowledge of what to change and second, the “how-to plan” for implementation.

Use it or lose it. That’s what researchers tell us about our brain. Mental wellness is one of the most important aspects of healthy aging. How can we exercise our mind? Try something new every week. Do a variety of mentally stimulating activities – crossword puzzles or Sudoku – to sharpen your neurons. Play memory-boosting games. Add a hobby to your routine, something you might have kept postponing in the past.

Nobody says life is easy. We’ve got ups and downs, good days and not so good days. Still, nurturing positive attitudes for ourselves and our loved ones makes us feel better. Research studies have shown that positive thinking reduces stress, helps people live longer, allows us to cope better with life and improves our well-being. Whatever happens, maintaining a positive outlook on life is essential for a healthy body and mind.

Have a sense of purpose. Set a new goal, which can be personal or career oriented. Could it be some college courses you’ve been meaning to take? Maybe opening a small business with a passion you’ve had for awhile? Prepare a plan to achieve those mini-goals, always focusing on that larger challenging objective. Remember, nothing is impossible. Just stick to your plan. You’ll be surprised how every stepping stone will lead you to major accomplishments.

Has weight loss been an issue for the last few years? Sometimes trying to achieve lifestyle changes on your own can be really difficult and frustrating. So find a support group, maybe a few pals or neighbors, who are also striving to lose some weight and feel good about themselves. Call each other up often. Walk together. Interpersonal relationships keep us healthy. Celebrate each success!

Start to be fit now! How to get started when your mind keeps saying, “I’ll start tomorrow” and you flop yourself back on the couch to switch on the television? The fountain of youth is regular exercise! Studies show that a fitness routine can help ward off heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Reverse your body’s clock by discovering the regular activities you best enjoy. Favorites among seniors may include aqua aerobics, walking, golf, square dancing or main group exercise classes. Socializing is part of the fun and reaps the most benefit- both mental and physical.

Think color for a savory meal. The secret to strong bones, disease prevention and a tough immune system is in your kitchen! Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids – cancer-reducing foods. Think green and keep your eyes healthy – with a spinach pie or broccoli salad. Combine with blue fruits, such as blueberries for a brain-booster that improves short-term memory. Add red produce, loaded with lycopene for a healthy heart.  Protein-rich foods might be white yet indispensable for our muscles, hormones and tissues.

You can be as young as you feel – just by maintaining a positive outlook on life. Keep stress-free worries at a distance while practicing thankfulness for what you do have, even in these difficult times. Life is just beginning – and you are the leading actor on stage. Play your role wisely.