Last Updated on December 22, 2022

Managing health in your 50s, 60s and 70s

by Dr Valeria Lo Iacono

1. Get Active and Stay Active

The best way to stay fit in your 50s is to get active and stay active.

You don’t have to go to the gym every day or run a marathon, but regular physical activity is important for overall health and fitness.

Regular exercise does NOT need to be a bore and can include fast walking, yoga, and other activities.

Perhaps you used to enjoy cycling and gave it up years ago but could restart?

Why not combine doing exercise also with meeting new people and making new friends?

Action: If you are not already doing regular fitness, think about what exercise you could enjoy and do regularly, i.e. three times a week. Do you have a nice park nearby? Might you enjoy yoga? Why not Google to find out what fitness activities take place nearby using a search term such as:

  • [Yoga near me]
  • [running group near me]
  • [dance classes near me]
  • [walking groups near me]

2. Reduce Stress

Over 50s yoga and fitness

Severe stress can have a very negative effect on your physical and mental health. Stress, in other words, can be a killer.

In your 50s, 60s, and 70s simplifying life can certainly be one good way to think in terms of stress reduction.

Work towards making life simpler.

  • Have a buy-to-let property that causes you constant stress? Could you manage as well financially without the stress property management causes you?
  • Do you watch the TV news every day and find it stresses you out? Why not stop watching it and read a book 30 minutes a day more?

Do you realize that 90% or more of the things we spend time worrying about, never in the end happen?

In other words, many of us spend a lot of worrying about things for no reason.

3. Focus on Avoiding Injury

Avoiding injury

Now I appreciate that whatever our age, we want to avoid injury where possible when exercising and keeping fit.

The issue though, as we get older, is that recovering from an injury tends to take quite a lot longer than when we were younger, i.e. when we were in our twenties or thirties.

This extra time spent recovering from injury means an extended amount of time missing fitness and that is exactly what we want to avoid.

So steady and regular fitness and exercise wins over taking the chance of over-doing it.

Stretching is vitally important, especially for us oldies! 🙂

4. Maintaining a Good Balance

It is especially important, as we get older, to try and get a mix of balance, weight, and flexibility-based exercise.

This in fact is why I find yoga so very good because it can combine all three.

Balancing on one leg doing yoga

Many of the injuries we get in later life occur because of balance!

Taking a tumble because we lack the balance we had in our younger years becomes far more common as we get older.

It is vital to do all we can to try and maintain a good sense of balance as we get older. Even doing daily some simple and quick exercises, such as balancing on one foot, can help.

I like to do 1 minute on each foot with my eyes open and then attempt to do one minute on each with my eyes closed.

It can take practice but you will soon see your balance improve!

Yoga is especially good for improving and maintaining good balance (sorry if I keep mentioning yoga)!

5. Ensure You Do Some Weight Bearing Exercise

Also, very important alongside maintaining good balance, is the need to ensure that you also do some weight-bearing exercise a few times a week.

Without giving the joints an opportunity to stay strong, they begin to weaken as we get older and this can lead to a range of issues including brittle bones.

Doing some weight-bearing exercise and/or a little work with some weights can greatly help.

Dare I say it, activities such as yoga and pilates can be especially good.

6. Keeping Flexibility

Flexibility is also very important to consider as we age in our 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The issue, especially for a lot of men, is that there can sometimes be too much focus on weights and very specific muscle groups, without enough focus on flexibility.

Sports that involve strength, movement, and flexibility including, for example, badminton and squash can be good, and dare I say it, an activity such as yoga can be particularly good for flexibility.

7. Keep the Cardio Working

We should still remember also to do some cardio and this can be something as simple as a brisk walk a couple of times a week.

In fact, this is a great article here from Healthline about the benefits of walking for cardio exercise.

Also, this article from Women’s Fitness further explains the benefits of walking as a cardio workout and I think is worth reading.

8. Get Regular Checkups

Regular medical checkups are important for people of all ages, but they’re especially important for those over 50.

At these checkups, your doctor will screen for conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Catching issues early is important.

Health checks for the over 50s (depending on what country you are in though) are often free, such as they are here in the UK.

9. Stay Socially Connected

Staying socially connected is important for people of all ages, but it’s especially important for those over 50.

Loneliness is a horrid thing and it can lead to stress, isolation, and other health issues.

Try to stay connected with family and friends, and participate in activities that you enjoy.

You can also consider looking at online tools such as meetup.com to find events in your local area.

Or alternatively, get online and do a Google search for terms such as:

  • [workshops near me]
  • [painting classes near me]
  • [your interest/hobby here near me]

In many countries, there is also a U3A (Third Age Trust) which is a social network for people over 50 years old, to meet up and do various activities, sports, hobbies, and so on.

10. Challenge Your Brain – Start New Hobbies & Exercise Your Mind

Challenging your brain can help keep it healthy and sharp.

Try to do activities that are mentally stimulating, such as reading, learning languages, playing an instrument, doing puzzles, or playing games.

Regular mind exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels.