A clean bill of health is easy to maintain when we are young. However, as we age, it can become more difficult to stave off common health problems that usually hit by middle age. For men, this can include heart attack, stroke, prostate problems, gallstones, broken bones, as well as vision and memory loss.
If you are over the age of 50, it is essential to try and prevent these health problems before they can damage your good health. Just follow these eight health tips for men 50+:
1. Exercise Regularly
The benefits of regular exercise are plentiful at any age. But when men reach the age of 50, the risk for age-related cognitive decline increases. Exercise becomes particularly important. Scientists have found that performing a regular aerobic exercise routine may help to reduce age-related loss of gray matter in the brain – the region associated with cognition and memory.1
In addition, regular aerobic exercise and resistance training can aid in reducing bone loss, a common problem for aging men.2
2. Lose Extra Weight
Those stubborn extra pounds lingering around your midsection may be bothersome at 30, but for men in their 50s, they can be deadly. Studies have shown that excess belly fat may actually be a predictor of cardiovascular disease and death in middle-aged men.3
Additionally, belly fat has been linked to premature death, even in people who are not overweight. It’s just one more reason to lose those extra, unwanted pounds.4
3. Eat More Vegetables
It’s hard enough to get kids to eat their vegetables. But it can be even harder to convince a man over 50 to eat them. However, this one fact may change your mind if you are a 50+ man – vegetarian diets have been clinically linked to lower mortality.5
Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. So switch it up this week and make it a meatless Monday! Eating more vegetables, even just one day a week, can make a big difference to your health.6
4. Switch Your Salt
A low-sodium diet is a great way to reduce the risk of heart disease in men over 50. But as Americans, we love to salt our food. If you want to reduce your health risks associated with salt intake, you can still follow a low sodium diet (1,500 to 2,400 mg of sodium per day) and get the nutrition you need by making one simple swap in the kitchen. Trade out your table salt for Himalayan pink salt. It is far more nutritious than table salt, and it contains naturally occurring calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, with less sodium than refined salt.
5. Adopt a Pet
The benefits of owning a pet are many, and research suggests there might be health benefits as well. One study from the University College London (UCL) followed 10,000 participants and found that men over 50 were the most likely group to live a solitary life cut off from social activities.6
If you are a man over the age of 50, consider increasing your social network by adopting a cat or dog from your local shelter. The human-animal bond has been shown to offer the social support needed by people as they age.7
6. Call Your Doctor
Discussing your family’s medical history is vital, so you can understand and possibly head off future problems. Even if you are healthy, call your doctor to discuss your family history, including any health problems your grandparents, parents, or siblings had. Over time, it could save your life. If you know you are at a higher risk for heart disease, or for certain other ailments, you can take aggressive steps to stave off problems.
7. Quit Smoking
If you smoke and are over the age of 50 – stop right now. There are no ways around it: Smoking is deadly. And it greatly increases your risk of serious health problems over 50. It is never too late to quit!
8. Get Sexy
Things change for men over 50 … down there. And what used to work in the sack may not work anymore. For example, erections at 40 may have only required a sexual fantasy, but men over 50 may need a little extra sexiness in order to get their blood pumping. But don’t mistake a slow rise for erectile dysfunction (ED). It is very common, and many health problems can impair erections, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Fifty+ Never Looked Better!
Men over the age of 50 face some very specific health problems. And while getting regular health screenings from your doctor can help, it is important to address your own personal risks with these eight tips. Taking charge of your own health now will pay off in huge ways in the future.
1. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, Charles Hillman. The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. Compr Physiol. Mar 13.
2. Layne JE, Nelson ME. The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jan;31(1):25-30.
3. Larsson B, Svärdsudd K. Abdominal adipose tissue distribution, obesity, and risk of cardiovascular disease and death: 13 year follow up of participants in the study of men born in 1913. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1984
4. Karine R. Sahakyan, MD, PhD, MPH; Virend K. Somers, MD, PhD. Normal-Weight Central Obesity: Implications for Total and Cardiovascular Mortality. December 2015.
5. Vegetarian Diets Linked to Lower Mortality. National Institutes of Health. June 10, 2013.
6. Renata Micha, Georgios Michas. Unprocessed Red and Processed Meats and Risk of Coronary Artery Disease and Type 2 Diabetes – An Updated Review of the Evidence. 2013 Dec 1.
7. Dana Casciotti, PhD and Diana Zuckerman, PhD. The benefits of pets for human health.