Studies have found that people have the potential to be their happiest in their 50s. If you are in your 50s with many of life’s challenges well behind you, you may agree. Perhaps you have a little more free time – more time to focus on what fulfills you. More time to find new interests. More freedom and flexibility.
However, your 50s can also be a time of some physical decline for those not staying vigilant about their health. A slower pace of life can also induce boredom and even depression. Physical aches and other medical conditions can begin to show up, seemingly out of nowhere, leaving you with a feeling of hopeless.
On the other hand, there is good news! In your 50s, you are still young enough to stay fit – or even to get fit if you aren’t already. And you are also young enough to learn new habits, adopt new ways of thinking, and adapt to new lifestyle changes that will leave you happier than ever – like these:
- Eating smarter – Including more healthy fats, like those found in salmon, almonds, and avocados, has been shown to improve heart health. Eating more fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and other sources of whole grains, are great choices for bodies with slower metabolisms. Be sure to drink your milk, too – or find calcium in other foods like low-fat cheeses.
- Exercise – It’s never too late to start the latest exercise craze – or to return to a sport you loved in your youth. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of memory problems later in life, keep your joints strong and flexible, and lower your risk of heart problems and cancer. Whether you enjoy a brisk walk, a jog in the park, yoga, or even weight lifting, exercise is great at any age – and using technology to track your progress is a great way to stay on track and accountable to yourself. Smartphone apps and wearable gadgets abound and can help you improve your health one step at a time.
- Continue to learn – This phase of life is the perfect time to learn something new – like a musical instrument, a foreign language, a craft or technical skill, or even a new vocation that can turn you into a budding entrepreneur. Science shows us that learning actually keeps our brains healthy, in addition to making us happier people.
- Socialize – In our 50s, many of us are starting to find ourselves with empty nests. That makes it a great time to build our social circles. Host a book or dinner club. Organize a block party. Make new friends. Even a new friend with four legs can be a great addition to your life – and pet owners have been found to have lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Go figure, and go adopt today!
- Take care – Even if you aren’t the type to dutifully visit your physician’s office once every year, make it a habit in your 50s. Staying on top of your health with regular well checks in your 50s can help you identify early signs of manageable, treatable conditions – before they become debilitating. In other words, visiting the doctor now while you are still healthy can help keep you that way for decades more to come.
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