Healthy Tips for Each Decade- 50s and Beyond

This week we continue our theme of how to stay healthy through the decades.

5 Tips for 50s:

See the world, and exercise, too. Traveling for work or pleasure shouldn’t derail your healthy habits. Physical therapists can suggest exercises you can do on the go, anywhere.

Bone up on your bone health. Menopause contributes to increased loss of bone density, making bones more brittle and prone to breaking. The older you get, the more important it becomes to get the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D, and perform weight-bearing or resistance exercises 30-60 minutes at least 3 times per week.

Imitate a flamingo. If you can’t stand on one leg for 5-10 seconds, that’s a sign your balance needs immediate improvement. Don’t let a fall be your wakeup call.

Be active every day. The older you get, the more important it becomes to be vigilant about your health. Each week, you want 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, 1.25 hours of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination of the two. The best way to do that is to strive for activity every day.

Get a second opinion. People in their 50s often experience the first major signs of aging. If you’ve tried to manage your health on your own thus far, now is the time to get off of the Internet and in front of a physical therapist, who can provide an expert assessment of your health that will be key to your ability to maintain your independence.

6 Tips for 60s and Beyond:

Take the pressure off. Regular physical activity is more crucial than ever, but if aches and pains are making walking or jogging a chore, move some of your exercise to a pool, where you can work just as hard with less pounding.

Get balanced. One-third of adults over age 65 are likely to fall each year, and those falls will lead to more than 700,000 hospitalizations. Unfortunately, too many people realize they are falls-prone when they experience their first fall. Be proactive. See a physical therapist for a balance assessment and a personalized improvement program.

Preserve your mental health with physical activity. People who are physically active—even later in life—are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease.

Maintain your intensity! Studies show that people in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older can make improvements in strength and physical function, which is associated with improved health and quality of life. But that can’t happen unless your physical activity is intense enough to produce gains in muscle strength. Don’t do this alone. A physical therapist can prescribe an exercise dosage adequate enough to generate results.

Strive for 60 minutes. Not the TV show! Set a goal to be physically active 60 minutes a day. You don’t have to do it all once. Ten-minute increments count too.

Team up. If you’re retired, what better way to stay close to longtime colleagues than to make time to walk together? Whatever the activity, doing things as a team will keep you accountable and provide social interaction.

Reference: Healthy Tips for Each Decade.

Submitted by: Katesel Strimbeck PT, MS is the Director of Rehabilitation Services at North Country Hospital. Katesel has been a practicing PT for 19 years. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).