Hello age 50: Top 5 health habits for men

Hello age 50: Top 5 health habits for men

Turning 50 is definitely a milestone birthday.  It’s an age where you’re too old to be considered “young” but too young to be considered “old.” You’re at an age where if you’ve taken good care of yourself over the first 5 decades, you should enter your sixth decade in good shape.

For men, reaching age 50 is quite a feat.  Some men will welcome 50 with little wear and tear on their body while other men will enter this phase of his life showing more of a toll from years of bad habits. These men may already have developed health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension or elevated cholesterol levels. 

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The good news is it’s not too late to get in better shape and in better health.  Although it may be difficult, with motivation and hard work, it’s possible and very worth it.  Below are 5 healthy habits and smart lifestyle choices to look and feel years younger, and more importantly, live a longer quality life. 

1.  Eat a healthy balanced diet

They say abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym.  How true.  What you choose to eat day in and day out make a huge difference in your overall health and fitness.  If over the years you’ve downed more spicy wings and beer than spinach salad and fresh fruit, it’s not too late to change. 

Now is the time to make every bite count.  To lose excess body weight, have at least 5 servings (preferably up to 9) of fruits and vegetables daily.  Be sure to include whole grains, lean protein and dairy, nuts, seeds, beans, poultry, and fatty fish. The closer the food is to how Mother Nature makes it, the better. 

Stay away from highly processed foods such as chips, fried foods, sugary beverages and too much alcohol.  Eat 3 balanced meals a day approximately 4-5 hours apart with at least 3 different types of food at each meal – a protein source, a fruit and/or vegetable, and a whole grain or beans.  Eating in this manner will provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs over the course of the day, while stabilizing blood sugar levels preventing highs or lows.

2.  Cut back on salt

Most men love their salty snacks – chips, pretzels, cheese, bread and fried foods.  But this is a mistake for men as a 2013 study found that one in 10 deaths in the U.S. is connected to eating too much salt with sixty percent of those deaths occurring in men. 

The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of salt/sodium a day – it is recommended to stay between 1500-2300 milligrams a day, especially after age 50.  Too much sodium and too little potassium raise your blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease.  Go for heart-healthy foods such as leafy greens or add in more potassium rich foods like bananas, melons, milk, sweet potatoes, and yogurt. 

3.  Protect your prostate

If a man really wants to take charge of his prostate, urinary, and sexual health, he needs to start seeing a urologist regularly at the age of 40.

Once past the age of 40, certain quality-of-life issues can come up which can include prostate health. Urologists are experts in managing these issues along with other issues affecting the urinary tract and male reproductive system.

Beginning at age 40 is when a man should get a baseline prostate specific antigen test (PSA) to assess the health of his prostate. If a man waits until age 50 the risk for prostate cancer greatly increases. Men as young as 40 can and do get prostate cancer and it is often more aggressive in younger men.

Starting a first baseline PSA at age 40 will help detect early prostate cancer and give a baseline level for comparison with future PSA tests. The earlier prostate cancer or other prostate conditions can be diagnosed and treated, the higher likelihood of becoming cancer free and avoiding problems with the prostate.

4.  Have a regular exercise routine

Exercise is a must for all of us. We are given a body with two legs making us mobile for a reason — and it's not to be in a seated position most of the day. Not only does regular exercise reduce the risk of many diseases such as cardiovascular, stroke and diabetes, but it reduces stress and anxiety while improving sleep.

A regular, consistent exercise routine is the secret to keeping off the pounds keeping you fit and trim.  There is nothing more impressive than a physically fit man past the age of 50. 

Physical activity can be found in a variety of ways from weight lifting, running, walking, hiking, bicycling, swimming, playing tennis, golf, or any other number of ways to get yourself moving.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate to vigorous exercise which is equivalent to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

5.  Safeguard sexual health

A man’s sex life or lack thereof, is everything.  Maybe things aren’t quite like they were in your 20’s but then again, maybe better.  Since there are so many benefits sex provides, let’s count the ways:

·      Sex releases the hormones of endorphins and oxytocin (feel-good hormones) that activate pleasure centers in the brain.  Feelings of anxiety and depression are reduced leading to an improved perspective on life. 

·      Having sex at least once a week helps increase higher levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA).  IgA is an antibody playing a critical role in healthy immune functioning.

·       Men who orgasm two times a week have a 50 percent lower chance of mortality than those who climax one time per month.   

·      Men who have sex two to three times per week have a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular disease then men who only have sex a few times a month or less.  

·      Consistent sex involving mutual pleasure increases bonding between a couple stimulating feelings of affection, intimacy, and closeness.  Sex can lead to a better quality of life for a man.    

Unless a man is in a mutually long-term monogamous relationship, he should always practice safe sex by wearing a condom safeguarding against sexually transmitted diseases