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10 Tips for Healthy Living After 50
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10 Tips for Healthy Living After 50

Taking good care of yourself is important throughout your life. As you get older, it takes on even more significance. Your body requires more maintenance and upkeep than it did earlier in life, not only for good physical health but good mental and emotional health, too. Sticking to a few basics can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle in every way.

Eat Your Vegetables
Along with your vegetables, add in fruits, lean protein, whole grains and lots of water. Essentially, "make the healthy choice the easy choice," says Jim Kauffman, national director for health and well-being for YMCA of the USA in Chicago. For example, "fill a water bottle at the beginning of the day, and put it right in front of you," he says. Also, "don't eat out of a package. If you do, only get the correct portion size."

Take a Walk
Walking is the easiest physical activity we can incorporate into our daily schedule. Whether walking the dog or going for a stroll with the grandkids, the goal is to get up and move. Take it up a notch by including a walking pole, says Peggy Buchanan, director of fitness, aquatics and physical therapy for Vista del Monte, a Front Porch retirement community in Santa Barbara, California. This provides upper-body strength training in addition to a good cardio workout, she says.

Hit the Sack
Getting a good night's sleep is crucial to maintaining good health. It gives the body time to rest and recuperate, plus the brain has an opportunity to recharge. To make sure you're getting the most from your dream time, Kauffman recommends placing all mobile devices -- smartphones, tablets, laptops -- in another room so it's not the last thing you see at night or the first thing you see in the morning. You also won't be distracted by flashing lights and vibrations.

Get Screened
Having regular checkups helps you and your doctor stay up to date on what's going on with your body. As part of this, it's important to have regular health screenings for such things as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis, says Dr. Joel Blass, medical director at Workmen's Circle Multicare Center in Bronx, New York. In addition, talk to your doctor about any vaccines you may need, such as those for the flu, pneumonia, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus.

Limit Your Vices
To maintain optimal health, Blass suggests reducing alcohol consumption to an occasional drink. Although you don't have to cut it out completely (unless your doctor recommends doing so), Blass does say drinking in moderation is the best idea. He also says it's important to eliminate all tobacco use, regardless of type or frequency.

Be Social
Maintaining social connections provides a great boost to your emotional and mental well-being. Whether it's a cookout or going to a movie, make time for family and friends, says Dr. Francine Lederer, clinical psychologist at LA Talk Therapy in Los Angeles. You don't have to be a social butterfly, just have a few people that you consistently connect with. "In order for people to thrive, they need that sort of emotional and mental connection with other people," Lederer says.

Boost Your Brainpower
Being mentally strong is another way to stay healthy for many years. To strengthen your brain, Lederer says you should exercise your mind and memory often. Ways to do this include reading, watching a movie, playing thinking games like checkers, chess and Scrabble, and doing word puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku.

Spend Time Outside
Breathing in some fresh air and basking in the sun's rays can do wonders for a healthy lifestyle. Just 15 to 20 minutes per day of sunlight can generate the vitamin D you need, although you should ask your doctor if you need a supplement. Lederer recommends getting that sunlight first thing in the morning. "Morning sunlight provides the biggest boost to serotonin, which boosts our mood," she says.

Get Busy in the Bedroom
While there are those folks who rather not discuss it, having a healthy sex life is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. "Sexual needs are a normal, healthy part of growing and should continue to be a part of your life," Lederer says. In fact, a healthy sex life bodes well for all areas of health: physical, mental and emotional.

Get an Attitude Adjustment
One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to have a great attitude, Buchanan says. "Be optimistic!" she adds. Keeping things positive and upbeat helps keep your mental and emotional well-being in good shape. And when we feel good mentally and emotionally, it's that much easier to do the things we should for good physical health.