It's father's day next weekend, and we wanted to focus on sharing some easy ways for men to stay healthy and lower their biological age. There are the obvious tips like eat a healthy diet, lower stress, and move the body, but we'd like to go a bit deeper into 5 key things for men to remember in order to stay on top of their health from age 50+ .
1. A Calcium Rich Diet
While keeping a balanced diet all around is important, focusing specifically on your bone and joint health is crucial for men over 50. As you age, you start to lose bone mass, and that's a problem because your bones protect your heart, lungs, and brain from injury. Plus, bone diseases like osteoporosis can increase your risk of painful fractures - which in turn can affect other areas of your health, especially keeping active.
It's important to get at least three servings of calcium-rich foods every day, like milk, yogurt, salmon, and leafy greens. Since your body can't make calcium on its own, you need to get enough of it through your diet. When you don't get enough calcium, your bones get weaker and will start to decay.
There are plenty of supplements out there, and tons of the foods we enjoy that are fortified with Vitamin C and D. Aim for roughly 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day and don't forget about vitamin D, too, since you can't absorb calcium without it.
2. Keep Active
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking, hiking or swimming) a week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
Physical activity is the best way for men over age 50 to improve their heart health, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. As well, keeping active helps reduce the risk of dementia.
Men who have not been active should consult their doctor before starting an exercise program and select activities they enjoy to ensure they stick to their routine.
Remember, keeping it simple and fun will likely encourage you to keep to your exercise routine, aerobic or cardio exercise gets the heart pumping and uses large muscle groups. Walking, biking, and swimming are all very enjoyable aerobic exercises and easy to commit to each week.
3. Exercise Your Brain
Now there is nothing wrong with taking some well deserved rest and relaxation during retirement, but it's now widely understood that sedentary lifestyle in our older years can be a real risk for our brain (let alone our heart). Try to limit the number of hours you spend watching TV or alike - remember healthy people have hobbies!
Other simple games or pastimes that activate our mind and memory are now widely agreed to do wonders for preventing forms of dementia. New research suggests the likes of sudoku, crosswords, card games and other activities that engage our memory are great ways to keep the mind fit.
Another important way to keep our minds sharp is to stay engaged with friends. A 2010 study in Chicago showed that those who felt more connected to their social network and their family were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer's. Seems like a great time to call some friends over for poker night!
Read More: Aortic Stiffness as a Reversible Indicator of Risk for Dementia
4. Keep Up With Regular Doctor Check Ups
The big four should always be on your mind when visiting with your physician for a regular check-up. Now this doesn't mean you need to be moving into the doctor's office. Most widely health professionals recommend men over 50 visit their physician for a screening and check-up once every year. Of course, listen to your body, and make arrangements to see your physician when you feel unwell or notice new or recurring pain. Of course, be aware of any family medical history that could pertain to you.
1. Cholesterol Check - a simple blood test at your next screening, depending on your medical history. The American Heart Association recommends men as young as 20 to think about getting a screening every 4-6 years.
2. Prostate Exam - prostate cancer is one of the most common, and most treatable diseases afflicting men as they age. A simple blood test can also detect early signs of prostate cancer, so make it a part of your next visit.
3. Blood Pressure - this is the easiest, painless and most noninvasive screening out there, and it can be done at some pharmacies as well as the doctor's office.
4. Colon Cancer - this is an important one to get done every year past age 50, there are few different types of screenings available, so talk to your doctor about which one is best for you and your health.
Men can be less than diligent about keeping up with their doctor's visits, at any age. Here's a great read on getting prepped for your next visits. Read the Guy's Guide To Doctor's Visits.
5. Sexual Health Matters
Several scientific studies suggest that chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease affect men's ability to perform sexually. The more severe the disease, the more severe the erectile dysfunction. Sex is an important part of maintaining our heart, brain and overall health at any age!
Dr. Fischer, representative of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America put it best in a recent article for Esquire Magazine - "If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to have sex into your 90s, you should be able to exercise, enjoy life, be happy. Happiness is the most important thing. They say that married men live longer than unmarried men. That's important, so have a great relationship. Stay connected to your friends. You have to feel connected."
Wishing all the dads out there a happy and healthy Father's Day!
We invite you to start tracking your health, measure your lifespan, and then extend it. Learn how you could find out your biological age in 30 seconds by measuring aortic stiffness - a total health metric that can keep you on track to thinking and feeling younger, longer.
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