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A healthy diet and exercise routine is important at any age but as you approach your second half-century it becomes absolutely essential. Your body will not be so forgiving of an unhealthy lifestyle at this age so it is vital that you set up some good habits that will keep you fit, well and active. That way you can look forward to enjoying those ‘empty nest’ years when your kids have left home and you have retired from your stressful job.

You still need to watch your weight

Once you reach your fifties and sixties, your body starts to slow down. This means that you do not need as many calories to keep you going as you did in your teens and your twenties! At the same time, your kids have grown up and so you are not running around after toddlers anymore. You may find that your activity levels have plummeted.

The overall result is that you are not burning up calories and the weight can creep on. For women, in particular, the menopause is often a time of weight gain as your hormonal profile changes radically. This is the time to give up the junk food and stick to healthy recipes to lose weight that you can prepare yourself.

This is also the age when you should be limiting your intake of saturated fats and drinking less alcohol. Your body will take longer to recover when you have had a drink so have several alcohol-free days a week.

Your palette is changing at this age and foods may seem to be losing their flavor. Do not compensate for this by adding loads of salt! Instead, use natural herbs and spices.


You need some gentle exercise

If you have never taken regular exercise, you will have to build it up slowly. Start off with some gentle exercises that will tone and stretch your body. Yoga and Pilates are good options. Then you can build up to swimming, brisk walking and eventually jogging. You may pick up an injury more easily than a young person but that does not mean that you have to stop. You just alter your exercise routine to what your body can cope with and gradually build up your stamina.

Exercise is vital for preventing strokes and heart attacks and can help to prevent diabetes. It is also important in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Don’t be scared of supplements

We don’t always get all the nutrients we need from our diet. If you are feeling tired or run down and lack energy or seem to have aches and pains all the time, do not just accept this as a natural part of getting older. Got to your doctor and ask them to run some blood tests. You may be lacking an essential vitamin such as Vitamin D and this is easily rectified with supplements. You may even be anemic and you can control this by eating an iron-rich diet or by taking iron supplements.