How to stay fit in your golden years

If you want to live a long and plentiful life, you’ll need to stay healthy well into your golden years. And the key to doing so is to avoid being overweight, not over-eating, eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. You can look at the Age UK Mobility site for more ideas on how to stay healthy, but there’s no substitute for regular exercise and a good diet!


Most experts agree that the kind of lifestyle you lead is critical to maintaining your physical, cognitive and psychological health as you get older, so you need to cut out all of the bad food and habits if you want to live to a grand old age.

One of the main problems for older people is over-eating. By eating too many unhealthy foods you’ll pile on the pounds, and that prevents you from living an essential active lifestyle in the first place. So, it’s actually better to under-eat rather than over-eat.

“Under-eating slightly in the form of limited calorie intake is probably beneficial in the long run,” said Professor Mats Hammar, an expert on lifestyles. We are constructed to be able to take periods of shortage of food.” He warned older people against stuffing themselves to the gills at every meal, and recommends eating slightly less than your appetite demands, as the human body is designed to survive on minimal food intake. For women, around 1,500 calories a day is sufficient, while for men doctors recommend 1,800. That assumes they are reasonably active and eat a good diet consisting of essential vitamins, minerals and proteins we all need.

The problem with having too much body fat is that this fat is layered around your internal organs, and can impact your metabolism and increase the chance of you getting diabetes.

Also worth watching is your diet. Doctors recommend a Mediterranean style diet that’s rich in things like nuts, fruits, grains, vegetables, fish, olive oil, seafood and perhaps a moderate intake of wine. Older people should only eat smaller amounts of red meat, at the most twice a week. And of course, it goes without saying that you should avoid things like junk food, too many snacks, chocolate bars and cans of coke.

You’ll also need to keep an active lifestyle, taking regular exercise each day. This can range from spending an hour tending to the garden, to a brisk walk of 40 to 50 minutes a day. If you’re up to it, you can even play sports like badminton (but nothing too rough like rugby!). Another way to stay fit and active, assuming you no longer go to work every day, is to volunteer or spend lots of time with the grandkids. Ideally, doctors say a healthy adult needs to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, which equates to around six or seven kilometers a day. If you walk less than 5,000 steps a day, this is considered a “sedentary” lifestyle that isn’t healthy.

You can take some kinds of health supplements, such as vitamin D and selenium, to help boost your long-term health, but most of your nutritional intake should come from food.

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