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Most Common Health Regrets People Have in Their 50s

Health and medical experts reveal 10 common regrets people have in their 50s. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There's certain mistakes in life that you can't come back from and not paying attention to your health is one of them. Once your health is gone, you can't get it back and that usually leads to serious regrets later on. While it's normal to look back and wish we had made a better choice in some areas of our lives, taking care of ourselves shouldn't be a missed opportunity—it should be a priority. As we reach our 50s, our bodies start to noticeably change and experts share what some of the most common health regrets are that people have at that age. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away".


Marrying the Wrong Person

wedding bands vintage

Dr. Ramandeep Sidhu, Board-Certified General Surgery, Vascular Surgery and founder of Vivaa which is a vascular, primary care, and aesthetic clinic shares, "I have come across patients who, in retrospect, realize that marrying the wrong person took the most toll on their health and wellness and if they had made the right choice for a life partner who had motivated them along the way to be a better version of themselves things would be a lot different."


Chasing the Wrong Goals in Life

man stressed at work at his desk

"A patient once told me that he had put in his maximum effort all his life to achieve his goals to realize later that he was running after the wrong things. All this wasted effort took a severe toll on his health, and he suffered from chronic depression," Dr. Sidhu reveals. 


Not Paying More Attention to Their Wellness

man experiencing muscle and back pain

Dr. Sidhu says, "I have come across many patients over 50 who regret that they could never pay attention to their wellness. Chasing money, power, or social acceptance always makes them put their fitness behind, and once they are over 50 years old, they realize all that is worthless if they do not have the health to enjoy them." 


Not Taking Time to Exercise

mature couple jogging outdoors

Dr. Sidhu states, "Many of my patients over the age of 50 years regret not taking time out to exercise and spending a sedentary lifestyle. The body and muscle aches that come with age make them realize they should have taken time for themselves." 


Making Bad Financial Decisions

Surprised senior mature woman counting bills at home.

Dr. Sidhu says, "Being a doctor, I can not stress enough the high correlation between poor financial decisions and bad health. I have seen many patients fall into the abyss of stress and anxiety due to deteriorating economic conditions. All it took was one wrong financial decision to cause it all."


Not Having a Way to Process Grief

Woman comforting anxious husband

Dr. Sunjya Schweig, MD, Founder and President of the California Center for Functional Medicine explains, "As a society, we are not taught or supported in learning to grieve in a safe and healthy way. Our sadness, grief, and trauma builds up over our lives and can contribute to and exacerbate almost any chronic illness. Learning to grieve is essential for our health and to have a vibrant, long life. One of our favorite resources is the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller."


Not Keeping Your Brain Active and Challenged

risk of alzheimers

Kent Probst, personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder with Long Healthy Life says, "Almost everyone wants to improve cognitive function. There are things you can do to improve cognitive function without drugs. A Mayo Clinic study published in the Medical Journal of Neurology found that people who engage in two or more mentally stimulating activities have a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment."


Not Finding Your Purpose

happy woman over 40 stretches on yoga mat

According to Probst, "Finding meaning and purpose in your life can be a powerful antidote to the adverse events that occur over the course of your life. A Yale University study found that individuals who had the most positive self perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those who had negative perceptions of aging. Other researchers have found that having a purpose in life resulted in better physical and mental health outcomes. Some examples of finding your passion may include promoting a charitable cause, finding a second career, taking up a creative hobby, or enjoying and looking forward to life's simple pleasures."


Not Keeping Stress Levels Down

man stressed in bed that he can't sleep

"There are many sources of stress in our lives, but if you let stress overwhelm you, it can result in many health problems," Probst states. "One of the secrets of healthy aging is to keep stress at a level where it doesn't have an adverse effect on your health. There are a number of options for reducing stress in your life. Taking a holistic approach will serve you well. Consider adding self-care activities such as meditation, spending time with nature, journaling and massage as ways of managing stress in your life."


Not Following a Diet that Promotes Healthy Aging


Probst emphasizes, "We're constantly bombarded by diet advice and the latest diet fads in the media. It's no wonder people are confused about what to eat. One of the secrets of healthy aging is to eat like people who live in the Blue Zones. Eating like people in the Blue Zones is essentially following the Mediterranean diet. Valter Longo, PhD, author of The Longevity Diet, has spent decades researching aging and improving the Mediterranean diet. Dr. Longo is the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences and the Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. The Longevity Diet is a clinically tested diet program, based on decades of research, to fight disease, maintain an ideal weight, and live a longer and healthier life." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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