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Over 50? Never Do These Things, Say Physicians

What doctors want you to know about healthy aging.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Want to enjoy a happy, healthy, and thriving lifestyle after 50? "The increase of human lifespans in the West and the aging American population has brought increased attention to what factors contribute to aging well. People are not only interested in longevity but how to remain in the best health in their later years," say Jane Fowler and Mark Kunik, MD, from the University of Montana. Here are five things you should never do over the age of 50, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Don't Forget About Bone Health

Orthopedics doctor showing senior patient a slipped disk on a backbone model.

Getting enough calcium and protein is important to help prevent osteoporosis. "We absorb less calcium as we age, and some women's ability to tolerate dairy — the best sources of calcium — also decreases as they get older," says Jason Ewoldt, RDN, LD. "Dark leafy greens and calcium-fortified orange juice are other good sources. Healthy plant-based diets that don't include meat, a major source of protein, can still provide plenty of protein if you make savvy choices." 


Don't Neglect Relationships

Senior woman conducting an interview

Maintaining healthy relationships are key to healthy aging, doctors say. "Basically, making sure you have healthy relationships with your significant other, your spouse, children, friends, all of those things, because that, having a good social health really makes a positive impact on any other illnesses that you may have," says Dr. Kyle Bradford Jones, family physician at the University of Utah. "So, that is a huge key to keep in mind."


Don't Skip Good Sleep


Sleep is essential for overall health and wellness, especially as we grow older. "Sleep is essential for optimal memory, learning, cognition, and mental health," according to Sophie Seward, MS, and Josiane Broussard, PhD, from Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging at CSU. "Insufficient sleep is associated with an elevated risk for depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline, and car crashes."


Don't Live a Sedentary Life

Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips

Keeping your body active is incredibly important for healthy aging, doctors say. "So, that seems pretty easy, but that is so important," says Dr. Jones. "So that's exercise, that's proper diet, making sure that you are eating the right things, drinking lots of water, trying to avoid junk food, soda, things like that. That is the biggest thing that's going to help prevent cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, depression as well as other things. So, if you are keeping those things in mind, you're going to age more healthfully. You're going to feel a lot better and you're also going to be happier."


Don't Ignore Brain Health

Tired senior hispanic man sleeping on dark blue couch, taking afternoon nap at the living room

Getting the right amount of vitamin B-12 is crucial for brain function over 50, experts say. "The best sources of vitamin B-12 are eggs, milk, lean meats, fish and fortified foods like cereals and grains," says Ewoldt. "Vegans, in particular, will need to choose more fortified foods, but even elderly people who eat all foods may have difficulty absorbing enough vitamin B-12."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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