5 Unhealthy Lifestyle Mistakes You’re Making After 50 – As you grow into your older years, life gets real—and fast. Your muscles typically lose flexibility, strength, and endurance, which can have a major impact on your stability, balance, and coordination, the Mayo Clinic explains. In addition, stiff arteries and blood vessels make your heart work on overdrive to ensure blood is being pumped properly throughout your body. And amid all of these age-related changes, it’s common to let some healthy habits fall by the wayside. Today, we’re going to break down some unhealthy lifestyle mistakes you’re making after 50 so you can ditch and fix them ASAP.
1. You’re consuming too much alcohol.
Eat This, Not That! spoke with Eric Casaburi, founder and CEO of Serotonin Centers, who tells us that an incredibly common mistake individuals over 50 make is not realizing how harmful alcohol consumption can be. Even if you consider yourself a “social drinker,” alcohol has zero health value and can result in some pretty harmful effects among the older population, Casaburi explains.
According to the National Institutes on Aging, consuming alcohol can exacerbate any preexisting health issues. It can also be extremely hazardous if interacted with certain medications. Another scary thing you should know is that some older adults experience the effects of alcohol more than others without even drinking more. This can increase their risk of suffering from fractures, falls, and other accidents.
2. You’re not performing strength training.
If you think you’re “too old” to perform strength training, think again! Not working strength training into your routine is one of the worst health mistakes after 50.
“[Adults over 50 may] think, ‘Well, I’m gaining weight or getting fatter, so let me do more cardio activities like walking, jogging, or cycling,’ when in fact the most important activity they can do for health and mortality reduction is strength train and build muscle mass, or at least maintain the muscle mass they have,” Casaburi explains.
This form of exercise can help you avoid injuries like falls or broken hips, which Casaburi says is “a leading killer of elderly due to loss of mobility and rapid decline.”
3. You’re not consuming enough fiber.
Structural changes in the large intestine make it much more likely for older adults to become constipated, the Mayo Clinic explains. Not getting enough physical activity, not drinking enough H2O, and not consuming a high-fiber diet can also lead to constipation.
It’s integral to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The Mayo Clinic also recommends limiting dairy products, fatty meats, and sweets, which—you guessed it—can make you constipated.
4. You’re eating too many inflammatory foods.
Inflammatory foods are bad news—science says so. Although they’re quite tempting, it’s time to ditch fried foods and snacks like pastries, cookies, and chips. Your health will seriously thank you!
Research shows that consuming too many inflammatory foods can speed up brain aging, which could result in dementia. Another study revealed that individuals who stuck with an anti-inflammatory diet that contained more beans, veggies, fruits, and coffee or tea, experienced a decreased risk of dementia down the line.
5. You’re not getting out and socializing.
Sure, planning cozy nights at home may sound tempting, but a catch-up session with family or friends can go a long way—especially as you get older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social isolation and feelings of loneliness are major public health risks that are impacting a substantial amount of individuals throughout the country. Feeling lonely and socially isolated can increase your risk of developing dementia and other serious health concerns. Research even shows that social isolation, specifically, heightens your chance of suffering from an early death.