(BPT) - While 50 may not be the new 30, you still have a lot of time and energy to do the things you love in this season of your life. You may even find that you have more time now and less stress than in previous decades, which means you can do more of the things you love.
However, to make sure that you can continue to enjoy your independence as you age, it’s important to have a lifestyle that promotes lifelong health. You probably already know that you should continue to eat healthily and stay physically active as you get older, but you can do plenty of other things to improve your quality of life.
Check out these five tips that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle after 50.
1. Don’t skip your yearly physical
While everyone at every age should have an annual physical, it’s especially important to have routine medical exams to create a baseline for your health and to catch and treat health problems early on.
In addition to a regular physical exam, men over 50 should discuss prostate cancer screenings with their health care provider. Similarly, women should ask their doctors about breast cancer screenings as well as bone mineral density screenings to stay ahead of osteoporosis.
2. Adopt a pet
Whether you’re an empty nester looking to fill the space your kids left when they went to college or simply looking for companionship, consider adopting a pet. Cats and dogs, in particular, are furry friends that can have positive effects on your physical and mental health.
There are several studies that point to pet ownership as a contributing factor to a healthy lifestyle. For example, a study in Sweden found that people aged 40-80 who owned a dog decreased their risk of death by 33% and cardiovascular-related death by 36% compared to those without a pet. Petting a dog or cat can also lower your stress and potentially deter depression and other mood disorders.
3. Invest in your vision health
At 50, you may find that while your eyesight is still sharp, you may need reading glasses or a stronger eyesight prescription. These changes are a natural part of getting older, so it’s important that you continue to schedule routine eye exams to stay on top of your vision health.
Vision insurance is an important tool for maintaining eye health. If you don’t have access to employer-sponsored vision insurance, you can find affordable individual vision plans from VSP Direct. Plans start as low as $13 per month and give you access to the largest independent doctor network. To find a vision insurance plan that works best for you, visit VSPDirect.com.
4. Be a lifelong learner
As you age, your cognitive abilities naturally slow down, but one way to combat cognitive decline is to learn a new skill. According to Harvard Health, enrolling in a class to learn a new language, subject or skill provides new information and experiences that stimulate new brain cell growth even in older adults.
5. Get your teeth checked regularly
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, you should have a dental checkup twice a year. This is especially important for aging adults as your teeth take a lot of wear and tear over the years. Going to the dentist regularly can help prevent future oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.
If you need dental insurance, VSP has partnered with Guardian Direct to provide affordable dental insurance plans. It’s easy to add on a dental plan to a new or existing vision insurance plan. To learn more, visit VSPDirect.com/Dental-Insurance.
Be proactive and start investing in your future today. Using these five tips, you can ensure you can continue doing the things you enjoy with the people you love for years to come.