There’s no denying it: staying healthy can be tricky.
Between work, family commitments and day-to-day chores, fitting in a workout or cooking a healthy meal can seem daunting.
Getting healthy can be fun, and have a really positive impact on your later years.
To help you build a healthier, happier life, we’ve collected our five favourite tips for getting started.
Remember – it helps to start small.
Whether your aim is to eat more wholegrains or go swimming twice a week, you can build yourself up gradually.
You might want to chat to your doctor before making any big changes to your diet or fitness.
1. Eat right – and treat yourself!
It’s easy for people to say ‘just eat healthier’. What’s harder is knowing what to actually eat!
A good start is the Mediterranean diet. This means lots of vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, fish, unsaturated fats like olive oil, plus less meat and dairy.
And don’t worry – it doesn’t mean cutting out that chocolate éclair or glass of wine completely. Just enjoy them every now and then.
You don’t have to change your whole diet at once. To start, you could just try swapping unhealthy snacks for pieces of fruit.
2. Find an exercise you really enjoy
Any exercise routine is easier to stick to if you really love it. To find out what you might enjoy, ask yourself:
Can you do the exercise close to home? Do you like to exercise alone or in a group? What sports did you enjoy when you were young? Is there a sport you’ve always wanted to try?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know what classes and groups to look for.
Or if you’d rather just head out solo, you can just grab your trainers and go!
Facebook is a great way to find local exercise groups near you. If you can’t find one that’s right, you could even start one yourself.
3. Challenge yourself
Keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active.
You don’t have to try huge, scary challenges, either.
Even just cooking a new recipe can get your brain ticking.
Why not try a crossword, go to a local talk or watch a TV documentary?
If you’re craving something really new, try learning a language or reading up on a new subject.
You could even join a book club, which would introduce you to new people, too.
It’s always fun to learn a new instrument. These days, you can often pick up affordable second-hand instruments online.
4. Stay social
Spending time with people we love is great for our mental health, and it helps to keep our thinking sharp.
It’s recommended we spend time with someone every day. So if your friends and family are close by, try and see them as much as possible.
Another way to be sociable is to try volunteering or join a local group.
There are lunch clubs, rambling groups, pottery classes…the list goes on! You’ll meet people of all ages, which can be really energising.
Why not try an over 50s social networking site? They can be a great way to meet new friends.
5. Focus on your mind as well as your body
Getting older can be a wonderful time of your life.
But sometimes coping with change can be hard, whether you’re faced with children leaving the nest, retirement, or moving away from friends.
The important thing to remember is that being over 50 doesn’t mean losing your health and happiness!
To help your mental health, try and express your feelings as much as possible.
Talk to friends and family, and try and focus on the positives.
And if you’re feeling low or anxious, you can always chat to your doctor.
Try keeping a diary, so you can write your feelings down, and write a daily list of things you’re grateful for.