What changes does the body undergo after age 50? How to prevent diseases associated with aging? Is it possible to live long and well? From the age of 30 approximately, the metabolism slows down and this is associated with different inflammatory phenomena such as weight gain. Excess weight, and even more so when there is obesity, it is a strong risk factor for Noncommunicable Diseases (ENT).
“Obesity in adults is one of the determining factors that explain the growth of the main causes of mortality and morbidity in the world. It is estimated that a large part of the NCD burden is attributable to excess weight, mainly in the case of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and various types of cancers”, Ruled the last National Survey of Risk Factors (ENFR), published in 2019 with data up to 2018.
According to it, physical activity was reduced by almost 55% in relation to the previous survey, with data from only 5 previous years; So what obesity grew by almost 75% between 2005 and 2018. “As age increased, an increase in low physical activity was observed.”
In dialogue with Infobae, the doctor Monica Katz, founder of the Eating Disorders Team of the Durand Hospital and former president of the Argentine Society of Nutrition (SAN), assured that from the age of 50 the aging process has certain characteristics that include sarcopenia, which refers to the “decrease in muscle in which fat mass rises and muscle mass is reduced “; and ostiopenia, in which “bone mineral density begins to decrease ”.
“That is why it is important to maintain a good weight throughout life, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25, and even more so after 50, due to the associated diseases that appear at that age” Katz emphasized. In addition, the loss of muscle and bone mass increases the risk of people suffering falls and fractures. Along these lines, it is also important to strengthen the immune system.
In this sense, the doctor Zulem the Carpenter, Head of the Nutrition and Diabetes service of the Milstein Hospital, of PAMI, and also former president of the SAN, emphasized to Infobae that “obesity must be prevented because that will lead to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in the future.”
In addition, Katz said, 50 women have one more element: fat redistribution. Until that moment, it was more localized in the hips, buttocks, abdomen and legs, and from that age it is redistributed: waist is lost and fat in the trunk increases. Stolarza also explained that a relevant issue is sexual relations, since many women of that age no longer menstruate: “since there is no menstruation, it is also important to have sex with a condom, to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.”
“The good news is that there are different actions that can be taken to prevent complications,” Katz told infobae. “Aging is inevitable, it is a normal process that is generated from the day we are born, but it is possible to maintain it in a subpathological way, that is, without getting sick”, added. And he exclaimed: “At that age, you have to start thinking about how you want to live at 70, and for that you have to have a good 50”. “It is possible to age in good health if you have all the care,” said Stolarza.
Dr. Monica Katz recommended paying attention to Five important variables for staying healthy after age 50: staying active, good sleep hygiene, taking care of your diet, proper stress management and social life.
1. Stay active
In every daily action, keep this premise in mind. When taking a bus, for example, get off one stop earlier to walk; when making purchases, go in person instead of requesting a home delivery; and so with each activity.
In addition, carry out scheduled physical activity, which combines aerobic exercises with other load-bearing exercises. If you can’t use weights, you can opt for silicone bands.
2. Sleep hygiene
It is important to sleep at night, on a regular schedule and at least 7 hours, to prevent complications.
“Sleep is a state of transitory and physiological unconsciousness”, explained to Infobae Dr. Sofía Luján, a neurologist at the FLENI sleep laboratory. “When we sleep, energy is restored or conserved; mood and pain threshold are regulated; free radicals (waste) produced during the day are eliminated; and hormones are regulated, reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders ”.
“Sleeping well improves memory, increases learning ability, helps balance weight, collaborates with the production of hormones, helps protect the heart, contributes to a stronger immune system. In addition, it improves mood, generates more energy, the person looks more attractive (fresh face) and collaborates with cervical, lumbar and dorsal pain in almost 63%. Sleep not only takes care of the body but also takes care of the mind ”, explained a Infobae Damián Siano, specialist in traumatology and orthopedics, sports medicine and regenerative medicine.
3. Stress management
You need to find a suitable way to manage stress. In this sense, one can resort to the concept of “time out”, which refers to leaving the present situation for a few minutes, to change the mental state. In those minutes, you can walk, water plants, pet a pet, have an infusion, talk on the phone with a loved one, look out the window or any other activity.
“Stress is a huge factor in the growth of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’sKatz said. “Anything to do with stress impairs the immune system, and unmanaged chronic stress leads to depression,” he added.
Proper nutrition is essential to improve the quality of life and age in a healthy way.
Katz recommendations to achieve this:
– Half of what you eat should be fruit and vegetables.
– Eat “good fats” found in fish, olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados.
– Eat less meat and more fish.
– It is recommended that half of the flours consumed be of integral origin.
– Consume fermented foods daily: sauerkraut, kefir, miso or yogurt.
– After age 50, the number of calories your body needs is generally reduced. If you are active, you need more, and if you are sedentary, less.
– Reduce the consumption of sodium and foods with added sugars.
– Do not use tobacco.
– If a person consumes alcohol, it is important to do so in a moderate way because it is one of the drinks with the most calories: it has 7 calories per gram, while sugar drinks have 4. In addition, its excess can generate fatty liver.
5. Take care of social life
According to Katz, in terms of healthy life prevention, one of the fundamental elements after 50 is to maintain an important social life: it is not necessary to have many friends but a supportive social network. Thus, it is important to have “a secure attachment contact in adulthood,” someone to count on. Furthermore, “when you talk with a friend, or with someone who has a positive effect, stress decreases. Not to mention the physical contact, the meeting and the hug ”.
“There are studies that show that the lack of social relationships or social isolation are associated with a greater number of diseases in general, health problems, pressure and early death,” he said. “It is always good to belong to different groups, to participate in community activities beyond close relationships, the issue is that getting involved with other people generates a powerful and positive impact on health.”