It’s that time of year again when people make New Year’s resolutions—most of them having to do with improving their health. The problem is that these changes are often short-lived and short-sighted. No matter what your age, however, you can make a health difference that can last a lifetime—a resolution revolution of sorts—so let’s look at some general observations for those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s+.
The 30s: It’s definitely life in the fast lane, but you may notice an expanding waistline, a loss of muscle tone, decreased energy levels and a sense that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything you’re expected to do—including eating right and exercising.
Be sure to eat healthy proteins like wild-caught fish and organic grassfed meats, as well as fruits and vegetables and healthy whole grains. For women, bone mass loss begins during the 30s, so add cultured dairy products for calcium and vitamin D. For men, heart health becomes more of a concern in the late 30s, so include heart-healthy fiber in your diet. In your 30s, your body is still able to handle a more rigorous exercise regimen, so include weight-lifting, resistance training that doesn’t use weights and aerobic activity.
The 40s: Increased job responsibilities combine with complex family demands to create a decade that can determine your health over the next few decades.
Women, eat for hormonal balance, bone and heart health. Include wild-caught fish, flaxseeds, fermented soy and fresh vegetables and fruits. Nuts and seeds like walnuts and almonds are high in calcium and healthy fats. Men, eat healthy proteins and healthy fats: fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips and cabbage.
For women, exercise can include resistance training and endurance exercise. For men, try aerobic activity, strength-building bench presses, deadlifts, chin ups, dips, lunges and military presses.
The 50s: Whether you’re an empty nester, grandparent or changing careers, staying healthy in your nifty 50s pays off. Women, select a diet rich in omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D, and be sure to include weight-bearing exercises in your health regimen.
Men, bolster your strength, heart health and overall health by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a diet rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
The 60s+: Think Jack LaLanne. Eat power-packed foods with nutrients that many folks who are 60+ fall short of—crucial vitamins (Vitamin E, C, D and B6), minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron), and antioxidants (such as Vitamin C, E, A and polyphenols, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and selenium).
Seventy percent of women ages 51-70 and 90% of women over 70 don’t get enough vitamin D, so don’t skimp on vitamin D-packed foods. Digestion may also be sluggish, so eat foods rich in probiotics, enzymes and fiber. Men in their 60s often don’t get enough Vitamin E, C, B6, D, niacin, calcium, magnesium, iron or zinc, so eat foods high in these nutrients along with healthy proteins and fats. Walking, climbing stairs, swimming, dancing and playing tennis are some exercises that may interest you if you’re 60+.
Forget about making a resolution this year. Instead, make a health revolution by choosing a lifetime of wellness to last you through the decades.