Men After Age 50
Are you approaching your 50th birthday with trepidation, afraid of what may be beyond? You might find that as you reach the age of 50 and onwards, your body begins to change in some noticeable ways. Men don’t go through an actual menopause phase as women do, and we continue to produce sperm and be fertile into old age. The stage men experience is called andropause and the bodily changes are all related to fluctuations in hormone levels.1
Levels of testosterone and androgen may decrease over time and with lifestyle changes such as new medications, leading to late-onset hypogonadism.2 This starts at around the age of 30 and proceeds at a rate of around 1% every year. Not every man experiences this dip in testosterone, but those of us who do may have some unpleasant aftereffects such as losing body hair, a low sex drive, less energy, weight gain and in rare cases, even hot flashes.2
You may notice that you’re not as physically strong as you were in the past. Perhaps your workouts have become more difficult to complete, and you don’t understand why. Meanwhile, you’ve been putting on weight without overeating. There’s actually a perfectly normal reason why these things might be happening, and it’s all related to age-specific body changes. Men actually lose muscle mass over the years, starting at the age of 30 and proceeding at a rate of 3-5% every 10 years. This is referred to as ‘sarcopenia’. In the course of a lifetime, the muscle mass of the average man will decrease by about 30%. Bone mass will also diminish.3 Our metabolism also slows down with age, making it harder to keep a steady weight.
Supplementing for Men over 50
Our nutritional needs change with age, related to fluctuations in metabolism and a decrease in physical activity. We need fewer calories, yet men over 70 have specific nutrients they require to replace those that are lost with the passing years. The body has a more challenging task absorbing nutrients over time, which is all the more reason to take supplements to replace them. 1 Researchers have created a new Food Pyramid aimed at older adults. It suggests drinking much more water, and to supplement calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.4
The natural decrease in testosterone as we age is something that bothers some men, especially when they begin to lose muscle mass and put on weight. There are some very popular natural supplements on the market like HF Labs Delta Prime, which are designed to support your testosterone levels and help you continue to exercise like you are used to doing.
Diet Tips for Men over 50
With a slower metabolism cutting calories is essential as you age, or you may put on weight. The quality of the food choices you make is crucial. Pick nutrient-rich foods so as not to experience a nutritional deficit, which can have a negative impact on your entire system as well as your immune functioning.4
For healthy, strong bones, men over 50 should be consuming three portions of high calcium, high vitamin D foods every day.5 Green, leafy vegetables are a perfect example of calcium-rich food, and they are also known to help with erectile functioning. One study found that green, leafy vegetables helped stave off the risk of developing prostate cancer by 34%.8
Whole grains should be an important part of your diet if you’re a man over 50. They contain a lot of dietary fiber and are also high in protein. Grains that are good for the colon, bowel, and heart include oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and wheat. They also greatly lower your risk of getting diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels down.8
In order to keep your blood pressure low, it’s important to take in a lot of potassium, while at the same time keeping your salt intake low. Reliable sources of potassium are bananas, spinach, fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes and white beans.4
As an older man, protecting your prostate health is crucial. You can do this by drinking green tea and consuming lots of heart and brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and oysters. You can also include flaxseed.8 Brazil nuts are also known to protect the prostate, as are walnuts. Nuts, in general, are healthy for the heart and important for men over 50 to consume.8
One of the key guidelines for men over 50 in terms of diet is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.2 Berries are important for brain health and for keeping up your memory. They are also very high in antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage contain considerable amounts of fiber, and they are known to prevent bladder cancer.8 Red and orange fruits and vegetables are very healthy for the immune system and have a host of other benefits. Men over 50 should eat plenty of tomatoes, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, chili peppers, pomegranates, red and orange peppers, and watermelon.
A 2011 study carried out by the American Dietetic Association looked at how the nutritional intake of adults above 50 was related to their overall survival rate. They concluded that older adults with a high survival rate consumed a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, low-fat dairy and whole grains.1
Exercising for Men over 50
“Fit and 50” is a phrase you may not hear very often. After the age of 50, fatigue and health issues may prevent men from working out as much as they’d like to. But it’s a fact that lack of exercise leads to about 3.2 million fatalities every year around the world.9 Men over 50 should be doing aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening, and exercises to help their balance.
While 30 minutes of walking each day is a healthy way to keep cardiovascular activity in your routine, some men don’t have the same mobility to keep up this unabating exercise. Other solutions could be to work out at the gym with low weights or at home with some minimal equipment. Chair exercises for seniors or anyone over the age of 50 could be included in your daily routine, especially if you have lower mobility due to age or injury.
The World Health Organization suggests that older adults should be engaging in a minimum of 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic activity. For those who can, 150 minutes of vigorous activity or 300 minutes of moderate activity is better. Cardio is essential for older men to take care of their heart health. WHO also recommends that on two different days men should engage in muscle strengthening exercises to keep up their muscle tone.10 Weight training for the joints can significantly decrease the pain associated with osteoarthritis.6
Maintaining Your Health Over 50
In order to maintain your health after 50 and into old age you must adapt your diet to the needs of an older person, and you must exercise. Both muscle-building and aerobic exercises are necessary for men to both keep in shape and protect the heart from disease. In order to make up for testosterone loss, there are many supplements available on the market which will help.
A healthy diet for a man over the age of 50 must include plenty of whole grains, potassium, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Examples of foods to include in your diet are berries, leafy green vegetables, tuna, salmon, sardines, white beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, and red and orange vegetables.
The body, health and hormonal changes men go through after the age of 50 are not irreversible. By maintaining healthy nutrition and carrying out regular exercise, it is possible to achieve the health and physique of a younger man.
About The Author:
Anne Kamwila is a freelance content writer and a digital marketer. She is passionate to write about health, technology, and business related guides, news, and books.
- Anderson AL, Harris TB, Tylavsky FA, Perry SE, Houston DK, Hue TF, Strotmeyer ES, Sahyoun NR, Health ABC Study (2011). Dietary patterns and survival of older adults. J Am Diet Assoc,111:84–91. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.012. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21185969
- Endocrine Society (October 2014) Male Menopause: Myth Vs. Fact. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 99, Issue 10, 49A–50A, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-v99i10-49A Retrieved at https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/99/10/49A/2836147
- Harvard Men’s Health Watch (2016). Preserve Your Muscle Mass. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass
- Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum (2010). Providing Healthy and Safe Foods as We Age: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US), 5, Nutrition Concerns for Aging Populations. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK51837/
- Kohn, J. (June 5th, 2018). Nutrition for Older Men. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/nutrition-for-older-men
- Mayo Clinic (2018). Male Menopause; Myth or Reality? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056?pg=1
- Robinson, Paul (March 31st, 2018). Seniors Often Shocked by Gains they Make with Regular Exercise. Edmonton Journal. Retrieved from https://edmontonjournal.com/health/diet-fitness/seniors-often-shocked-by-gains-they-make-with-regular-exercise
- com (2013). Best Foods for Men Over 50. Men’s Health. Retrieved from https://prostate.net/articles/best-foods-for-men-over-50
- Taylor, D (2014). Physical activity is medicine for older adults. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 90:26-32. Retrieved from https://pmj.bmj.com/content/90/1059/26
- World Health Organization. Global recommendations on physical activity for health. Geneva: World Health Organisation, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/global-PA-recs-2010.pdf