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Fit into your fifties

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The average 50-something is fitter and healthier now than they were in their mid-20s, a report revealed yesterday.

Mature adults are reaping the benefits of better diets, more exercise and increased free time to focus on their health.

It also emerged they spend more time outdoors and exercise more frequently than they did when they were younger.

The lifestyle study was carried out among 1,500 adults aged 50 and upwards by Engage Mutual.

Yesterday spokeswoman Louise Withy said: It’s great that so many people feel so fit in their fifties and above.

It challenges many of the preconceptions around ageing and is good news when we consider that in light of increased life expectancy, many more of us will be spending a larger proportion of our life ‘over 50′.

Current predictions for life expectancy state that men age 65 could expect to live another 17 years and women at 65 could expect to live another 20 years.

These kinds of predictions make taking action on health and fitness in our later years just as important as when we are younger.

The report found around one in five over 50s feel more energetic and enjoy more of a zest for life than they did in their 20s.

And more than 70 per cent of the ‘fit at 50s’ do more exercise than they did when they were young.

A similar number now pay more attention to their diet, with a dramatic decrease occurring in the number of take-aways and ready meals being consumed.

Almost seven out of ten of those who felt healthier put their new-found motivation down to a better awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

The research also showed the fit over 50s eats far more fruit and veg now than they did in their early years.

Only a fifth of them said they would have consumed the recommended amount of fruit and veg a day while in their 20s, compared to an impressive 75 per cent today.

Eight out of ten people also claim to pay more attention to what they are buying in the supermarket now, taking into account all the ingredients.

Of the people who feel fitter than in their twenties, the average exercise frequency was four times a week with walking, swimming, cycling or attending a fitness classes the mostly common practices.

One in four said exercise now made up an integral part of their social life.

When questioned about why they exercise now, 29 per cent said it was because they want to be fit and energetic for the sake of the grandchildren.

For more than half, it was gaining weight that prompted their lifestyle change, while 17 per cent suffered a worrying health scare.

Four out of ten people said they were looking forward to an active and enjoyable retirement.

Incredibly, more than half said they felt they looked younger than their age.

Nearly a third said that working long hours or running round after children interfered with their health and fitness when they were young.

Louise Withy added: The fifties can be a time when many people reflect on their health and consider their longevity.

Children moving away from home, and winding down at work can provide the space to address their own needs and where required, adjust lifestyles and introduce a healthier routine.

For some, turning fifty can be a new beginning.

It's great that so many people feel so fit in their fifties and above

Louise Withy, Engage Mutual

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