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David’s 10 Tips to Your Best Life after 50, 60, 70…

AGEIST founder David Stewart shares wisdom gained from interviewing members of our tribe on how to live healthier, longer and more joyfully.

I’ve interviewed and talked to many people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who don’t think of aging as some grim reality to be accepted. They have programs in place for taking care of themselves. They strenuously exercise — they’re into bicycle racing, lifting heavy weights, strength training — challenging their bodies and minds. We humans are designed to work hard. We tend to fall apart if we take it too easy. In 300 BC, when Alexander the Great was doing his thing marching through Asia, the head of his personal guard was 65 years old. This guy carried a shield and a sword and was out there fighting. At 65, he was a normal, healthy, hardworking man. What was retirement in 300 BC? It was leaving the fighting and going to work on one’s farm — no La-Z-Boy chairs or TVs. Of course there were other health challenges back then, but the idea of age discrimination as we think of it did not exist. One could either do the task or not.

We’re living longer lives, but in order to live both longer and healthier lives we need to be making good decisions. Even if it’s true that as we age we’re faced with certain obstacles, what’s even more real is that if we “take it easy” we’re going to die. We have to believe in our capabilities, and not expect that we are overly limited by age.

When I studied martial arts, the toughest competitors were over 70; major architects are usually over 65; Kim Gordon is 66; Tony Hawk is 51. These are all fit, engaged, active human beings whose lives aren’t defined by their age. So what are the secrets to outmaneuvering society’s negative view on aging and living better and longer lives? Here are a few:

1. Food

Food is fuel for our bodies; it is also medicine. Let’s think of everything we put into our bodies as having positives and negatives. When we eat something, we can think about its effect. Maybe that cake is worth the negative effect, or maybe not. We understand so many complex things around our lives, but few of us really understand the thing that keeps us alive: our food.

The single most important thing to understand about food is the glycemic load: a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it. When we eat something that’s sweet, our body metabolizes it quickly, and unless we are going to immediately run 5 miles, the body converts the sugar to fat. If you want to learn more about glycemic load, read Ray Kurzweil’s book Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, where he explains it beautifully.

If you want to scare yourself, pull up some statistics that the life insurance people have put together about what they think a healthy, normal BMI (body mass index) is: somewhere around 22, which is pretty fit. But most Americans don’t live by these terms; we think about how close to a level of obesity we are, not how close to optimal fitness for our health.

2. Exercise

I’ve talked to some people who say their exercise is gardening. I’ve witnessed them garden and it is some rather intense gardening — digging and shoveling are hard work. All of our bodies need to be challenged regularly and correctly. If we don’t want our bones to become brittle, we need to apply loads to our bodies. Our muscles, tendons and everything surrounding them will become more robust, and we’ll feel better all around. When our bodies are sturdier, our muscles supple and our BMI where it should be, we can move around space easier, with much more fluidity. It can totally change our mindset. We will no longer feel disempowered and weak. Strangely enough, just a little thing like feeling strong when opening the door can make a tremendous psychological difference in our day.

3. Posture and Flexibility

As we age, our muscles tend to stick together more. Gravity also tends to want us to cave in and stoop forward. But just like anything else about aging, this is an outcome that can be avoided. It requires work, but these conditions are optional. Maybe we are fine being stiff and slumped over. But if that is not the way we would like to navigate the world around us, there are some easy fixes. We can daily foam roll our muscles. Have someone who knows what they are doing show us how to stretch. Yoga anyone? Have a teacher show us what it feels like to stand up properly using all our erector muscles. Be tall. A great deal of what people assume is unavoidable back pain and muscle stiffness can be entirely mitigated.

4. Do Not Retire

If we Google “Retirement plus death,” we’ll see that one of the quickest ways to die is to retire. I’ve spoken to experts and scholars on this; one of them was Dr. Connie Mariano, White House Medical Chief under Clinton and Bush. I asked her why presidents live so long, much longer than the average person. How is it that the people who are already in the world’s most stressful job are living longer than average? The secret is: they all have a sense of purpose, they don’t stop and they certainly don’t retire. We need this sense of purpose, and for most of us, it’s our work.

The #1 anxiety that we have found in people our age is not mortality, it’s a lack of usefulness in the world — the dread of becoming irrelevant. The key is to keep busy with meaningful work. If forced out of a career, and it happens, we immediately get busy with being helpful and useful doing something else wherever we can. Family, church, social groups, volunteering, or training for a new career. Keep moving, keep the calendar full, keep a sense of agency in life.

5. Stick With What Works

Probably the best book I ever read about middle age and aging is Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty. She talks about a certain point in our 50s, more or less, when we reevaluate, recalibrate, looking back at what works and what doesn’t. We have to get rid of the stuff that doesn’t work and do more of the stuff that does work. This applies to our social groups as well; stay with the people who are better for us.

What’s more, go full Kondo and declutter the house. How much of that stuff makes us happy, and how much of it weighs us down?

Hagerty also talks about concentrating on something we’re great at instead of something we’re only good at. As does Peter Drucker, the famous business author, who says we should stop trying to be good at everything and get great at one thing. We essentially have a second life now. Let’s spend it doing something we excel at surrounded by things and people that add value to our existence.

6. Embrace the Way You Look

If we’re keeping busy with other things, like being great at something and having a sense of purpose, questions about wrinkles and looks become less important. Embracing the way we look and taking care of what we have as best we can is a good way to think of this. This doesn’t mean ignoring our upkeep, but going for the perfection of our 20-year-old self is not going to end well. Trust us on that one. What may look like a youthful intervention at 50 can start to look monstrous at 70.

7. But Look the Best You Can

Vanity gets a bad rap. We don’t mean the self-obsessed pathological form of vanity, but a healthy regard for the way we want the world to see us. We had one rather famous doctor tell us that vanity was his main vector to getting people into a healthier lifestyle. Looking sharp so that we feel good about ourselves is also a sign of good mental health. We live in a society of other people, and those people are constantly reflecting to us what they think of our self-chosen stylistic messaging.

Here are a few simple directions that may be useful: get a good haircut or if the wild look is for you, wear it consciously. Take care of your teeth with regular brushing/flossing and the occasional white strips, which may seem obvious but is often overlooked as we age. Finally, wear clothing that fits, again rather obvious, but especially for men this is often overlooked. This is not anything crazy, or tremendously spendy, just simple self care that will go a long way towards letting yourself and others know that you feel you are worth it.

8. Be Social: Get Out and Meet People

Our communities tend to shrink with age. Combine that with the unfortunate age siloing so common in western countries, and we end up with an epidemic of loneliness. This is not just a sad critique of modern life, it has immense health consequences. Being lonely has the same impact as smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. The cure? Add people to your life. And we don’t mean adding Facebook friends, we mean real live people. Become a joiner. This is easier for women than men, but guys, you can do this. Join the YMCA as a youth volunteer. Join the church choir. Join the bike club, book club, HOA, whatever. Make a habit of saying yes to any and all invitations. Sitting alone binging on TV is doing exactly what we think it is: wasting time, and is that what we really want to be doing now?

9. Recognize That the Time is Now

We never know when life is going to end. We might have a certain amount of control over our longevity, because we take care of ourselves, see good doctors, etc. But, the truth is we don’t have full control of everything and things happen. The time is now. That thing that we have been wanting to do, let’s do it. If we’re happy doing what we do, let’s do twice as much of it. And if we don’t like something about our current circumstance, let’s change it or try to adjust it. Don’t wait, don’t settle. This is our life, we only get one, and now is the time to make fullest use of it.

10. It’s All Good

The first 9 of these are work. They require effort and conscious choices. Sometimes this stuff is really hard, much harder than when we were younger. On the other hand, life is pretty great. By now we have all lost people, we have seen family and friends get sick, maybe we have gone through some scary health crises. I spent the better part of a year in a hospital hooked to an IV filled with chemicals that kept me alive. In a superficial way that was not my best year. But what stays with me about that year, were the kids in the ward with childhood lymphoma and leukemia. They weren’t scared, or even sad. They chose to find joy in the simple everyday things around them.

Every day we get a choice of what we choose to look at, and how we choose to feel. We can look at the sky and marvel at the clouds, or we can choose to mope and drag our feet. This may sound Hallmark-card simple, but we have control over the most important part of our lives: what we choose to focus on. Personally, I have found that daily meditation is tremendously helpful. We can appreciate and be joyful for what we have, and who we are, or not. We can choose self-acceptance and take the actions that give us increased self-confidence, or not. We may not have control over much in the world, but we absolutely have control over what we decide to focus on.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. Wow! This is a fantastic post! Thank you for the inspiration and motivation! I’ve been recovering from an injury and had to give up my job, so I need to get back out there among more people. Those statistics are no joke! Thank you!

    • Hey Amy,
      Thank you! Yes, please, get out there and meet people! Help when you can, stay engaged. Its so important. Those statistics are for real, loneliness is a killer, but all we need to to is say hello to more people. Easy!

  2. Thank you so much David. What a wonderfully informative and inspiring article! So much of this resonated with me and I couldn’t agree more!

  3. Great post, David. I’m glad you mentioned the foam roller. I get such a benefit from using a foam roller as I’ve learned in my MELT Method classes. It’s so wonderful for my circulation and easily rolls the stress out of my shoulders. It’s a great counterpoint to my yoga practice.

  4. Feel like a raft in the ocean. Husband likes younger women and kids have no use for me. No career. No social network. Been there 100% for my family. 51 and now what???!!!??

    • Go back to school, study something you like and meet new folk. Never will you know what is waiting for you.

    • Remember who you were before the husband and family? Go find that girl. That’s the real you.
      I’ve been the same. It took strength to tear down the presence of low self esteem and worth. You’re more than just a wife and mother. Don’t be responsible for anyone else’s life. Just grab a hold of your own and burst in to life again. Take risks and do things people told you you shouldn’t do. You’re your own woman.
      Good luck and I’m rooting for you from Derry, Ireland.

    • Don’t forget…the husband is getting older too. Don’t feel bad for a second of his insecurity. (although it sucks). I know it’s hard when kids get independent….my suggestion is to write down things you would enjoy doing & setting some goals. Join the Y and swim or learn how to swim…join a women’s Bible study at your church….get a bike and research bike paths to go on…speak to a counselor for yourself…everyone feels stuck sometimes but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

  5. Thank you for this! Succinct, helpful, and true–all of it. Glad I’m already doing much of this at 54, but it’s lovely to have the reminders, especially on days I may be struggling. I’m at that Pivot & Purpose point in my life where I am ready for changes and embracing them–I just have to figure out exactly what that means for me. In the meantime, I am exploring, staying curious, and open. Thank you for a lovely site!


  6. Food is medicine! After going to a functional medicine doctor in 2017, I learned what was causing all my skin rashes, asthma attacks, and other woes. When I avoid grains, gluten, and dairy I feel great. When I let them sneak back into my everyday life as I have this horrid year, I feel like sludge. Great points David about considering the positive and negatives of what you put in your mouth. Short-term comfort foods can lead to migraines for days.

  7. Hi David,
    those are great points. Thank you!

    I’m almost 40 but can still related to most things you said here.

    Since I work from home, “posture”, “exercise” and “being social” are vital if I want to stay healthy physically and mentally. That’s why I have put in place a few routines.

    For example, every day at noon I go outside to walk and run just for a few minutes. When I come back, I do a few flexibility and movements exercises to involve my whole body.

    For the social side of things, I try to text a few family members and friends, make FaceTime with them or see them in person (when there is no lockdown!).

    To finish, I thought I could let a beautiful quote from Naval Ravikant about life:

    “Three things in life – your health, your mission, and the people you love. That’s it.”

    I think it summarize greatly this whole conversation.

    Thank you,

  8. Great messaging thank you. After 2020 where I think everyone had a tough year and learnt to assess and reassess importance of many aspects in our lives.

    My husband (56) had a severe stroke June 2020 and I think this article will benefit his outlook.
    A once positive businessman is now needing to look at other ways to keep mind and body busy.

    I finished my degree in Naturopathy when I was in my late forties and learning then has set me on a path to never stop the intense learning and research.

    I look forward to reading more of your articles

    Thank you


  9. What a great message, and something I needed to see right now! Thank you for the insight, and the clarity about what is important. So glad I found Ageist!

  10. I’m at that point in my life too where I’m recalibrating my focus in life. I’ve 5 adult children aged 33 to 21 and 2 granddaughters aged 15 and 18months. I’m 52 and feel at a loss as to ‘what next’ for me. But I don’t intend to sit back in my rocking chair just yet. I’m more for being a rock and roll granny.

    Your article was an inspiration. It’s true. We have to keep going. Keep being vital and just love life to the full.

  11. Hello @David,
    You have shared such a great points here. These are really great and helpful secrets for living better and longer live after 50. I enjoyed to read your thoughts and glad to reach you. I really appreciate your quality work and efforts you have put into this article. I hope to hear more interesting topics from you. Keep sharing.

  12. Excellent article. I would add that trusting in God and praying is also essential to your wellbeing… knowing you are not alone and you are created for a purpose.

  13. I am 52 and feeling like my life is almost over. Reading this has made me quite emotional. So glad I saw this article and now have a book I want to read! I am so tired of people talking about financially secure and able to do things now. I am sorry but not all live that way. Neither my husband or I chose professions that are remotely lucrative but we love what we each do. His just found his 10 years ago. Some of us are pay check to pay check without crazy savings. It was so refreshing to read something that did not assume the stereotypical “you are in your 50’s+ so you can afford oh so much (adventures, financial freedom)”. Seeing that repeated had started to get me down, so forget that! Health is a battle for me but again it is not to late to turn it around. I am tired of feeling like why bother because I am getting old and going to break down anyway. I want to be as active as I can. Just thanks for this. I read it at the right time.

  14. Great post David,
    I am excited and grateful to learn new stuff all the time and would encourage others to do so with their mind, body and spirit. No matter what the situation, everyday is an opportunity to be our best self and share it with others so they can also be there best selves.

  15. I love all of this. I’m 26 and reading this article by choice (not because my mom sent it to me.) Actually I just forwarded it to her! Thank you so much, David. I appreciate you. This is true wisdom and I won’t forget it.

  16. I’m bookmarking this article and reading it every year for the next 50 years! I’m 50 and plan on making it to 100. Thank you, David, for your wise (and witty) advice and encouraging tips. Very, very helpful.

  17. Outstanding! I love the message and want to thank you for the enlightenment. Often times we get caught up with the busy and cynical side of life and either forget or lose our sense of purpose. Great work! I love this and want to be part of your community,
    my best,

  18. Great message here. A comment about #7–But Look the Best You Can. To make an effort, and practice self care isn’t selfish. It gives one confidence, and that projects out to others. So many people I see don’t make much of an effort in this area. It’s also part of staying relevant and not being pushed into the margins, as older folk tend to be.

  19. Excellent list! The first three are already a priority for me and I’m working on incorporating the other seven.. Surprised sleep isn’t on your list…


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.


David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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