staying healthy in your 50s

Photo: Levi Brown

Do This: Give It Your Om
I'm a huge fan of yoga at any age, but a 2012 study in the journal Menopause found that it's particularly beneficial for postmenopausal women coping with insomnia. If you're not sleeping well, try these postures before bed:

Child's Pose
1. Bring your knees to your chest and roll over so you're facedown. With your forearms, make a pillow for your forehead.

2. Lower you hips to heels, then take ten to 15 slow, gentle breaths, lengthening the exhalation each time.

1. Lie on your back with knees bent toward the ceiling, feet planted on the floor, and arms straight at your sides, palms down.

2.Slide heels close to your butt. Then press down with your arms and lift up with your hips, so that your body looks like a bridge. Keeping arms straight, interlace your hands. Squeeze shoulders a little closer together and lift hips a little higher. Take five slow breaths, then roll back down to the floor slowly, shoulders to hips.

Courtesy of Beryl Bender Birch, author of Boomer Yoga.
staying healthy in your 50s

Photo: Thinkstock

Avoid This: Overdoing the Booze
A drink a day may keep the doctor away by reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke, but having more than a five-ounce glass of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor can do more harm than good. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing various cancers, including breast cancer (women who have two or more drinks a day are one and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease).
staying healthy in your 40s

Illustration: Joel Holland

Eat This: Bulk Up On B's
The same vitamins that keep your energy up also lower your body's levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may be linked to hardening of the arteries. Help protect your heart by getting your daily allowance of B6 (1.5 milligrams), B12 (2.4 micrograms), and folate (400 micrograms) from your diet. Here are a few grade-A sources of B's.

B6: Sweet potatoes

B6 and B12: Cod and sirloin steak

B12: Clams and mozzarella cheese

B12 and Folate: Soy milk

Folate: Spinach, beets and papaya

Folate and B6: Bananas, lima beans and sunflower seeds

B6, B12 and Folate: Breakfast cereals
staying healthy in your 50s

Photo: Thinkstock

Test This: Get Screened for Colon Cancer
More than 90 percent of all colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people age 50 and over. Having found a precancerous polyp just after my 50th birthday, I can't urge you enough to follow the American Cancer Society's advice to schedule a colonoscopy (or sigmoidoscopy, which is less invasive). During the procedure, a physician inserts a long tube outfitted with a tiny video camera into your large intestine through your rectum to look for growths. Put off by the process? Take this quiz to find out why you shouldn't be.

True or False?:
1. Colon polyps can sometimes be symptomless.

2. With a light sedative to help you relax, a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy can be painless.

3. The survival rate for colon cancer caught early is about 90 percent.

(Answers: All true.)

Next: Dr. Oz's 24 smart strategies for feeling great at every age
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.