4. Don't Slack at the Gym
Just because your joints are a little achier than they used to be doesn't give you an excuse to phone in your workouts. Alex Allred, a former national and professional athlete turned personal trainer says this is one of her biggest pet peeves among 50-year-olds.
"Far too many people think that just because they showed up, they're working out," Allred says. "But really, you need to be focused on what you're doing and pushing yourself hard enough to break a sweat or at least complete the full range of motion of a certain exercise."
Not sure if you're doing a move properly? Ask!
"I wish more people would flag down a trainer and ask, 'Am I doing this correctly?' " Allred says. It can make the difference between making the most of your exercise time to lose weight and wasting your time.
5. See a Physical Therapist
The advice to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen is great, and Samira Shuruk, an ACE-certified personal trainer, suggests taking this advice a step further: Make an appointment with a physical therapist—particularly if an aching back, knee, or other body part has kept you from working out on a regular basis.
"After 50, many people have sustained injuries and don't know what their activity options are," Shuruk says. "This makes it tough to exercise in ways we used to, and getting advice from a professional can truly help." Physical therapy can help you rehabilitate an old injury or ease joint and muscle pain, setting you up for pain-free workouts.
6. Overhaul Your Diet
Remember that metabolic slow-down? It can mean that you're burning about 250 fewer calories each day. If you continue to eat like you're in your 30s—and don't increase your exercise—you'll gain weight, plain and simple, says Katie Ferraro, RD, a dietitian and assistant clinical professor of nutrition at the University of California—San Francisco School of Nursing.
"To lose weight when you get older, you have to eat fewer calories," Ferraro says. Crowding out the junk food in your diet with loads of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can make cutting calories painless.
More from Prevention: This Is Why You're Still Hungry After You Eat
7. Get Your Stress in Check
This decade can be prime time for stress, Durbin says.
"The average 50-year-old has many more responsibilities than their younger peers. They're often in their prime income-generating years, which means extra responsibilities at work. They may also have kids who are going to college—a financial burden—or have aging parents who they're helping to care for."
The result? Emotional eating and a schedule that seems too jam-packed for regular exercise sessions. The solution: schedule your workouts like they're doctor's appointments, Durbin says. Sticking to a consistent routine can not only help ease stress but also help people stay on track with their diets. After all, who wants to ruin the benefits of a tough sweat session by eating a donut?