Every woman dreams of aging gracefully. But, once you turn 50, you experience many changes in your physical and mental health. Reaching 50 is a stressful time for some but a new and exciting beginning for many. With children off to colleges, married or moved out, and jobs ending in retirement, it is natural to feel a mixture of emotions.
You may feel like your body has given up as signs of aging appear on your face, in your muscle strength and cognition. You may also realize that your body is not as strong as before. Walking a few minutes drains you, staying up late is no longer fun, and you find yourself moodier than ever. While the age of 50 is not the end, it is a turning point for a lot of women who so far neglected their health. Of course, you cannot reverse biological changes at fifty, but you can introduce certain habits and routine activities to improve your physical and mental well-being.
Here are eight tips to get you started.
1- Exercise regularly
Aim for thirty to forty minutes of light to moderate exercise daily. Strenuous or high-intensity workouts may not fit you at fifty. Still, you can keep your heart healthy and muscles in shape by opting for light, regular exercise. Light stretches or a thirty-minute walk are good beginner-friendly workouts. Once you’ve built stamina, you can move on to more focused regimes like exercises that will help you get rid of menopausal belly fat. This will help improve your cardiovascular health and boost your mood. Exercising regularly also regulates blood circulation to avoid issues like the stiffness of joints or varicose veins. You can also incorporate muscle-toning exercises if your stamina allows for it. Exercises are not just great for increasing bone strength, which is necessary for women going through menopause; it also helps elevate mood and reduce irritability.
2- Cut back on sodium
Reducing sodium in your diet is one of the best ways to improve digestive and cardiovascular health in your fifties. Excessive sodium in your bloodstream can cause hypertension, risk cardiovascular problems like heart disease and heart stroke, and affect kidney functions. To cut back on sodium, review your daily meals. Avoid eating fast food, highly processed frozen food, salty snacks, and canned food. Instead, consume fresh vegetables and fruits, and drink more water. Try herbs, salsas, or citrus to season your food if you find it difficult to leave salty and spicy flavors behind.
3- Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Everyone must prioritize heart health regardless of age and gender, especially aging women and men. The American Heart Association describes heart illnesses as the number one cause behind deaths of American women. To improve your diet for heart health, consume unprocessed fruits and vegetables. If your dietary preferences allow it, eat salmon and other fatty fish to acquire omega-3 fatty acids crucial for heart health. Also, incorporate whole grains, skinless lean protein, and lentils in your diet that are high in protein and dietary fiber while low in saturated fats. Heart-healthy foods keep your cholesterol levels in check and reduce the risk of heart illnesses, obesity, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
4- Increase calcium intake
By the time you are fifty, you should get regular bone density scans and consult your doctor regarding calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals’ supplements. As a rule of thumb, you should take 1200 mg of calcium supplements daily. Your body goes through several changes during pregnancy, menopause, and the general course of life that can diminish bone strength and density over time. Increasing calcium intake, soaking up vitamin D under the sun, and engaging in light exercise can improve bone strength. Women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease that may lead to fractures or breakage. To avoid that, you must increase calcium intake early on. Apart from supplements, enrich your diet with green vegetables,
5- Get enough sleep
National Sleep Foundation reported that women in their fifties are more likely to develop sleep problems like insomnia and sleep apnea. A range of factors determines your sleep cycle and quality of sleep, but bodily changes like menopause may increase abdominal fat, causing a decrease in progesterone and putting you at an increased risk for developing a sleep disorder.
Don’t wait until fifty to establish good sleeping habits. Ensure you get enough rest each night and adjust your body’s natural clock. Eating healthy, staying hydrated, and working out are some ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep. Talk to your healthcare provider about sleep issues and discuss treatment plans. Untreated sleep problems may lead to hypertension, stress, cardiovascular disease, and a disrupted digestive system.
6- Quit tobacco and alcohol
If you have indulged in habits like smoking and drinking, maybe now is the time to consider leaving these habits for good. It is never too late to quit smoking or let go of alcohol. If you’re finding it difficult to reduce your consumption, talk to a doctor for a guided rehabilitation plan. Smoking and excessive use of alcohol are not suitable for any age, no matter how many filters you try or how good people think red wine is for the heart. There are plenty of other ways to boost your heart health; you don’t need to rely on alcohol. In addition, alcohol consumption and smoking cause other issues like liver problems, lung issues, heart illness, hypertension, irregular blood circulation, digestion problems, and mood disorders. It may be difficult initially, but it is worthwhile to quit these two habits for your health.
7- Get regular screenings
Incorporating healthy dietary options, exercising regularly, and taking care of your sleep patterns are necessary for aging healthily and gracefully. But it is also essential to stay on top of your health needs by getting regular checkups and screenings. Preventative screenings help detect early signs of life-threatening illnesses. For example, mammograms, lung scans, virtual colonoscopies, and heart scans become necessary after 50 to see possible health problems early on. Especially if you have a family history of illnesses like cancer, schizophrenia, or dementia, it is best to start early with preventative screenings.
8- Take care of your mental health
Taking care of your health isn’t restricted to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, or getting regular checkups. You must keep your mind and body in sync, so the entire system functions well. No matter what life throws at you, try to stay optimistic and know there is always a way out. Surround yourself with family and friends that are supportive and conducive to your mental and physical well-being.
Most women fear aging and what follows after. However, it is important to know that it is a natural process everyone must go through. There are a million ways to age happily and gracefully, whether exercising regularly, spending quality time with loved ones, eating healthy, or refining your life’s purpose. We hope these tips help you lead a happier and healthier life. Happy Aging!