Remaining ageless through your fifties and beyond, isn’t just about keeping a dermatologist on speed dial, a lubricant in your nightstand and following the vicissitudes of trending fashion. It’s about paying attention to what is going on inside and making smart choices. We researched ways to help you remain positively ageless… despite the number of candles on your birthday cake.
Menopause is like looking in a fun -house mirror. Boobs go south, hips spread and suddenly we’ve got more muffin tops than Entenmann’s. Diet alone won’t get you back into your skinny jeans. Research shows that your best defense is a combination of aerobic activity and strength training. “Just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate,” says Dr. Robert Schreiber at Harvard Medical School. “Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.”
Not a gym-goer? Go for a power walk at least once a week for 30-45 minutes. Work your way up to three times a week. Better yet, find a power walk buddy to get you moving. Or give yourself a destination that motivates you. No, not Dunkin Donuts. We’re thinking more like the cosmetics department of Nordstrom’s.
Did you know that volunteering can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, while adding years to your life? These are the findings of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. By volunteering in an adult literacy program, animal shelter, environmental group or political campaign, you take the focus off yourself and that’s a good thing. Besides, what’s sexier than preserving wetlands?
Speaking of sex, consider ripping a page out of Eat, Pray, Love, and volunteer abroad. GVI specializes in placing adults over fifty in over 150 sustainable volunteer projects around the world. Or join the Peace Corps which has tailored programs for older applicants. When your adult children question why you are taking off for Tanzania, tell them it’s to lower your blood pressure.
Get Your Zzzzzzs
Your brain has more important things to do at night than give you dreams about walking naked through airport security. Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School says that while you sleep, your brain cleans out the plaque which can lead to memory loss and dementia. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night to ensure your brain has the chance to do its thing.
It’s one of those days. You leave your prescription glasses in the dressing room at Marshall’s, forget your sister-in-law’s birthday and your car just got towed. Rather than reaching for a wine glass or a happy pill, take a deep breath. Yoga and meditation can slow — and even reverse — the aging process. Besides, you’ll love the way your butt looks in your best yoga pants. all day great workout wear.
Never Stop Learning
Ever notice how some women your age are vibrant and fascinating while others seem stuck in neutral gear? The difference isn’t due to hormone injections, a younger lover or going on a kale juice fast. It’s simply that the first woman is constantly growing new brain cells and the second one isn’t. Anyone, at any age, can expand their brain simply by learning something new. Take up kick boxing, scuba diving, ceramics, photography or discover your inner Picasso. Constantly challenge yourself. When you stop learning, your brain stagnates. Use it or lose it.
Eat for Longevity
The Mediterranean Diet doesn’t just shrink your thighs. It’s also a wonder drug. According to the Mayo Clinic, eliminating animal and saturated fats not only reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia and arthritis, but it builds your immune system while lowering pain and inflammation. Ditto for green tea, ginger and turmeric.
Watch out for sugar. It’s hiding in almost every product in the supermarket. When you go food shopping, read the fine print. What’s that you say? You only drink diet soda? Think again. Studies have shown that diet soda increases the risk of heart disease and dementia. Consider switching to water or natural teas.
Social media is fun. But it’s no substitute for quality time with friends and relatives. Put down your cell phone and get some real “face time” with the people you love. Don’t wait for a special occasion to invite a new neighbor for cheesecake and pop the Prosecco. When you have a good attitude about aging, there is always a reason to celebrate. Even if it’s just to show off your goody bag from your power walk through Nordstrom’s.