Our compassion and wisdom often expand as we age. And so does our health
challenges. Over 90% of older adults have at least one chronic condition.
Additionally, 75% (at least) have more than one. Consequently, these numbers
are higher for women than men.
Natural changes like family medical history and menopause play a part, but a healthy lifestyle can help you stay strong and independent as possible in the years ahead.
Here are some tips to help you maintain your health as you age.
Dealing with Menopause:
1. Lose weight. Our metabolism slows down, and your muscles shrink as we age. The distribution of our body fat changes too. Therefore, more of those pounds show up around your waist, increasing our risk for heart conditions and diabetes. Resist this process by eating less and exercising more.
2. Eating soy and/or taking soy supplements can help you find relief from menopause symptoms. Try tofu or soymilk. Though studies give conflicting results, a recent Harvard.edu study found:
In Asian countries where soy is eaten daily, women have lower rates of menopausal symptoms, although research is conflicting as to whether soy is a primary contributor. Talk with your doctor. Your doctor can tell you whether you’re a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy or other treatments. Share your concerns and questions.
3. Stay cool. Hot flashes are uncomfortable and worse when they disrupt your sleep. You can reduce them by restricting triggers like alcohol and (Sorry) caffeine. Layering up your clothes and keeping a fan next to your bed will also help.
4. Manage stress. Stress is known to be a common aggravator of hot flashes as well as other menopause symptoms of. Try daily meditation and positive thinking.
5. Sleep well. Are you finding it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep lately? Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Look for ways to block out nighttime noises.
Staying Physically Fit:
1. Build your muscles. Strength training can slow down muscle loss and thicken your bones. Try movements that use your own body weight for resistance if lifting weights is too difficult. Perhaps you can try planks and pushups.
2. Condition your heart. Women over 40 are about 5 times more likely to have heart disease. Aerobic exercise (something as easy as walking), along with a meal plan that is high fiber and low in unhealthy fats, can help you keep your heart strong.
3. Increase your balance. Become steadier on your feet to help you avoid falls. Try a Yoga Practice or stand on one foot while talking on the phone.
4. Ask a trainer. Do you have stiff hips or a sore back already? You might benefit from meeting with a professional trainer who specializes in corrective fitness to focus on your areas that need to limbering up.
Other Health Tips for Women Over 40:
1. Check your hearing. Are you noticing signs of hearing loss? Protect your ears from loud and continual noises. Lower the volume on media devices and wear earplugs when necessary.
2. Protect your vision. Ensure your eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions are up to date if you're having trouble reading fine print. regular eye exams and managing conditions like diabetes can help. Though at this time, no studies have shown how to prevent cataracts.
3. Watch your blood pressure. Plaque deposits stiffen your arteries over the years causing our blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Healthy weight control, exercising, and salt limitations may help you to avoid needing medication.
4. Screen for cancer. Age increases your risk for many forms of cancer. Have a discussion with your doctor about screening tests to spot cancers early while they're still easy to treat and cure. • Follow these guidelines from Oncolink.org
5. Stay connected. This is essential for vibrant aging. Nurture close relationships. You might also try to learn something new each day.
Making healthy lifestyle choices and staying informed can help you with prevention and managing many of the conditions that occur with aging. If you're a woman over 40, don’t hesitate to start maximizing your chances of staying mentally astute and physically fit during your golden years.
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