You GO, girl: 5 tips for women on staying strong and healthy after 50

When you reach the age of 50, your body is not as healthy as it was when you were younger. Therefore, you have to adopt good habits that will help you stay healthy and prevent cardiovascular, hormonal and muscle changes.

“While midlife may bring some health challenges for women, these challenges don’t have to keep you from feeling good and living a fulfilling and vibrant life,” said Yuan Shao, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines. “Establishing preventive health habits now will help you stay strong and healthy for years to come.”

Here are five tips for women on how to stay strong and healthy even after the age of 50.

  1. Eat healthily – Shao explained that diet can greatly influence an individual’s well-being as she ages. The lack of nutrients in the body can result to health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. She recommends to eat less than the amount you ate when you were in your 40s; eat fresh fruits and vegetables; eat lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs for protein intake; eat whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole grain breads, and quinoa for carbohydrates; stay hydrated; and limit your intake of foods rich in calories and fats.

  2. Have enough sleep – Most people need at least seven hours of sleep every night for optimal health; however, getting those hours may be more difficult as you get older. This may be because of conditions that disrupt sleep, such as arthritis and hot flashes. In order to get better sleep, change your bad sleeping habits.

    “When your body lacks sleep, it releases hormones that compromise your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Sleeplessness can also cause mood swings and brain dysfunction,” Shao explained.

  3. Keep moving – Staying physically active enhances sleep, improves mood, and helps you stay fit. Perform at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day to get the heart pumping. This increases muscles mass, prevents a slowing metabolism and keeps the heart healthy. For muscle strength and endurance and preventing bone loss, do resistance training two times a week. Meanwhile, stretching and balancing exercises can help maintain flexibility and prevent injuries. (Related: Physical activity throughout older age linked to higher psychological well-being.)

  4. Be optimistic – Humor, laughter, and being positive can help you stay energetic, joyful, and healthy no matter what age you are. A person can stay optimistic by practicing being grateful, doing acts of gratitude towards other people, keeping the mind active by studying art, music or language, and getting a pet.

  5. Go to the doctor for check-ups regularly – “Regular health exams can find issues before they start. When you invest an hour in getting your health screenings and services, you are taking important steps to help you lead a longer, healthier life,” Shao said.

    Screenings and exams, which include colonoscopy, mammogram and blood pressure and cholesterol tests, are essential to keep updated with your health status. In addition, talk to your doctor for preventive measures that are appropriate for you.

Most common health changes women experience

As mentioned earlier, the body changes as you age. The most common health changes that women go through include increased risk for heart disease, hormonal changes like estrogen, increased risk of colorectal cancer, weaker immune system and brain degeneration.

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