Just because you are 50 (or over) doesn't mean you can't be fabulous! It just means you may have to do a little extra work to stay that way. Recently, Huffington Post published an article, originally from Grandparents.com, about the 8 health checks women over 50 need to do. Take a look at the list below and make sure you are doing everything you can to stay as healthy over 50 as you can.
When women hit the fifth decade, there are important health practices they need to start doing, if they want to stay in it for the long haul. “Women at 50 will attribute their body changes and decreased energy and libido to a normal fact of aging. However, it’s not just about aging; it’s about their bodies’ changing needs as they go through the life cycle. They need to realize that their bodies at 50 need something completely different than at 20,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director, Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center. So get started – you've got a lot of living to do!
Learn To Meditate Two reasons: improved brain function and stress reduction. Our brains shrink naturally with age but a UCLA study found that specific brain regions of long-term meditators were larger and had more gray matter and more robust connections between fibers than the brains of the control group. And many studies have proven the negative health effects of chronic stress (anxiety, heart disease, depression, sleep disorders). Meditation helps reduce the mental stimuli that causes stress. There are several different kinds of meditation practice (guided imagery, transcendental, following your heart rhythm); the Mayo Clinic even offers a basic guide to meditation.
>> Need some music to help you get in the mood to meditate? Check out this playlist.
Get A Bone Density Scan “The minute you hit menopause, you start losing bone density faster, putting you at higher risk for osteoporosis,” says Vonda Wright, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. If you haven’t already had a bone density scan, do so to get a baseline. And starting now, incorporate weight-bearing, or impact, exercise (such as walking, hiking, or tennis) into your routine. Note: Check with your doctor first before beginning any new exercise regimen.
“In studies in people over 50, we’ve found that people who have done a lot of impact sports over their life have denser bones,” adds Dr. Wright, who is also the author of Fitness After 40. Hips, knees or feet giving you too much trouble for impact exercise? Try exercising in a pool: Get chest high into the water. Walk forward and then backwards without turning around for 20 minutes. Lunge to the right and left for 20 minutes.
Get A Stress Test Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association. To make sure the signs of heart disease don't sneak by undetected, doctors use a stress test, in which your heart is monitored while you do moderate exercise, to determine how your heart handles physical activity. It's not necessary to go for a stress test if you live an active lifestyle, unless you are experiencing cardiac symptoms (breathlessness, pain in chest, arms, stomach, back, neck or jaw). If you have been fairly sedentary, get a stress test before starting any new exercise program. Dr. Goldberg recommends that all women at 50 get their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels checked. And if you smoke, quit – it triples your risk of a heart attack.
Nurture Your Friendships According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, staying active socially as you age helps ward off high blood pressure, depression and may potentially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure you keep up with old friends; join activities that interest you to encourage new relationships. Even if you are housebound, there are always Facebook and Skype.