No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “hmmm…what can I do today to abuse my body, make poor choices, and shorten my life span?” Well, I certainly hope that doesn’t describe you or anyone you care about!
It’s more likely that as we begin our day, we think about what we’re going to do, where we might go, what we want to accomplish, and what we’ll have for breakfast. All good thoughts, and I know they roll around in my little head regularly.
As women in midlife traveling through our 50s, 60s, and beyond, most of us also want to age well, meaning that we want to look natural, youthful, retain energy and stamina, and most importantly, experience healthy aging, inside and out.
Let’s approach the goal of aging well from the perspective of how we live, day to day.
How to age well comes down to the ‘HOW’ of living. We’ll look at three aspects of ourselves and our life, and see what factors are essential to aging well and loving yourself more as the years go by.
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How you treat your body
When we think about how to age well, so much comes down to our day-to-day decisions. What we choose to put inside our body, how we keep it fit, where we choose to go…all of these daily choices ultimately impact healthy aging.
I am so fortunate that my health is good, and I don’t have to restrict what I do, where I go, or what I eat, based on a health condition or restriction. Ongoing health issues can certainly affect our individual aging.
Overall, though, the typical, healthy woman can learn how to age better by making wise choices, consciously, every day.
What you eat and drink
It’s an old saying, but still true, that “you are what you eat (and drink)”. Yep. Our choices can help us look and feel younger, or they can drag us down inside and out.
If we choose to consume highly processed carbs, high sugar foods, fried foods, high sodium foods, high fructose corn syrup, and other foods that we really should be avoiding after 50, it’s not only going to show on the scale, but also in the look and feel of our skin, and probably in our overall health (and not in a good way!)
Choosing to eat fruits and vegetables every day, whole grains, lean protein, and other clean foods will only help us with healthy aging. Many people have found that the path to healthy eating is made a little easier with the Mediterranean diet, so consider giving that a try if you want a specific eating plan.
How about what we choose to drink? I love coffee, and I thoroughly enjoy a glass of white wine in the evening. Both of those beverages can be detrimental to how we age, as well as our health, if we don’t make wise decisions about how we consume them.
Would I be better off, healthier, and improve my chances of aging well if I give up both of those beverages? Possibly. For me, it’s a choice, a balancing act if you will, that I am making at this time in my life:
- keep the coffee (always black, no cream or sugar) to 3 cups a day or less, within a certain time frame, and
- no more than one small glass of wine in the evening
If we’re discussing how to age well in our 50s, 60s, and beyond, we have to talk about drinking water every day. The benefits are many, my friend, including helping our skin to look its best and flushing toxins out of our body.
When we consider how to age well, it always comes back to our choices. And food/drink is near the top of the list of choices that will impact how we age.
Your activity level
It can be so easy to just sit back and relax after retirement. No schedule to keep, no boss to answer to, and the ability to do whatever we want.
For some people (like me), sitting still isn’t an option. I’m not wired that way, and sitting still for more than an hour doesn’t happen in my little world, unless I’m asleep.
For others, curling up with a good book for a few hours is just short of heaven. Or laying on the sofa and binge-watching the favorite Netflix series for the day.
You know what happens if we don’t get up and move around as we get older? Yes, you guessed it. We spread, we grow, we become larger versions of ourselves, and ultimately, we don’t age as well.
Now of course we’re not going to have perfect, firm, youthful bodies in midlife. That’s just not realistic. But staying active, spending some time on your feet if you’re able, walking, hiking, a light jog, house cleaning, walking the mall, getting some steps in right inside your home, and other simple ways to stay active.
You know that TV show you love to watch? Well, stand up and watch it. Or, stand up and march in place for one or two segments of the show. Look for ways to get your body moving that are easy, simple, and within your ability.
That is one very effective and essential component of healthy aging and putting it into practice every day.
Get enough exercise
Exercise is a topic that I write about often, because it is THAT important to us as we get older.
We can watch what we eat and stay fairly active by moving about regularly, but if we don’t include specific aerobic exercise, strength training, and functional fitness exercises, we’re missing a significant area that impacts how we look, how we feel, and yes, how we age.
Regular exercise helps us in so many ways:
- helps to keep us strong and our bodies toned
- helps keep our metabolism moving
- helps us keep our balance and reduce the risk of falling
- helps maintain our muscles
- helps us feel better about ourselves and boosts our confidence
- and so much more!
Although I’m not a fitness expert and would never claim to be, I have written about what I do as a woman in my 60s, researched the heck out of healthy living topics including exercise for women in midlife, and would love to share some of these posts with you:
- The Benefits of Functional Fitness and Why We Need It as Women Over 50
- Why Strength Training After 50 is Non-Negotiable
- Over 50? How to Find the Best Exercise Routines for You
- How to Increase Your Metabolism After 50: The Ultimate Guide for Women
- Finding Slowing Stamina as You Age? Benefits of Exercise on Aging
- Fitness After 60: How I Stay Active and In Shape
- How to Be a Healthy Woman: 5 Things to Do Every Day
- Healthy Living After 60: 8 Simple Yet Essential Tips
It is amazing how sleep, or lack of it, affects us, particularly as we get older. In general, 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is recommended for adults.
One of the most visible results of not enough sleep is the haggard look we will show to the world, which will, of course, make us look older.
Getting our beauty sleep factors into the question of healthy aging in a number of ways:
- we’ll be more alert and able to concentrate
- our risk of heart disease and stroke will be lower
- it will help us reduce stress
- it will help reduce inflammation
- when we sleep, our body releases a hormone that aids in growth, which in turn restores collagen and elastin. We want that!
So be sure to give yourself the gift of rest, my friend. It really will help you age well.
Sunshine & vitamin D
Just 20 minutes in the sun (with sunscreen, of course!) can help answer the question of how to age well as well as getting the recommended 400-800 IU of vitamin D.
The vitamin D you’ll absorb will help maintain a healthy immune system, promote calcium absorption, and other healthy results.
And, it just feels good to be out and about, taking in full breaths of fresh air, getting our body moving, and exercising our heart.
Consider a short walk, perhaps around the block or neighborhood, weather permitting.
Care for your skin
- In our 20s…we still have plenty of estrogen so it is smooth and firm
- In our 30s…estrogen levels start to dip a little bit, dryness can appear, as well as the beginnings of expression lines on our forehead and around the eyes
- In our 40s…the estrogen levels are dropping and our skin is losing moisture, firmness, and elasticity
- In our 50s…almost all of the estrogen is gone, collagen is leaving us, and we see deeper lines, age spots, and sagging skin
- In our 60s…all of the above + a decrease in the circulation in our skin, resulting in duller, faded skin.
So, we have our work cut out for us, that’s true, and while we can’t turn back the clock, we can take action to care for our skin at any age and keep a youthful look about us:
- Use sunscreen faithfully. Yes, the vitamin D is important, but we must protect our skin from excess sun exposure and the damage it can cause, creating dark spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
- Get skin cancer screenings. Be proactive and check your skin monthly for the early detection of skin cancer.
- Stay hydrated, every day. Water nourishes our skin, keeps it moist, and also helps flush toxins out of our body. Go get a glass of water and drink some of it. Right now.
- Use skin care products created for mature skin. As noted above, our skin loses collagen, elasticity, moisture, and circulation. It needs TLC for sure. I use Proven products to clean my skin, and supplement with City Beauty on my mature skin to keep it healthy and looking youthful.
If you watched the video above you’ll want to follow up with these posts to get all of the details about the products I mentioned!
Take care of your smile
Well, your teeth and overall oral hygiene, actually.
An ongoing plan for regular dental checkups and care as we age is not only good for your teeth, it helps us in a variety of ways:
- helps fight heart disease by preventing gum disease, which could eventually cause heart disease.
- regular flossing will help strengthen the immune system by removing bacterial before being breathed into the lungs
- help prevent sensitive teeth with regular brushing (not too aggressively, though!)
When we care for our smile by caring for our teeth and gums, we will be proud to show our pearly whites, and you know what? It is an asset that will help us to age well and look younger. 🙂
Always in moderation
When I ponder how to age well, I always come back to the philosophy of ‘moderation in everything’. Now, there may be some exceptions to that, and we need to use our common sense.
But when it comes to our every day decisions about what to do, where to go, how we’ll plan our menu for the day, who we’ll spend our time with, where we’ll focus our energy, where we spend our money…moderation is always a wise choice.
By staying away from extremes in daily living and making wise lifestyle choices, you are giving yourself the opportunity to age well, my friend!
Ummm…if you’re actually looking for ways to speed up the aging process, go ahead and light one up. You’ll also damage skin fiber, collagen, and reduce your skin’s elasticity.
And of course, smoking may also shorten your life. So please, please don’t smoke.
It can be difficult to remain motivated, encouraged, and feel supported when you’re trying to establish a healthy habits and lose weight. Did you know that your smart phone can be a very effective tool for accomplishing your goals to live a healthier life? Learn more about MIGHTY HEALTH, the healthy lifestyle app created for women and men over 50
How you involve your mind
Keep the mind active
Think of it like aerobics for your brain.
What can you do to maintain and stimulate the mind?
- Read, read, read
- Write – become a blogger, an author, write letters to friends and family, keep a journal, write your memoirs…so many possibilities!
- Spelling and word games like these:
Meditation and prayer
Where do you go for your quiet time? Hopefully you take the time to sit quietly, reflect, meditate and or pray regularly.
It doesn’t have to be a specific area, a special time of day/night, or an extended period of time.
But, it is essential that we take a few minutes each day to just be.
To be still.
To be quiet.
To clear our mind.
To rest our body.
For me, it’s my morning routine that includes meditation, scripture, and prayer. It helps keep me focused and on track with my life, and ultimately, to stay healthier and age well.
…is the practice of paying attention to what you’re paying attention to right now.theologyofwork.org
Goals and plans are good for us, but just as important is being able to focus on the present and live today to the fullest.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness will help keep us on the right track for aging well:
- lower stress
- improve focus and memory
- increased cognitive flexibility
Do you track your workout goals and results? How about other tasks, goals and dreams?
Thinking about a goal is one thing; putting it in writing takes you so much further toward turning it into a reality!
These are the tools and resources I use to keep myself accountable & plan for the future. LEARN MORE
How you see, accept, and love yourself
It is amazing how our view of ourselves can impact how we look, and how we age.
I think, therefore I amRené Descartes
If our minds convince us that we’re getting old, wrinkled, haggard, and fat, guess what? We might just eat without regard to the health consequences, fail to give our maturing skin the care it needs, and evolve into a person with a negative disposition.
Aging well is very much intertwined with how we see ourselves as individuals, right down to our posture. Do you know that standing straight and tall can actually help you look younger? Yep. Try it sometime.
When we perceive ourselves to be valuable, worthy women, we’ll stand taller, have more self confidence, and give ourselves the gift of aging well.
We can also keep our confidence and self esteem strong when we feel good about how we dress…our sense of style. And no, we’re not all fashionistas. If that’s your jam, good on you.
But, understanding, owning, and dressing to our own authentic, personal style is part of our overall ‘package’. When we feel good about ourselves inside and out, we look better…happier…younger.
Reflection in the mirror
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Hand-in-hand with how we perceive ourselves is how we react to the woman who looks back at us in the mirror.
Accepting our aging body, the changing body shape, the wrinkles and sags, is all part of traveling through the aging process in a happy, healthy way.
There is a balance of acceptance and self-care that if maintained, will serve us well.
Try this exercise next time you stand in front of the mirror:
- find 5 positive things about the woman you see and write them down. Remember them when you start thinking negatively about yourself
- write down 2 things that you could realistically work on and improve, then set a plan to go about achieving them.
Strive for perfection? Of course not. Put in the work and effort to look and feel better, naturally? Of course.
In our heart
Nothing is more personal and sacred than what is in our heart of hearts. Only we know what that is, and it is the essence of what makes us who we are.
Loving and respecting ourselves starts there, and only when we feel that can we experience how to age well.
Finding ways to embrace the aging process and getting older can help you live longer and better, and according to some experts is the single most important factor in healthy aging.
Think of it like the ‘glass half full or half empty’ philosophy.
It can be hard, I know, to look in the mirror and feel great about the aging person looking back at you. I get it because I see myself growing older every day.
But, we can choose to keep a positive outlook and make wise decisions about how we go about our daily living. That is essential to knowing how to age well.
So, how about you? Reading about aging well and committing to actually living out the day-to-day actions are two very different things. I hope you have found some inspiration and motivation to give yourself the gift of healthy, natural aging. You’re worth it!
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