Monday, October 19, 2015

Age with Grace: Health To-Dos For Women in Their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s

Aging is a privilege, and we must all learn to greet our golden years with grace. Here’s how to stay fit and healthy no matter what your age is.

In your 20s

  • The thing about being in your 20s is that you often feel invincible, hence, you neglect your health. It’s important not to let the all-nighters, parties, and crammed deadlines prevail at the cost of your overall well-being. Get plenty of rest, the right amount of sleep, and drink a lot of water.
  • To avoid developing osteoporosis in your later years, it’s crucial to meet the daily recommended doses of calcium as early as now. Aim for 1,000 milligrams a day from dairy and natural food supplements.
  • Bring on the oatmeal. This heart-healthy food is the best way to start the day and is packed with fiber and nutrients as opposed to artificial cereals. While you’re at it, bring on the leafy greens, too, and cut back on the fast food. You may think all that junk isn’t affecting you negatively, but those toxins will catch up with you later in life.
  • Now is the time of your life when you have the most energy, so it’s best to put all that to good use. Find a fitness routine you love and stick to it. Do so three times weekly, and don’t be a slacker. This is the best time to get a head start on a good workout so that your body will reap the benefits when you get older. If you start now, you will find it easier to continue and make it a regular habit as the years go by.
  • Your skin will most likely have acne issues and discoloration, so keep sun damage at bay with some light moisturizer with sunscreen. Get as much UVA and UVB protection as you can, and when you remove your makeup, use a gentle foaming cleaner to do so. As for the acne, some spot treatment with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will do—just remember never to pick on those zits if you don’t want to end up getting scarred.

In your 30s

  • Your skin will start to get drier, have sunspots and uneven complexion. That youthful glow will start to dull, and fine lines start to appear. To combat these, use a moisturizer with antioxidants for protection against photo-damage. Switch to a non-foaming, non-drying cleanser and apply retinoid to your skin at night, avoiding your eyelids. This will help your skin tone and texture to improve.
  • The 30s will be a time when you might start to feel like you are gaining weight. Fight off metabolic changes by cutting back on the calories—you need less of them now, anyway. Always stay hydrated to keep your skin healthy, and remember to stay active to avoid uncontrollably putting on the pounds.
  • Keep your calcium intake in check, as well as your iron and magnesium. It’s time to opt for more nutritious substitutes to everything processed that you used to scarf down when you were younger.
  • According to Jillian Michaels, author of Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life, “Exercise is the number one form of preventive medicine. You won’t see that big a difference between 31 and 39 if you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle, but if not, you’ll see a huge difference in muscle tone, weight, and shape.” That said, keep up that exercise routine because your basal metabolism has now begun to drop. It might be harder for you to exercise now—whether it’s because of your kids or more work or you simply don’t have as much time and energy as you did a decade ago—so push yourself but give yourself a day of rest in the week.
  • Brooke Siler, author of The Pilates Body, says, “I especially like exercises that involve standing, because they teach you to fight what nature wants you to do, which is slump. You always want to be standing instead of sitting, taking stairs instead of elevators. I’m constantly aware of how I sit and stand and walk down the street. I’m forever pulling in and up. These invisible workouts are really important for a woman in her 30s. It’s how you start preparing your body for what’s to come.”
  • Aside from diet and exercise, your 30s is when you should be becoming more and more conscientious about your regular checkups and physical examinations. Get that HPV test and that Pap smear every five years, and get rid of those fatal cigarettes while you’re at it.
In your 40s

  • Estrogen starts to drop by the time you are 40, so the skin won’t be as perfect as it used to be. Add more collagen and moisture to your regimen, especially since the wrinkles will now begin to rear their ugly heads (not to mention premenopausal changes are joining in on the party, too). Maintain good skin elasticity by investing in retinoids and peptides. It’s also now more important than ever to protect your skin from sun damage, and increase the level of glycerin or hyaluronic acid on your moisturizer.
  • Watch your heart by including a lot of salmon or trout in your meals about twice weekly. Keep up the calcium, cut back on the salt to ease bloating, and prevent clogged arteries with grapes and other antioxidants.
  • As your body fat goes up and your lean muscle mass goes down, regular exercise is a must. “After 40 and certainly after 50, virtually all women find that they gain fat more easily in the torso—below the bra, through the triceps area, on the back, and in the belly. You’re not doing anything wrong; your body composition is changing,” says Pamela Peeke, MD. “You must learn proper form—take a class, get a trainer, make sure someone is there to correct you so you don’t get hurt. And add intensity. If you’re doing a biceps curl, tense the biceps—squeeze them—as you lift. Just when you think you’re all the way up, push another 10 degrees.” Of course, it’s a big factor that you should be enjoying what you’re doing so that you can keep your spirits up on days when you’re feeling especially down (or lazy).

In your 50s

  • It’s all about moisture now. For your skin, hydrate and cleanse with a cream cleanser. Don’t let sagging have a field day—use a peptide-rich serum, antioxidants, and SPF.
  • After menopause, the risk of heart disease and breast cancer rises. Get those regular monitoring checkups and health exams in order, and watch your bloodwork for cholesterol abnormalities and more.
  • Get enough sleep to prevent your immune system from crashing, and keep your mind active to work out those brain cells. Daily doses of veggies and multivitamins are essential to your diet as well.
  • Despite the aches and pains that your body is crying out with, regular exercise is still a must to keep fit. Fitness expert Kathy Smith says that “Many yoga classes have a heavy stretch component, making them perfect for the body that needs to maintain its flexibility.” Keep exercising despite the changes in your body. “You shift into an acceptance mode. You change what you can, and live with what you can’t. It’s a gentler way,” Smith says.

Now that you’re in the know, get moving and keep fit, no matter which age bracket you are in. Your body will thank you for it.

*This article was first seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

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