This information is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Please seek appropriate advice from your health-care provider.

How to Slow Down the Effects of Aging for Women Over 50

Now that I am well over 60, I feel quite well-qualified to provide advice for women in their 50s.

I have a lot of female clients in the 40 - 60 age range. Many of them have actually been my clients for many, many years. Some of them came to me when they first wanted help having healthy pregnancies. But now, we all seem to want the same thing - to age gracefully and slowly. There isn’t one of us who wants to look or feel older than our biological age, and most of us want to slow the entire process down as much as we can. This has led me to come up with what I feel are the top 12 things we can do to slow down the march of time.

I have to admit, with raising such a large family over the past 40+ years there hasn’t been much time and even less money to care about what I looked like.

Several years ago, just prior to our oldest daughter’s wedding I took time, for the first time in my life, to do a close-up evaluation of whether I was aging the way I wanted to. Interestingly, the answer was ‘no.’ As a result, I made a list of some radical changes I felt I needed to implement. I’m pleased to say, I’ve done very well with maintaining the changes.

This list includes changes I’ve implemented, plus some. You’re likely already doing many of these things too - but why not aim for 100% to see how much it improves the way you feel and look?

Eat healthfully and make sure you poop

As we get older our appetite often goes down, and as a result, we may not eat as well as we should. It’s often harder to prepare a meal for one or two people - so the temptation is to default to quick and easy instead of nutritious.

The ‘tea and toast’ syndrome is real and it’s really bad. It leads to serious malnutrition. We need vegetables, protein, and whole grains to maintain good health into our advanced years, so we might as well make sure we’ve got good habits happening now. Those veggies and grains go a long way to keeping the bowel healthy and eliminating properly. One of the benefits of healthy, regular (2 - 3 per day) bowel movements is no body odor. Indeed, women who poop well almost never have body odor.

If you’re finding it challenging to prepare meals because it’s just for you or just for you and your spouse/partner, and you don’t want to end up throwing away veggies that you just can’t use up, ordering meal prep kits might be a way to go. I know many mature, single women who use the kits, order enough for three dinners for two people each week, and find it much more affordable than purchasing larger amounts of veggies that just get thrown away.

Get enough sleep

Insomnia can be an issue for some women as they get older. Even when we are over 50 we need our sleep to repair and rejuvenate. You may be very active. You may still have way too much to do. Do whatever it takes to get enough sleep to feel energized and just see how much more productive you are.

Besides productivity, you know what being tired does to how you look. None of us look younger or healthier when we are tired.

We often think of snoring as a ‘guy thing.’ Truthfully, just as many women suffer from sleep apnea as men. If you don’t feel well-rested after 7 - 9 hours of sleep, and if anyone has ever told you that you snore, you should get checked for sleep apnea. To do this properly involves medical testing.

Sleep apnea can be caused by being overweight, and losing weight will often correct it.

For women who are not overweight, taking an excellent-quality collagen supplement can tighten up the uvula (the flappy thing at the back of the throat) and can stop the snoring. Failing that, a medically prescribed C-PAP machine can be a heaven-send for regulating breathing at night and improving the quality of sleep.

Exercise vigorously; include weight training (resistance training)

There are so many activities to choose from nowadays. Power walking, swimming, circuits, classes, HIIT workouts - just get in there and do it. If you have been inactive for a length of time you will need to ease into exercising regularly. Start with a comfortable intensity or slightly less for 30 minutes, three times per week. Gradually build up from there.

Be sure to include weight lifting and stretching in your program. Weight lifting is great for muscle tone, for keeping your metabolism working, and for skin tone as it stimulates the production of connective tissue.

Sweating is good for your skin. Exercise, done correctly, generates energy and creates a healthy glow!

Drink enough water; give up coffee, tea, green tea, caffeine

The fastest way to end up looking like a ‘wrinkled old prune’ is to drink things that dry you out and to not drink enough water. Coffee, tea, and green tea are all diuretics, and carbonated beverages also act as diuretics. It’s highly likely that you are not drinking enough water to begin with, let alone enough water to replace what the diuretics have pulled out of you.

The rule of thumb is to drink one-half ounce of water and/or herbal tea (not black or green tea) for every one pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, you need 65 ounces of water every day.

Get your weight where you want it

We all know it’s harder to lose weight after menopause. That is not a good reason (and I don’t think there is a good reason) to give up on getting to a healthy weight. In all likelihood, bad habits helped you put extra weight on, and it will take great habits (and change in beliefs about yourself) to get the weight off - and that’s where diet and resistance training come in.

Get a good hairstyle

The hairstyle you had at 30-something has probably outlived its usefulness. Your face has probably changed shape and your features may have softened somewhat, too. A fresh hairstyle that complements your facial structure can take years off your appearance. If you’ve been using the same stylist for umpteen years I suggest you try someone new. A fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective can give you a hairstyle that is runway-worthy.

Hair color

Your hair color is changing, too. Whether you’ve colored your hair or not is not what’s important here. What’s more important is whether the color suits your changing skin tones. Update your color or let it go gray - we’ll balance it out in the next point.

Skincare & Make-up

Again, as you get older, your skin color and texture will change. The products and make-up you used ten years ago are probably not the correct combination for you now. Get in touch with an esthetician and a make-up artist. Take a few lessons on skincare and make-up for someone your age. Well-applied make-up with the right moisturizer and primer under it can make you look and feel younger and more radiant.

Clothing styles

Sad to say, our bodies change shape with age, and fashions change regardless of our age. Whether you are avantgarde in your style or more classic, if the budget will bear it, buy a few pieces of ‘current’ clothing each year to update your wardrobe. They needn’t be expensive pieces, but they should be well-made and fit you perfectly. Be open to trying on new styles to see if there’s a fashion diva just waiting to burst forth!

Laugh a lot; smile

A smile is always in style, and laugh lines are the best wrinkles to have - they are certainly more attractive than frown lines and worry lines.

Well-fitted bra

Ladies, it’s sad to admit that some of us have saggy boobs, and some of us don’t even have boobs anymore. Saggy anything never looks good. Spend the time and the money to get a bra that fits and supports properly (no underwire, please - it’s bad for your lymphatic circulation). For those of us, like me, who seem to have lost everything we once had - and we’re not even sure where it went - a padded bra can be a huge lift to self-esteem. Make sure that whatever you are wearing for undergarments fits well. This, alone, can make you look and feel younger!

Wear support hose if needed

With having and caring for babies and caring for everyone else who needed a piece of your day, you may not have noticed the circulation in your legs breaking down into spider veins and varicose veins. Take a minute now to check your legs. If they look like road maps of Chicago, it’s time to get support hose.

I wore super-strong support hose religiously when I was pregnant because I needed them desperately. Even now, I wear moderate-strength support hose rather than regular pantyhose because they keep my legs from feeling tired if I have to be on my feet a lot.

Support hose can keep your legs from aching and ankles from swelling. If the circulation in your legs is in trouble, check with your doctor about getting prescription support hose.

Bonus Tip: Quit smoking

I had to tag this one onto the list. The vast majority of women who read my stuff are already non-smokers. If you are one of the few who still smoke, I have to tell you that none of the first 12 points I’ve listed are going to do one speck of good to help you feel and look younger. If you smoke you really need to quit if you don’t want to look old way before your time.  In my opinion, smokers look an average of 15 - 20 years older than their non-smoking counterparts.

Vaping is no better for your skin than smoking. It contains nicotine, which dehydrates the skin, making it much more prone to wrinkling.

All of the effects of smoking and vaping can be reversed, at least somewhat, after these health-destroying habits are stopped.

Ladies, we will all age, but we CAN age gracefully, beautifully, and healthfully. I encourage you to choose something you can improve on today!

If you are aging in ways you're not happy with, nature may be able to help you! Give me a call (403-850-5503) or use this link to set up an appointment. I'd love to help you add life to your years!