What’s Right For You?
I was waiting in the checkout line the other day, and as always, reading the various headlines. Long lines = time to flip through the magazines. I have to say that all it did was really make me angry. There were unflattering photos of famous people with snide comments, like “What was she thinking?”, “Cellulite alert!”, “Time for Botox!”, and so many more. I was enraged. Why was this okay?
Why on Earth do we want to make people look bad, or comment on how they’re aging? No wonder we have a bullying problem.
I’ll admit—I see those new lines on my face, and it certainly isn’t as easy to change my body at 40 as it was at 20. And even though I do color my hair, it’s more out of boredom than covering gray. Only have a few random ones here and there.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing what makes you feel good as you age—whether it is Botox, surgery, diet, exercise or anything else. But instead of fighting aging, let’s be our best selves and celebrate the fact that we are alive. And instead of feeling bad about aging, let’s understand what’s normal and what’s expected.
Inside Your Body
While most of us focus on our appearance as we age, what’s going on inside your body is just as important to your health and well-being.
Your heart and blood vessels naturally change as you get older. The heart rate may slow down some, but your heart can actually become bigger over time. The blood vessels become stiffer, and as a result your blood pressure may increase. To combat this and live a healthier, life you should include the following: regular exercise; a healthy, balanced diet; no smoking; manage your stress; and get enough sleep. FYI—these things are the root of a healthy lifestyle and will help you age gracefully.
Your bones and joints naturally change as you get older, as well. I know that I feel more aches and pains than I used to. Muscles and bones can shrink and become less dense with age. This leads to decreased strength, as well as increased likelihood of fractures.
Osteoporosis is also a concern, but that is a diagnosed disease, and not a normal sign of aging. Making sure you get enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet is essential. Regular exercise that includes resistance exercise, cardiovascular exercise and stretching is also important. Substance abuse can also lead to increased loss of muscle and bone, in addition to many other things.
Your digestive system, urinary tract and bladder go through changes too. You may find it harder to go to the bathroom, or go more frequently. You may also find that certain foods upset your stomach, when in the past there were no issues. Here again, diet and exercise are key. In your exercise program you should include pelvic floor exercises. These aren’t just for pregnant women—everyone should be doing them! You can do Kegels in the car at stoplights, or even at your desk.
No one will know, and you’ll get stronger!
Things you may notice more clearly as the years go by include changes to your skin.
Now, I’ve personally noticed my hands. They look older and are dryer than they used to be. I’ve always been good about using hand lotion, but I add Vitamin E oil to it to really try to lock in the moisture. I also read that you should use sunscreen on your hands to help prevent aging. So, get going ladies! It’s normal that our skin is dryer than it used to be.
While using a good moisturizer is important on our entire body, hydration is also essential. Make sure you are drinking that water every day. Aim for two to three liters per day. Avoid tobacco products as they also increase aging to your skin.
You may also notice that your pants are getting tighter, even though you really haven’t changed your diet or exercise. That’s because our metabolism naturally slows down.
You may have to keep a closer eye on your diet, as well as change up your exercise routine. Keep it challenging so that your body keeps adapting.
Don’t Avoid the Doctor
Everyone should be getting a yearly physical—and I’ll admit I’m bad about that. I tend to go to the doctor only when I need one. But, a regular physical can help you watch those internal changes. In addition to your physical, you should also see your dentist and eye doctor regularly. Keeping your teeth and eyes healthy is essential to quality of life. Many people don’t realize that dental problems can affect your health as a whole. So, don’t skip those cleanings!
Aging doesn’t have to be a battle. That doesn’t mean we can’t be our best selves, but let’s also embrace the process. Getting older means we are living life, and I want to try to enjoy every moment of it instead of worrying about those lines around my eyes.