What to Expect in Your 50's: Guide for Women
Women's health tips for the most surprising issues women face over 50, from those who have been there
Life in your 50s. We've all heard about hot flashes, wrinkles, and dry skin, sure, but what else can we expect?
Not everyone ages at the same rate and certainly, we will all have different experiences with aging. I interviewed women over 50 to find out what experiences took them by surprise.
Menopause, even though expected, caught most of the women over 50 that I interviewed by surprise. It's sort of like childbirth. You've heard about it from many people, but until you actually go through it, you can't really appreciate what it is like - the hot flashes that set your core on fire before they reach your skin, the belly fat that magically appears overnight and the 10 or 20 pounds that accompany it. Menopause also diminishes energy levels and interrupts and/or changes sleep patterns (can you say insomnia?). And, with the hormonal changes, you grow more hair on your face, especially your chin. Unfortunately, your hair texture may also change, and you may experience vaginal dryness. The upside to menopause, of course, is the end of periods. To me, that is a pretty great trade-off.
Skin Changes After 50
Your skin will also go through major changes as you age. As we lose lean tissue, our total body water (TBW) percentage decreases. So, it is even more important to hydrate. Sunscreen should be used every day, along with a moisturizer with collagen to help counteract the loss of elasticity. Products with retinol (a form of vitamin A) or hyaluronic acid can also help your skin feel more youthful.
Strength and Flexibility
The strength and flexibility of our muscles are affected by age, too. It's more important than ever to build muscle strength and stretch regularly so that your range of motion and ability to undertake normal activities doesn't start to be affected as you enter your 50s. Yoga is fantastic for addressing both of these concerns, and it is great for the soul. Make sure to check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regimen.
Mental acuity changes in your 50s as well. Changes can consist of anything from memory loss to anxiety. The best way to impede memory loss is to challenge your mind. Word games are a great way to stimulate your brain. Mindfulness exercises will help increased anxiety at this age.
Heart Disease and Diabetes
The risk of heart disease increases with age, especially for women over 50. Eat a healthier blend of food to control your cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight, and you'll decrease your odds of getting this disease. Our bodies are more insulin resistant as we age due to our changing body composition. So, you should also cut back on carbs and sugar.
Most women over 50 that I spoke with expected to be empty nesters by now, but this doesn't always happen. If you're still caregiving of either children or aging parents, make sure to carve out time for yourself as a way to maintain balance. Even if your parents aren't living with you, watching them age is difficult. The idea of what is next can be distressing. Don't be afraid to get help if you are feeling stressed.
Life after 50 is not all doom and gloom! In fact, it can be a pretty fantastic time in your life.
The women I spoke to reported their sex drive was largely unchanged, and now that they knew their bodies better, they enjoyed it more.
Many women have learned by this age how to surround themselves with people who enrich their lives versus bring them down and enjoy deeper relationships.
With the confidence of knowing yourself and often having more financial security than when you were in your 20s, you're more equipped than ever before to tackle new things. So take that trip to Bora Bora, start doing pilates, or launch a new career.
You've lived long enough to know what makes you happy and what doesn't. Embrace that strength and knowledge and use it daily to live your best life. Make your 50s fabulous!