Hitting the age of 50 is a major milestone in any woman’s life. However, you may be beginning to feel the effects of age at this point, especially if you are not living a healthy lifestyle. To keep yourself fit and feeling great, you can make several simple changes to your routine that will help. Now is the time to take a more proactive approach to your health for a bright and healthy future. If you’re a woman over the age of 50, consider these eight tips to improve your health:
1. Consume Heart-Healthy Food
As women age, a focus on heart health should become a top priority. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in America . It actually kills more women in the U.S. than the next three causes of death combined. To prevent heart disease and keep your heart and cardiovascular system in good condition, consider incorporating heart-healthy foods into your diet, including leafy greens, whole grains, olive oil, avocados, nuts, low-fat dairy and fish.
2. Cut Back on Sodium
Another essential part of improving heart health is cutting back on your salt intake after the age of 50. Excess sodium can wreak havoc on your body in several different ways. Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and other preventable conditions.
Things like fast food, frozen food, canned food and salty snacks are usually the culprits for Americans consuming too much salt. Most processed foods are very high in sodium, so they should be avoided. Instead, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and use herbs, citrus or salsas to flavor your food rather than simply adding more salt.
3. Exercise Daily
Aiming for 30 minutes of activity every day is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only does it improve your circulation and muscle tone, but it can also help with your mood, energy levels and sleep. It will also help to build strong bones, which is always a concern for women after menopause. If you haven’t been active for some time, try starting slow with a short walk every day. You can gradually work up to a brisk pace or longer distances when you feel ready. Also, consider adding swimming or biking to your routine for some low-impact cardio.
4. Stay Hydrated
Unfortunately, there are so many women who are not getting the recommended intake of water per day. Staying hydrated has a number of health benefits for women over 50. These include helping to lubricate joints, promoting healthy cell growth and production, and facilitating essential bodily functions, including circulation and digestion. Water also helps to flush out toxins from the body. If you find yourself feeling dehydrated at the end of the day, try carrying a water bottle with you and sipping throughout the day. It could make a significant difference in your overall wellbeing.
5. Add More Calcium to Your Diet
As women go through menopause, diminishing bone density and strength tends to be an increasing concern. Although it is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to combat this problem. By upping your calcium intake, you help your bones stay strong even as you pass that milestone age of 50. There are several calcium-fortified foods and drinks you can add to your diet, or you could simply take a calcium supplement to keep brittle bones at bay. Consult with your doctor for the optimal daily calcium dosage for you.
6. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea increases in women after age 50 , and one in four women over 65 have sleep apnea. This can be connected to the fact that menopause can increase abdominal fat, and hormonal changes decrease progesterone around this age, resulting in increased risk for this sleep disorder.
Because of this risk, women over the age of 50 should put more of an emphasis on healthy sleep patterns and getting enough rest. If you’ve noticed you haven’t been sleeping well, talk to a healthcare professional to get to the root of the issue. Untreated sleep apnea can eventually lead to increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
7. It’s Not Too Late to Quit Smoking
You may think it’s too late to kick the habit of smoking, especially if you’ve been a smoker for most of your life. The truth is that it’s never too late to quit smoking. Any smoker at any age could benefit from quitting. You will immediately lower your risk for lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, poor circulation and all other sorts of issues that come with smoking and prolonged nicotine use. It can be difficult to quit for good, but it will be one of the best things you could do for your future.
8. Get Regular Preventative Screenings
Staying on top of your health means knowing where you stand right now. Preventative screenings like mammograms, virtual colonoscopies, heart scans, lung scans and other body scans can help diagnose issues before they become a more significant problem. Because the risk of certain diseases and conditions can go up for women over 50, preventative scans are an excellent idea at this age. Always being one step ahead of your health will ensure you are living the best life you can.
Preventative Diagnostic Center in Las Vegas offers low-dose CT scans to make affordable healthcare more accessible to those wanting to take control of their health. All scans are non-invasive and done in minutes, so you don’t have to worry about painful or lengthy procedures. To learn more about our services, our low-dose CT scans or to schedule an appointment, call our team today!
Dr. John J. Pierce is the Medical Director at Preventative Diagnostic Center. He is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Board-certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He received his medical training from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona California. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to his regular practice, Dr. Pierce serves as a Tactical Physician with the Las Vegas SWAT team.