Aging is a fact of life for all humans, but women seem to get more scrutinized over the process. Advertisements, magazine articles, talk shows, and social media bombard us with ways to reverse, defy, and stop signs of aging. Women begin fillers and botox in their 20’s now, and sunscreen is promoted as wrinkle prevention rather than a way to prevent sun cancer and skin damage.
Despite what the media tells us, we should embrace aging and adopt a “pro-aging” stance in life. As women, we should lean into the wisdom, experience, and insights we’ve worked hard to gain over the years. We should also adopt a proactive approach to aging that supports our minds and bodies as we grow older — without breaking the bank to meet societal standards.
Shifting your mindset to embrace aging
Aging occurs at a cellular level. Your lifestyle habits may predict how you age because poor lifestyle choices can compound cellular damage that naturally occurs with age. Your daily habits impact how you age, and positive daily habits can ensure you stay healthy and vibrant through the years.
Adopting lifestyle habits like daily exercise, nutrient-dense diets, stress management practices, and positive sleeping habits does more to repair cells and reverse the aging process than any magic pill or cream.
Movement and exercise as the fountain of youth
Daily movement is vital to your overall well-being and can protect your body as you get older. As you plan your regimen, it’s essential to focus on three key factors with exercise:
- Aerobic exercise: this promotes a healthy circulatory system and protects your heart and lungs. Plan aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, hiking, biking, or dancing a few times per week for at least 30 minutes.
- Strength exercise: resistance training supports healthy muscles and can prevent fractures and bone loss. The more muscle you carry, the more efficiently your metabolism works, which can help stave off unwanted weight gain as you go through menopause. Schedule three or more strength training sessions per week.
- Lifestyle activities are a great way to stay connected with your community and keep your brain active. These can include golf, gardening, tennis, group or couples dancing, group fitness, or exercise groups.
Eat to live, don’t live to eat
It’s no secret that nutritious foods can ward off disease, support a healthy immune system, and give you glowing, youthful skin. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants supports your body in many ways.
Much has been written about the power of nutrition to ward off illness, boost the immune system and enhance your complexion. Some top antioxidant-rich foods we recommend are:
- Vitamin A: Yams, broccoli, leafy greens, cantaloupe, carrots, and asparagus
- Vitamin C: Red bell peppers, cauliflower, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, and oranges,
- Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, tomato products, and spinach.
- Polyphenols: Green tea, herbs, and spices
Sleep to support beauty
Many women experience insomnia and night sweats during menopause. Tossing and turning all night can leave you sleep-deprived the next day. Lack of sleep can not only disrupt your mood, but over time, it can lead to cognitive decline, promote signs of aging, and increase your risk of illness or disease.
It’s essential to establish a bedtime ritual and stick to it. Think of ways to ease yourself into bed every night, including hot herbal teas, a soothing bath, mediation, and journaling. Also, keep your room pitch black and avoid any blue light at least an hour before bed.
Talk with your healthcare provider about hormone replacement therapy if you are going through menopause. The right HRT can help you sleep through the night while reducing other common symptoms of menopause.
Remember that we all age, and we can’t change biology. We can change how we think about aging and the habits we form to help keep us feeling and looking our best for years to come.