Secrets to Aging Gracefully

Written by  //  August 6, 2014  //  HEALTH & BEAUTY  // 

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By Angela M Berry, CPT
www.myheartcorefitness.com

Women near 50 years of age and older will notice their body functions and appearances beginning to change and for most of us, we really don’t like it. We are experiencing lack of energy, mood swings, hot flashes (personal summers), breasts heading south, abs in the form of a pouch, pooch, or lapped over, swollen ankles, and flappy arms (pancakes), etc. The two main reasons for these changes are menopause and lifestyle. The way you have lived has caught up and the results are showing. At this point of our lives, we must decide if we want to age gracefully and healthy to maintain our independence or become dependent on medication and family/friends sooner than later.

In this article, I will address a couple of universal concerns women over 50 may have including sagging breasts, flabby stomachs, and poor diets.

Sagging Breasts
Menopausal women lose skin elasticity, which causes a natural gravitational descent of the breast gland that results in droopy breasts (ptosis breasts). Additionally, with the loss of estrogen, the breast tissue will become fattier, which leads to a volume loss, especially at the top of the breast, the desirable cleavage area. Ptosis is a natural consequence of aging. The developmental primary factors influencing breast ptosis over a woman’s lifetime are cigarette smoking, body mass index (BMI), number of pregnancies, breast cup size before pregnancy, and age. Breast ptosis is also influenced by heredity, which determines a woman’s skin elasticity, breast size, and the balance of adipose and glandular tissue.

Flabby Stomach
Fat redistribution happens after menopause; typically it reduces from arms, legs and hips and settles around the waist and onto the belly. There are many reasons that exacerbate the problems, such as changes to hormone levels, decreased physical activity, slower metabolism and stress that causes Cortisol (a hormone), which increases the level of fats and sugar in the bloodstream. Cortisol will stack fats and sugars near to the liver (waist and onto the belly).

Poor Diet
Diet plays a major role in the proper function and appearance of our bodies. Reduce your intake of junk food, fried food, sweets (cakes, cookies and pies), non-nutritional snacks (potato chips, flavored popcorn, etc.) and eat foods that are low in calories and fat (read the label). Consuming more fruits, vegetables, lean meat, poultry, whole grain and low fat dairy products in your diet will provide a balanced diet keeping you satiated and energized. Also avoid sugary and high calorie colas. They don’t provide any nutritional valuae and unnecessarily add extra calories. Also avoid package foods, such as frozen dinners, prepared meals, meats, etc. Packaged foods have high sodium preservative ingredients to maintain the shelf life.

So how can we age gracefully while enjoying life’s pleasures?
We must change to a healthier lifestyle. Let’s face it ladies, our body is getting older and in order to keep functioning, we must keep up with maintaining it by eating good nutrients, staying hydrated, and continuing to move.  Your exercises should focus on improving strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Participating in outdoor activities such as: walking, gardening, hiking, etc. and also indoor activities like: aerobics, Pilates, Yoga, silver sneakers, and functional core training. Hiring a personal trainer who specializes in adult and senior fitness is also a great option. It is good to know the correct exercise form to prevent injuries.

Exercising with an intensity level of low to moderate intensity is a great way to tone and strengthen muscles and reduce flabbiness. Burning calories by walking, cycling, running and jogging not only helps in reducing a flabby stomach, but it also increases your strength, bones, and lung capacity.

Sorry ladies, unfortunately, exercising doesn’t help with the loss of volume for sagging breasts (Ptosis Breasts), which was noted in the beginning of this article. The important issue is to keep the muscles and bones strong.  So don’t fall for those marketing gimmicks.

I highly recommend reviewing the following websites for quality information to help you prepare a balanced diet and incorporate physical activities. They are the following:

Nutrition
http://www.helpguide.org/life/senior_nutrition.htm

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6839

http://www.nutrition.gov/life-stages/seniors,

Physical Activity

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/olderadults.html

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseforolderadults/healthbenefits/01.html

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity/chapter-7-keep-going

http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/try-these-exercises

Remember, we must accept the things we cannot change and love our bodies.

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Angela-BerrybioAngela M. Berry is the owner of My HeartCore Fitness (an In-Home/Office Fitness Co.).  She is nationally certified as well as a certified CPR and AED with the American Heart Association. With over 10 years experience working with older adults and seniors (mainly women), her specialties are weight loss, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. She is currently studying to further her fitness career by working with cancer patients. Angela has a true passion for health and fitness. She believes that “Dedication + Discipline + Determination = Results” can be accomplished in our 2nd phase of life.

 

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