Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, Physician and Contributing Editor for Prevention Magazine joins “The Talk” for our special “Love Your Age” show! Read more for her health tips for women in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
In Your 40s: Exercise
Make sure you keep up with your cardio and weight training! Muscle mass can drop as much as 10% in your 40s so exercise! Try simple strength training moves:
SHOULDER SHAPER (Use 3-to 8-pound dumbbells)
With arms raised and elbows bent, slowly lift and lower weights 1 inch; do 10 reps.
Quickly lift and lower; do 20 reps.
Quickly lift, alternating arms; do 10 reps with each arm.
TRICEPS TONER (Use 3-to 5-pound dumbbells)
Do 10 reps each:
In a lunge with left arm bent, straighten and bend elbow.
With arm straight, palm in, lift and lower arm 1 inch.
Squeeze straight arm in toward body, then out.
With palm up, lift and lower arm.
Squeeze arm in toward body, palm up. After last rep, hold for 5 seconds.
Repeat with right arm.
In Your 40s: Screenings
Start yearly eye exams at age 40. Get dental exams every 6 months and a skin cancer check each year, and continue your annual pelvic and clinical breast exams. Schedule a Pap test every 3 years or Pap plus an HPV check every 5 years. Talk with your doctor about when and how often you need mammograms. In your 40s you want to be on a good preventative plan. Deciding which tests are perfect for you are critical.
In Your 50s: Bone Health
At 50, women can lose 5 to 10% of their bone density during this menopausal time. In addition to weight training, I suggest women aim for 1,200mg of calcium a day. I suggest that you skip calcium supplements and instead consume calcium from food sources. Foods high in calcium include leafy greens like spinach and kale; broccoli; yogurt; cheese; milk; and almonds. Calcium is better absorbed from food than from supplements.
In Your 50s: Menopause
Perimenopause and menopause bring hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia. The number one thing you should do to manage that is regulate your sleep cycle. You also want to watch your caffeine intake, alcohol, and the amount of spicy food you eat. The next thing you need to do is exercise. This is critical to managing hot flashes. Try supplements such as black cohosh, evening primrose oil, and red clover extract.
In Your 60s: Sharp Mind
Your brain is a growing vital organ and you have to keep it challenged in order to keep it functioning. Regularly challenge yourself with mental exercises and new activities to keep your mind running on all four cylinders. On occasion, brush your hair and teeth with your opposite hand. Or try writing with your opposite hand. There are also ton of games and brain teasers you can play online to keep your mind sharp.
For All Ages: Skincare
Drink water, drink water, drink water! You hear this all the time, DO IT! Drinking up to eight glasses of water a day helps maintain skin elasticity and keeps it looking supple. When the skin is adequately hydrated, it looks healthier and more vibrant, and makes some wrinkles less visible. Use moisturizer with SPF every day. Also, consider washing your face only once a day to avoid dryness.
Your 40s: Rev Your Metabolism
Health shifts: Muscle mass can drop as much as 10% this decade, torpedoing your metabolism and boosting the odds of weight gain, especially a buildup of deep and dangerous abdominal fat that can double risks of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Diet Rx: Fill half your plate with produce, one-quarter with muscle-building lean protein, and one-quarter with whole grains, and serve with low-fat yogurt of a glass of milk. Protein from lean meat, beans, soy, and low-fat daily provides building blocks for new muscle.
Your 50s: Protect Your Bones
Fitness fix: Keep up the strength training—it benefits bones. And be sure your aerobic routine is weight bearing, like running, walking with faster-paced intervals, and light jogging. Even walking up stairs can help pound your bones.
Screenings: Follow the basics from your 40s. Add a colonoscopy at 50.
Your 60s and Beyond: Stay Balanced
Fitness fix: Ask a friend to join you for a walk or in a fall-prevention class at your local hospital. Continue strength-training and weight-bearing cardio workouts. Sign up for volunteer work—it can boost your mood and social life and add physical activity.
Diet Rx: Limit fat intake to 25 to 35% of total calories each day. Half of all people over age 65 have pre-diabetes, and slashing saturated fat (found in butter, full-fat dairy, and fatty meats) and eating more produce can cut the risk of diabetes by 71%.
Screenings: Get your bone density checked at 65 (sooner if you’re at high risk). Keep up other screenings. It may be OK to stop Pap and HPV tests after 65 if results are normal and you’re not at high risk of cervical cancer.