What Will Age Fifty Bring?

Today’s my birthday! And since it’s the last one before I hit the half-century mark next year, I couldn’t help but wonder, what will I need to know about my health at the Big Five-O?

After a dive into my self-health education resources, I made a list of subjects I plan to spend some time researching during the next 365 days. So as not to overwhelm you, I’ve limited the discussion here to just three of my coming studies.

Brain Health

With more and more people in my life having to make tough decisions for a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, brain health is top of my mind on a regular basis. Since I always try to focus on what I can control, I plan to arm myself with as many weapons as I can to avoid suffering dementia down the road myself.

Learning a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument or speaking Spanish, has long been touted as a way to keep the brain active and young. So I’ve added both of those to my list for the coming year.

And I’m really looking forward to delving into a book that was recently recommended to me, Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life. Author Max Lugavere became obsessed with researching brain health when his mother was diagnosed with a “mysterious form of dementia,” and in the book he partners with Dr. Paul Grewal, MD, to share what he’s discovered.

Scanning the table of contents, I was impressed to see that Lugavere covers everything from the interconnectedness of brain, heart, and gut health to the critical role that sleep plays in keeping our brain in peak condition. And amid all this great info he presents ten “genius foods,” discussing why each made his list of the best brain-health foods and how to incorporate it in your life, so you can get a leg up on keeping your mind healthy and functioning well.

Menopause

As a woman moves into menopause, her hormone production changes, making every function of her body work just a little bit differently. Though I’m not there quite yet—each woman’s body make this transition at the time that’s right for it—I know that with each birthday it’s getting closer.

Many people have told me there’s no way to really prepare for experiencing the effects of menopause, such as hot flashes or inexplicable weight gain, but since there is no escaping their possibility, I plan to learn all I can about this new biochemical reality so I can roll with the changes as best I can.

And to get specific clues on when and how exactly it will go down, I’ll be checking with my mom and older sisters to see what their experiences were like. How about you ladies out there who have made the transition—any advice or suggestions on preparing for menopause? Let me know!

Exercise

Loss of muscle mass and decrease in bone density are just a couple of realities that go along with age. What are the key things to know about staying physically strong and fit as I approach notching fifty years under my belt?

Strength training will play a key role, of course, but I don’t see myself as a free weights kind of gal. So are body-weight exercises going to be enough? What’s the best cardio activity if I’m not interested in running? And since there’s always the possibility of too much of a good thing, where is the line between healthfulness and overwork?

On this subject Maria Atwood’s Help! My Body Is Getting Flabby is at the top of my resource list. It’s great to know I have a surefire starting point there. And for keeping things tight from the shoulders up, Tom Hagerty’s Shape Your Face will be an essential aid, I’m sure. Perhaps my biggest challenge will simply be accepting that my exercise routine must change as I get older.

I realize aging is gradual. You don’t just wake up one morning and, BAM, a fifty-year-old list of things to do and deal with hits you in the face. Still, getting older can feel sudden, and a little knowledge can be the difference between curling up in the fetal position when fifty hits or proclaiming, “I was wondering when you’d show up. Challenge accepted!”

I’ve never been one to shy away from birthdays or mourn years gone by, and today will be no different. So happy birthday to me! And if you’re wondering what to get me, check out the premier issue of Selene River Press’s new magazine Trophia, featuring yours truly discussing “Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health.” Think of it as a gift to me and your body. 🙂

Images from iStock/m-imagephotography (main), CherriesJD (birthday), ipopba (brain). 

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of “Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health”, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she has discovered with those who are interested. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy. To get in touch with her, leave a message here or check out her website at PaulaWidish.com

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