Health Hacks For Women Over 50
As you pass the age of 50 your body changes in many ways. However, this does not mean life needs to be less enjoyable. In fact, we think you should be able to have even more fun once you pass 50. To help you do this, we have collated some health hacks to guide you to maximum health with the minimum effort. Read on to find out more…
We have categorised 3 common health challenges women over 50 face. Then, provided you with scientifically backed practical advice on how to overcome them. Along with some handy hacks to give you the best results.
1. Blood Pressure
As women age the probability of developing high blood pressure increases. Almost 50% of women in their 60s and more than 80% of women older than 75 suffer from high blood pressure. So, how do you know if you have a high blood pressure?
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The top number of the reading is the systolic pressure and the bottom is the diastolic pressure. High blood pressure is considered to be a reading of 140/90 or higher. Harvard University reported in over 50s a systolic pressure above 140 is a higher risk to heart health than a diastolic pressure above 90. In older women, it is common to see elevated systolic pressure with a normal diastolic pressure.
- What Action Can You Take?
Keep at A Healthy Weight: if you are overweight or obese your risk of high blood pressure is far higher. To lose weight you must maintain a calorie deficit. This means you need to burn more calories than you consume.
Decrease Dietary Salt: Eating too much salt causes disruption to the bodies sodium balance. This causes fluid retention and elevated the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls.
Exercise At Least 2 and a half hours per week: By exercising regularly you will strengthen your heart. This means more blood can be pumped with less effort. This will result in less pressure being put on your arteries each time it pumps.
Reduce Alcohol Intake to a Maximum of 1 drink per day: alcohol can cause blood pressure to increase in two ways. First it causes the blood vessels to narrow. And secondly it can cause fluid retention. The reason for this is due to the hormone renin which increases when alcohol is consumed.
Health Hack 1: Take a quality protein shake to supplement your diet. This will help you keep a healthy weight and avoid binge eating as protein promotes satiety. Casein and pea protein powder have both been shown to be more effective than other types at suppressing appetite.
You may not have heard the word sarcopenia before. It means muscle loss with aging. As you pass 50 the rate at which muscle is lost begins to accelerate. As sarcopenia accelerates the probability of suffering from frailty, functional decline, falls and even death increases.
- What Action Can You Take?
Exercise: For the best results, you want to combine resistance training, aerobic training and some walking. Research has shown resistance training is the most effective way to increase muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. A further study looking at the effect of aerobic training on women over 50 found it had the potential to be an effective treatment and prevention of sarcopenia. Walking regularly over a 6-month period has also been shown to be particularly effective in improving muscle mass in those with low muscle mass. If you cannot manage resistance training or aerobic training walking is a great place to start.
Diet: The two most important aspects here are consuming enough calories and getting enough protein. For women over 50, 1800 calories is the recommended intake for most people. If you are very active 2000 calories may be better for you. If you are not consuming enough calories you will lose weight and some of this is likely to be muscle. This is especially true if you are not consuming enough protein. The recommended protein intake for women over 50 is 1 to 1.5 grams per kg of body weight. When protein is consumed, it is broken down into amino acids which are used to build and repair muscle tissue. This means by eating protein you are helping your body maintain muscle mass. If combined with resistance training this will promote muscle protein synthesis which will work as an opposing force to sarcopenia.
Health Hack 2: Make time for 2 strength workouts per week. This is the one type of training which will give you the most health benefits in return for your time investment. Include compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and shoulder presses to maximise your results.
Women over 50 have the highest risk of developing osteoporosis. The reason for this is after the menopause oestrogen levels fall. This can cause bone density to fall at an accelerated rate. This combined with women having less dense bones than men and a longer life expectancy means preventive measures are important to prevent osteoporosis developing.
- What Action Can You Take?
Diet: Eat vegetables such as spinach and kale which are packed full of vitamin D. Incorporate calcium rich food sources such as; salmon, tuna and trout. If you are living in a place which does not have year-round sunshine it is also wise to take a vitamin D supplement.
Exercise: Any weight bearing exercise is beneficial. This includes the exercises mentioned above; resistance training, aerobic training and walking. These exercises help promote bone strength and slow mineral loss. Research has shown strength training twice per week helps the maintenance of bone density. Further research has found such training may reduce the risk of falls and the severity of injuries suffered from falls.
Health Hack 3: Eat salmon at least once a week. It contains both vitamin D and calcium which have been shown to help prevent and manage osteoporosis. Salmon is also packed full of omega 3s and may support heart health, brain function and has anti-inflammatory properties.
As you can see these issues are easy to prevent. You can tip the odds in your favour by following a healthy diet and regular exercise. The benefits of doing this can be enhanced by incorporating the 3 health hacks mentioned in this article. Leaving you to be at your best and able to enjoy life to the maximum.