It is said that ‘age’ is all in the mind. But what about the stark reality that stares you in the face from your mirror where you see a receding hairline, a much bigger waistline than you would have wished, deep wrinkles and a jowl that you would rather not have! Yes, as you get more and more successful professionally and start reaching the upper echelons of your career, the body works in the reverse. The BMR (basal metabolic rate) or the ability of the body to burn calories slows down, the hormones in women play havoc, with the result that they are landed with very dry and patchy skin, stubborn pigmentation, unwanted coarse hair on their face, deep wrinkles, weight gain.
Add to this the other adjustments in life they have to undergo with their ‘dear daughters’ parting from them after marriage and the daughters-in-law coming in and changing the dynamics of the family. These changes make the body and mind very vulnerable and if one does not anticipate these or are not forewarned, one tends to find the 50’s very trying.
I believe that ‘every phase of our life is the best phase to be in’ and therefore I take joy in every ‘milestone’ year of my life. I am shortly about to become a grandmother but that does not stop me from trying to retain my figure, wearing jeans, highlighting my hair besides working long hours, balancing home life and relationships. After all I firmly believe that life is all about relationships. But I cannot imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a fat me without a waistline, a patchy pigmented skin on the face, grey hair and a slump in my gait. I would rather not be alive. But without getting to extremes I would say that it is very important to look good, to feel good.
Lifestyle changes become the singlemost important change that one has to bring about.
This includes the right kind of diet, regular exercise, nutritional supplements, mental relaxation through yoga & meditation, being involved in hobbies or social activities and following a simple anti ageing skin care regime. The diet would entail frequent meals at regular intervals low in oil and refined sugar. It should contain whole grain, pulses, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, lean meat, unsalted nuts, fruits especially the citric ones and those of a rich, deep colour as they are rich in antioxidants ( they flush the free radicals and toxins out of the body) and alcohol intake is best limited to red wine.
Regular exercise or at least a walk 4-5 times a week will go a long way in maintaining a sense of well being in you. Always consult your physician before you undertake any physical activity. Exercise always rushes more fresh blood containing nutrients and oxygen and flushes away the toxins from the whole body. The exercise you choose depends on your age, your health, your time available. This in combination with a little mental relaxation (yoga or meditation) can form an ideal workout pattern that promises to keep you healthy and happy.
Nutritional supplements are essential after the age of 40 as the body uses up all the natural reserves by then and to compensate for all the systemic changes that occur with age. A good combination of B complex, antioxidants, calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron or folic acid supplements should suffice in normal individuals.
Coming back to “ looking good after 50”, is a state of mind, I believe if the lifestyle is good and the thought process is right, one can be sure that one feels good. Add to it a little skin care regime which will include ‘an always application’ of a sunscreen 2-3 times a day, cleansing, moisturizing and exfoliation of the skin, and a night care regime which would consist of proper cleansing and the use of active anti ageing and anti pigmentation ingredients in the night cream or serum. Keeping the basal metabolic rate up and the weight down is important to remain trim. A good hair cut from a professional can make a huge difference to your morale.
An issue of mind over matter, there are lots of little measures one can take that can infuse the much needed feel good factor back into your life without having to resort to drastic measures.
Dr. Jamuna Pai