What happens to women once she turned 50?

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By Tara Manchin Hangzo

I recently heard from a friend of mine from Finland who called after she saw my face book status where I showed my relationship status as being in a relationship, she has just turned turned 50.When she called me, she was quite upset. Her mind was in a turmoil , her thought were going haywire , because she just turned 50 and suddenly realised that she has spent half her life on earth and was feeling that she has not achieved much in life . Guess she was losing her marble over being 50 years old and feeling suddenly old.

This is how our conversation started, she was saying…

“Have you noticed? Once you hit 50, two of the first things you might start to lose are your drive and mental clarity.

“Then, losing weight becomes harder and harder…

“You’re social and romantic life becomes non-existent and your commitments and responsibilities start edging out the time you used to devote to the relationships in your life.

“And usually your income, which rose steadily all through your 20’s and 30’s, stops increasing and any further pay raises come to a grinding halt. Now if you wish to switch jobs you have to think twice as they preferred younger people to compete with kids half your age is so humiliating and not at all dignified

What struck me was the words she used , “I just don’t know what to do, I don’t feel old, but I feel like I’m getting old.”

That set me thinking what must 1000 of women must have felt turning 50 . For me it was mostly a non-event, I hardly notice that I have cross the significant milestone in my life until was reminded by my friend. I did face that turning fifty milestone with a menopause. it was a turning point in my life .By that I mean I came to terms with it, accepted it, conceded, and dealt with the fact that I am no longer ‘around 48 ‘. I am 50 now and am a middle aged woman now .I hate the terms “Middle aged “. It sound so archaic and I prefer the terms turning 50 and aging gracefully.

During Pilates my knees sound like Fourth of July fireworks I’m 50. I’ve been wearing a fake smile for the past few months, pretending I don’t really care. I mean, 50 is just a number, right? But when I’m alone in front of the mirror, I anxiously try on the idea of being this old, like kids try on grown ups’ clothes afraid of losing your youth; the reflex is to try to preserve it. But preservation of the past means being fixated, rejecting change, fearing natural development — all which bring you to lose your relevance. Look around at women who are 50 or more, and the irony is that those who cling to the past, aren’t really preserving anything. On the other hand, those who let go of silly things that aren’t really relevant anymore — flourish. They’re lighter, they care less about what they’re wearing or if they’ve gained a couple of pounds, they don’t dwell on what other people do or analyze every nasty comment by every passerby. They know what’s meaningless and what’s important in life.

The biggest fear in growing old is that you won’t be needed, that you’ll lose your place. But the thing is — this is a fear that haunts many young people as well. When I was younger I wanted to devour the world. I still do. But it took me 50 years to deeply comprehend that in order to devour the world; you need to stop and focus on the bite you just took, and to chew on it as slow as you can.

So I’ll follow my friend with the big insights and wish myself, Michelle Obama, and every other woman turning 50 the same — to always be relevant. Being relevant doesn’t mean hoping that someone else will think you’re relevant, but deciding so on your own. For me, it means daring to touch people with the truth that’s not always pleasant to hear. It knows that every day there’s a chance to change things for the better, and that nothing is too late until you actually die. It’s creating big things and little things with a lot of thought and with love, because that’s the only way to feel there’s a real significance to your life.

All these years I’ve been taking lessons from life experiences and feeling like I was growing into myself. Finally, I feel grown. More like myself than I’ve ever been. If it’s true what Maya Angelou says, that the 50s represent everything you were meant to be, all I can say is: watch out.

Hot flashes aside, nearly 62% of women in one survey said they felt “only relief” when their periods stopped, while fewer than 2% said they felt “only regret.”

Despite the latest hype about testosterone supplements, low sex drive, depression and sagging energy levels were more likely to be caused by stress, poor eating habits and laziness in midlife than lower hormone levels. Meanwhile, many researchers think that warnings about female sexual dysfunction in middle age are highly exaggerated. What may account for women’s flagging sexual life is that they are less likely to have a regular partner than men.

Health Inevitably Declines

It turns out age really is about attitude: Research has found that believing that you can improve your health in middle age actually improves it. A sense of control in midlife can dramatically reduce disability and preserve one’s health and independence later in life.

The truth is just the opposite: Many people view midlife as their happiest period. Several surveys have found that while happiness dips in the 40s, people start to feel more content with life after the age of 50. Liberating because when we mentally and emotionally grasp that truth, a lot of non-essential concerns drop away and the important things come to the forefront

A tradition that hails from the Netherlands, the ‘Sarah birthday’ is celebrated when a woman turns 50 and becomes a ‘Sarah’ — old enough and wise enough to have ‘seen Sarah,’ the biblical figure and wife of Abraham. (When a man turns 50, he is an Abraham, old enough to have ‘seen Abraham.’) Typically there’s a large party to celebrate this significant birthday

Turning 50 heralds a decade of transition, many of them involving bodily changes. Menopause ends the childbearing years. Gray hairs supplant natural colour, forcing one of three decisions: let nature take its course, cover the gray or try a completely different shade. (Unlike men, women haven’t embraced head shaving as midlife sexy.) Changes in vision require reading glasses. Gravity takes its toll as our necks sag, stomachs bulge, breasts droop, faces wrinkle, and underarms swing like fish bellies. Waists thicken and knees and back ache. Skin loses its elasticity, causing some of us to try and turn the clocks back by means of all sorts of chemical and medical interventions — moisturizers, ointments to reduce age spots, wrinkle creams, Botox injections, plastic surgery, face and eye lifts.

The rise of the cougar — women who date significantly younger men — proves that sexual attractiveness does not end once a woman passes a set number of years. Frequently women in their fifties find that as their obligations to children and family are lessened, they’re able to focus on themselves; many report eating better and getting into better physical shape than they have been for years. With this comes a heightened sense of self-esteem, a quality that’s attractive at any age.

Fifty isn’t the end of the world, but a threshold that opens onto new horizons. Whether you view the landscape ahead of you with optimism and hope or regret and fear may determine whether you reach those milestones of 60, 70, 80, 90 and beyond. Perhaps the best news of all is this: with women outliving men in the majority of nations around the globe, the benefits of our gender finally outweigh the drawbacks.

I want to tell you, , that you never have to feel like opportunities are closing around you…

In fact, you have total control over your life.

You see, if you’re willing to devote just a few minutes a day to positively working on yourself, you can and will achieve everything you could possibly desire, and your age won’t even get a look in!

But there is a catch…Instead of settling for what’s average; you have to make the decision to be extraordinary.

One of the secrets of extraordinary people is that they don’t just accept what’s normal; they choose to create their own reality.

If you want to join their ranks, you don’t have to do it alone.

You see, I am rooting for you. I believe you are already extraordinary, and I want to show you how to uncover that truth and make it shine brightly in your life.

So you can begin your own journey to the phenomenal life that you choose.

Vitamin D

why you need it: Scientific journals have been bursting at the seams in recent years with new research about the importance of vitamin D, and according the data, the vast majority of women aren’t getting enough. One recent study found that adults with the lowest blood vitamin D levels were about twice as likely to die from any cause compared to those with the highest levels. Other studies have linked adequate intakes to lower rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, certain cancers, and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This key nutrient is also tied to enhanced immunity, muscle functioning, and injury prevention (pretty impressive, huh?). Vitamin D’s nickname is the “sunshine vitamin” because exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays triggers its production in the body, but you can’t rely on the sun as your sole source. Your location, cloud cover, smog, time of day and year, and sunscreen use all affect your UV exposure and vitamin D production.

How to get it: Some of the best natural food sources include wild salmon, whole eggs (the D is in the yolk), and mushrooms, and it’s in fortified foods like dairy, but it can be difficult to eat enough of these foods to meet your needs, so a supplement may be your best bet.

12 Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D

How much is safe: To identify the right amount to take, get your blood level tested. Based on the results, your doctor can recommend the proper daily dose.

Calcium

why you need it: Bone density declines more rapidly after 50, and one in three women over this age will experience a bone fracture. Research shows that in the first years after menopause, women may lose three to five percent of their bone mass annually, and increases in calcium intakes generally don’t offset the losses. Calcium is also required for muscle contractions, so this mineral allows you to get the most from every workout. It’s also needed for nerve function, and helps maintain your body’s acid/base balance, so there are plenty of reasons to strive to hit the suggested mark.

How to get it: While dairy may be your first thought, there are also several plant-based sources, including dark leafy greens, beans and lentils, nuts, and dried figs.

How much is safe: If you choose to use a supplement, just be sure not to go overboard. The recommended daily calcium intake for women over 50 is 1,200 mg per day, but the maximum advised limit, from both food and supplements combined, from age 51 on is 2,000 mg per day. I’ve seen plenty of women exceed that amount (sometimes unknowingly, sometimes because they mistakenly believe more is better), and getting too much can be risky, with potential side effects including kidney problems, kidney stones, and calcium deposits in soft tissues. High calcium intakes can also lead to constipation, and interfere with the absorption of iron and zinc, and recently, excess calcium has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Talk to your doctor or dietitian to be sure you’re striking the right balance.

14 Surprising Facts About Healthy Bones Probiotics

Why you need them: Probiotics have been shown to boost immunity, improve digestive and skin health, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, fight gum disease, and enhance weight control, so there’s plenty to benefit from for women over 50.

How to get them: While foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain probiotics, it may be difficult to consume enough of these “friendly bacteria” on a daily basis through food alone.

How much is safe: If you opt for a supplement, ask your doc or dietitian for a recommended brand and amount. There’s currently no standard dose for probiotics, like those that have been established for vitamins and minerals; and while probiotics are generally considered to be safe, your personal medical history should be taken into account before you pop a pill.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Why you need them: The omega-3s DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are essential fatty acids that have been tied to vision and brain protection, healthy hair and skin, improved circulation, reduced muscle soreness, a lower risk of heart disease and depression, and a reduction in inflammation, which is a known trigger of aging and disease. This remarkable list of benefits makes getting sufficient amounts of these good fats particularly important in your 50s.

How to get them: Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are rich sources, but a dislike of seafood or concerns about mercury may interfere with getting enough. And while plant-based foods like flaxseeds and walnuts contain a type of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, your body only converts a small percentage of this form into EPA and DHA—the two types that the vast majority of the research has focused on.

How much is safe: If you choose to take a supplement that provides DHA and EPA (vegan options are available) it’s important to note that there’s currently no standard daily dose for healthy adults. Many experts recommend 1,000 mg of DHA/EPA combined, the amount advised for those with heart disease, and like some of the other nutrients I’ve mentioned, it’s important not to go overboard. Emerging research shows that too much omega-3 may weaken immunity, and excess intakes have been linked to bleeding, especially when combined with medications or supplements that like omega-3s, also have a blood thinning effect. Once again, to pinpoint the amount that’s right for you, rely on advice from your personal health care providers.

Good Fats, Bad Fats: How to Choose

Magnesium

Why you need it: Getting enough of this key “maintenance mineral” which is involved in more than 300 bodily reactions can keep your energy soaring and allow you to look and feel like you’ve turned back the clock. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, preserves strong bones, and slashes stroke and heart disease risk. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure, but many women fall short of the recommended intake.

How to get it: Good food sources include spinach, almonds, cashews, black beans, quinoa, and pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds.

How much is safe: If you opt for a supplement, look for one with no more than 100% of the Daily Value (400 mg), unless your MD or RD has advised differently. Too much magnesium can trigger nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, and dangerously low blood pressure.

Fiber

Why you need it: Fiber-rich meals result in a steadier rise in blood sugar and a lower insulin response, as well as a slower rate of digestion and absorption, which keeps you fuller longer and delays the return of hunger. It also keeps you “regular” by helping your digestive system stay in tip top shape, and getting enough fiber is also a smart weight control strategy. Research has shown that for every gram of fiber we eat, we eliminate about seven calories. That means if you eat 35 grams a day, you’ll essentially “cancel out” 245 calories—a savings that could effectively stave off age-related weight gain.

How to get it: To bolster your intake, rely on foods that are naturally fiber-rich, like fruits and vegetables (especially those with an edible skin and/or seeds or tough stalk) beans and lentils, and small portions of nuts and whole grains, including oats, whole grain rice, quinoa, and barley.

20 Best Foods for Fiber

Why you need it: Water, your body’s most important nutrient, is required for every bodily process, and you lose water from your body each minute of the day. Replacing those losses adequately can help you reap the benefits of water, including optimized mood and metabolism, as well as better digestive health (especially if you’re stepping up your fiber game), and glowing skin. Good old H2O is also linked to weight control. A recent study found that when middle-aged and older adults drank two cups of water prior to eating a meal, they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories. Another 12-week study found that adults who gulped extra water lost about 30 percent more weight following the same diet compared to those who drank less. And a small German study found that drinking two liters of water a day could result in burning up to 95 extra calories, an effect that could help fend off age-related weight gain.

How to get (more of) it: According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), women ages 19 and over need 2.7 liters of total fluid per day (more than 11 cups). About 20 percent of your fluid needs are met by food, but that still leaves nearly nine cups based on the IOM’s guidelines. While other beverages may count as fluid, water is the best way to meet your daily needs, so strive for at least 16 ounces four times a day.

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