Defend your face
Take decades of environmental exposure, add a quickening rate of collagen breakdown, and behold: In your 30s your face may show more sagging, fine lines, and early wrinkles than youd like, says Bobby Buka, MD, a New York City dermatologist.
Lets face it: Pregnancy, breast-feeding, and simple gravity can be a bit of a downer for your girls. But the right brafitted with the help of an expertcan make all the difference. (See Health.com/bra for fitting tips.) What else can help your breasts as the years go by? Remember to work your pecs at the gym. “Toning the pectoral muscles wont revive sagging tissue or skin, but youll look better with definition in that area,” says Colette Cole, a senior personal trainer and director of the Female Focus Program at the Cooper Center in Dallas.
Women are roughly twice as likely as men to get depressed, which can make them feel worn out and weary beyond their years. To guard against energy-sapping blues, get enough B vitamins: They may help ward off depression and play a role in how cells produce energy, says Christine Gustafson, MD, an integrative medicine specialist in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Get to bed
Women report more sleep problems than men, especially starting at age 40. Blame topsy-turvy hormone levels in perimenopause (the 5 to 10 years before the change), not to mention everyday stress that only seems to worsen during this decade. The good news? Getting more rest better equips you to fight off conditions, like memory loss, high blood pressure, and a weak immune system, all of which make you look and feel older.
Before you had children, a tummy pooch was never an issue, right? But now changing hormone levels are cueing your cells to store more fatand the ab region is storage central. Changing the way you exercise may help you fight off the bulge. Dr. Gustafson believes that working out more frequently20 minutes five days a week, say, instead of hour-long sessions three days a weektrains your body to burn fat faster. Another smart adjustment: Structure your diet around fresh veggies and whole grainsfoods that encourage your cells to burn fat, not store it.
With age comes wisdom, but finding your keys is another story. Avoid that addled feeling by exercising your brain. “Research shows people who do things with their minds tend to have less memory loss,” Dr. Gustafson says. Novelty is important; you wont fight cognitive decline with-out trying something new. Take a community ed course in graphic design, find your inner Julia Child in a cooking class, or tackle an engrossing classic like Tolstoys Anna Karenina. Also, eat more brain food, like salmon and tuna.
Erase the evidence
If night creams, exfoliators, and sunblock arent keeping wrinkles out of your life, a hyaluronic acid–based facial filler, like Juvederm or Restylane, might be your best bet. “A single shot lasts up to one year, requires no skin testing, and, other than possible bruising and tenderness, has few bad reactions,” Dr. Buka says. (The cost? Its a $500 to $800 investment in yourself.) Check that your derm is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and can show you before-and-after pictures.
Osteoarthritis (OA), the degeneration of cartilage in the joints, often rears its ugly head in the 50s. (OA is more common in women than in men, affecting upwards of 16 million of us.) Exercise may help you avoid the aches; just make sure you vary your routine and include several types of low-impact activities, like biking, swimming, or any water-based fitness classone of the best options for women who want to stay fit without putting extra stress on their joints, says Cole.
Feeling too old and tired (or too dry) for sex? Then talk to your doctor about hormone creams to relieve vaginal dryness, which is a common side effect of plummeting estrogen levels. (Short-term use is thought to be safest.) Or experiment with a lubricant containing L-arginine, which stimulates blood flow, setting the stage for the big O. Some experts also suggest an herbal supplement combining Peruvian maca root and deer antler velvet, which may help free up testosterone, a key to boosting libido. “If youre going to try herbs, try this,” Dr. Gustafson says. Check out Amazon.com for various brands of the lube and herbal supplement.
When you make a change, how much of a difference will really show up? Everyone reacts differently, says Bobby Buka, MD, a New York City dermatologist, but the changes listed here can lead to dramatic improvements.
|Use SPF 30+ sunblock everyday||20|
|Use a retinol or retinoid product for a year||10|
|Get one shot of a hyaluronic acid filler||10|
|Exercise at least three times a week||10|
|Lose 10 pounds||5|
|Get eight hours of sleep a night||5|