Aging is inevitable. We all hope to age with grace and vigor and to stay healthy as we do. The population is getting older as the Baby Boomer generation (now ages 56–74) continues to grow. Staying healthy and vital with the inevitable issues that come with advancing years is about a lifestyle.
Common recommendations for aging well include:
- Eat well
- Drink lots of water
- Get good rest
- Consider taking vitamins or supplements
- Reduce stress
Though that’s great advice, it’s not always easy to do all of these things. Issues related to weight gain, joint pain, medical concerns, and fatigue can impact the ability to exercise and get good sleep. Stress can be an ever-present issue as well, particularly in these trying times.
Issues related to aging and hormonal decline can be complex, and symptoms can be wide ranging for both men and women.
- Poor Sleep
- Hot flashes, night sweats
- Decreased libido
- Poor energy
- Weight gain
- Muscle loss
- Mental fogginess
The overall key to aging well is to be proactive and address concerns as they arise.
Find a good Health Care Provider that you feel comfortable with who will help you address your concerns and prevent new medical problems when possible.
Discuss hormonal health and issues with your provider or find a specialist who is comfortable with hormone management. Testosterone levels decline significantly in both men and women and can be a source of some of the issues attributed to aging. Estrogen deficiency can also cause many issues in women. Hormonal management can be very safe and effective and can help mitigate many symptoms of aging when done correctly.
Stay active. Find an activity that you enjoy such as exercise, gardening, or dancing and do it regularly. Consider adding an activity that builds muscle, such as weight training to maintain muscle strength and an activity like yoga to work on flexibility and mental clarity. Start slowly if necessary and find friends to exercise with to keep you committed.
Connect with others. Find a group of friends with whom you can share an activity and interact regularly. Nowadays, this can be difficult, but make an effort to connect via virtual communication or in an appropriate, socially distanced way outside to keep up social connections. Look into joining MeetUp groups, church groups, or other organizations. Consider volunteering and sharing your experience and skills with others.
Challenge your brain regularly. Read great books, do puzzles, or use a phone app that challenges you mentally to keep your brain engaged and sharp.
Eat well and consider appropriate vitamins and supplements. Fresh fruits and vegetables and lean fish and protein are important. Probiotics, vitamin D, calcium, and Iron are beneficial as well. There are a wide range of supplements available. Discuss these with your health care provider, who will have recommendations that are specific to your needs and issues. Consider a consultation with a nutritionist for specific recommendations to improve your diet if necessary.
Aging can be challenging, but it also brings benefits such as wisdom and perspective. There are many ways to stay healthy and energetic as you get older. The key is to stay engaged and stay active, both mentally and physically. Find your community, including friends and family, and a good health care provider who will support you in your desire to be active, healthy, and vital.
Susan Lacy MD is a board-certified gynecologist who has been practicing in Memphis for over 20 years. She trained at Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed OB/Gyn Residency at the University of Tennessee Memphis. Dr. Lacy founded Modern Gynecology & Reproductive Health to meet the unique needs of the community and provide more accessible, quality care in gynecology, hormone optimization, transgender care, wellness & aesthetics. For more information call 901.701.1777 or visit Moregyn.com.