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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Healthy Living Is the Real Fountain of Youth

While there's no magic bullet to guarantee aging beautifully, you can take simple steps to keep you looking and feeling younger.

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Want to look instantly younger without spending a penny? Cheer up! "I think that stress and emotional strain are aging. People purse their lips, they frown, they look anxious," says Marianne J. Legato, MD, FACP, director of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. "Reduction of stress and a pleasant outlook, or at least a peaceful outlook, does improve looks." 

3.  Women and Heart Health 

Looking 50 when you're 60 won't do you much good if you've got the heart of an 80-year-old. Heart disease is the single biggest killer of women -- deadlier than every type of cancer combined. How do your risks measure up? A big tummy is just one sign you're headed for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms (including high blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol) that boosts your odds of getting heart disease, Peeke says. 

Medications can certainly help but they're not the whole story. Exercise plays a big role, too --"medicate with movement," as Peeke puts it. "The heart is a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it." Research suggests taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day could cut your risk of heart disease in half. It'll also help trim your waistline. 

4. Sleep and Beauty 

There's a reason it's called "beauty sleep." While you sleep, your skin regenerates faster than while you're awake. Sleep also regulates hormones that control appetite, which is why people who don't get enough shut-eye are more likely to be overweight. How do you make sure you're getting your recommended seven to eight hours of zzzs? Make bedtime a soothing time. Turn off the TV. Play relaxing music. Read a book. "Do something that allows your mind to unwind," says Peeke. Keep your bedroom cool and dry so you're more comfortable while you sleep.  

5. Be a Sexy Senior 

Having a healthy sex life isn't just good for your libido. It also can relieve stress, help you sleep better, and might even make you live longer. 

"The brain is the great erotic organ," Legato says. If you think sex is going to be dull, it will be, so think about sex -- and your partner -- in new and fresh ways. Plan a getaway and try new tricks to rekindle the flames of romance. If vaginal dryness is getting in the way of intimacy, use a water-soluble lubricant, which will make sex more fun for both of you. Don't have a partner? Have sex with the person you love most -- you! "Masturbation is fantastic and it works perfectly fine," says Peeke. 

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