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Women Over 50: Your Personal Checklist

Get in touch with mind and body -- and they'll take you anywhere you want to go. These tips get you started.
By
WebMD Feature

For women, turning 50 is a milestone. Society tells you it's a crossroads. Your body underscores the point. Every woman over 50 feels it.

"The kids are going to college, parents are aging. There may be marriage problems, job challenges. It's definitely a stressful time," says Jennifer Zreloff, MD, an internist with the executive health program at Emory University School of Medicine. "You also find that you can't abuse your body as much as when you were younger. Your body just isn't as resilient as it used to be. It's a time when women need to seriously take stock of their lifestyle habits, and make some changes."

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Your Age-by-Age Guide to a Healthy Heart

By Janice Graham As you hit one of those big birthdays, you probably worry more about new wrinkles than about less visible body parts — like your heart. But recent research has found that each decade of your life is a crossroads, with new health concerns to worry about. What's more, you need to be aware of these issues — because your doctor may not be. "Many physicians fail to recognize how much a woman's risk factors for heart disease evolve over her lifetime," says Nieca Goldberg,...

Read the Your Age-by-Age Guide to a Healthy Heart article > >

For many women over 50, it's also a time of self-reflection, says Cynthia Barnett, EdD, a retirement lifestyle specialist in Norwalk, Conn. "You begin thinking about your purpose in life, about finding what makes you happy and fulfilled. You may be ready for something new, work you love to do."

Women Over 50: Making More of Mind and Body

To keep mind and health in optimal shape, here's your to-do list:

___Get lots of sleep. Maybe you got along with four hours a night when you were 40, but your body can't take that abuse when you're older.

___Set aside quiet time every morning. Meditate, pray, visualize your day. Read something that inspires you. Focus on self-renewal.

___Be optimistic. Take time to understand what you want out of life. Find purpose and meaning. Then spread the joy to others.

___Get cancer screenings. Colon screening begins at 50. Mammograms should be annual. Pap smears continue every one to three years if you are sexually active.

___Check your bones with a bone density scan. Talk to your doctor about calcium and vitamin D. Get at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily.

___Get an annual checkup. You need blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and thyroid tested. Also, talk to your doctor about any symptoms of depression, which can be common for women over 50. These include: persistent sadness or pessimism, feelings of worthlessness, loss of hope, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and insomnia.

___Get plenty of aerobic exercise (like walking). It builds strong bones. It also reduces heart disease risk. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.

Next Article:

50 Great Things About Women Over 50

  1. 1.You speak your mind, and do what you want.
  2. 2.You don't worry about getting pregnant - at last!
  3. 3.You know that everything is just a "little" thing.
  4. 4.The #1 relationship in your life is with yourself.

The best thing about being 50 is: