A lot of older women convince themselves that they don't age well and can't have sex appeal after living half a century. To put it simply: they're wrong. I thought my lady boomer friends would enjoy the following ways for looking and feeling great after 50.
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Judy Steinberg, author of Fabulous After Fifty and Sexy at Sixty shared her insight on five tips to stay young: If it works for her, chances are it could work for you!
Laugh it Off
It isn't easy for the aging woman to maintain her sense of humor when Mother Nature has been so cruel. Not only do our arms flap in the breeze, but our eyebrows have relocated to our chin. Some women just don't find that funny, and who can blame them? Haven't we already been challenged enough: After all, we've watched our bodies sag and droop from every angle. We've melted down in menopausal sweats, and we've already forgotten more than a younger woman remembers.
Yes, there are remedies for these personal insults from Mother Nature, but how do we sustain our good attitude when what we really feel is that we have become invisible?
Through the health crisis of Norman Cousins in the late 1970s, we learned that laughter is therapeutic. It heals, mends and brings hope and gratitude. Yes, I'm grateful to be older. I'm smarter now. Some of my biggest mistakes evolved out of my naive perspective on life and people. Forget your 20-inch waistline, your perfect vision and your long fluffy pageboy. Wisdom trumps youth!
The joke is on them, my fellow sexagenarians.
Take a Short Nap or Meditate Every Day
In the 70s I was married to a comedian having his moment in the sun. He was facing a road trip of one-nighters, followed by 13 episodes of a sitcom that he wrote and starred in. The assignment would overwhelm even the most experienced professional. I had been reading about transcendental meditation and made note of the fact that one of its benefits is that it relieves fatigue. When I suggested to the husband that it was mainly an exercise/discipline of the brain, and not a religious belief, he was all in.
All the benefits of meditation are readily available to anyone who wants to pursue it, but for me, it remains one of the best gifts that I have ever given myself. It's an instant daily renewal. In 20 minutes of meditating, I receive the equivalent of two hours sleep. At the end of a day when I have a social commitment for the evening and barely enough energy to walk to the sofa, I take those 20 minutes to close my eyes and clear my mind.
I awake a totally new human, energized and alert.
There is no question that a simple little nap can provide an equal amount of renewal, although a deep sleep is a bit more to overcome and the meditation provides many other benefits. In either case, one has the opportunity to get the most out of every day no matter how you choose to spend it.
Lift Weights and Stretch Every Day
Now that we have accepted the fact that our muscle tone can no longer be assumed, a daily commitment to the preservation of our strength is crucial. Ladies, trust me now when I tell you that simple arm circles are not going to help you. You must lift weight if you want results. Time to cuddle up to some dumbells, and I don't mean the guy at Starbucks.
I am about to share with you a brilliant short cut to muscle tone for the arms and torso, all in one move: pull-ups.
If you belong to a gym, there will be a pull-up bar somewhere in the room. If not, one can be acquired at any sporting goods store for less than $30 and easily be installed in any doorway. Just start pulling yourself up; in essence, youre lifting your own body weight.
When I first started doing this, I could do only three at the most. I did it every day and very gradually I have increased my endurance and strength so that now I can do two sets of 10. My goal is three sets of 10. I cannot adequately express the thrill of seeing muscle in these old arms and torso. Never one to have a small waist, I can now shamelessly brag that my waist is smaller now than it was in my 30s.
Pull-ups require using all your stomach and torso muscles to aid your arms pull your body up. Forget situps and that big awful ball I see women trying to manage, your back health is at stake! Pull-ups are simple, easy, fast and gives maximum benefit with the least amount of effort or time.
I truly believe in the benefits of stretching. It's so important to remain limber and flexible. It will help with balance, another one of those things required to prevent little accidents that make big differences in the equality of our lives. It's not unusual to wake up a bit stiff in the morning, so a good stretching routine puts you in a state of readiness for whatever lies ahead.
Moisturize at Least Twice a Day
I remember growing up hearing some of my relatives call my mother "Grease Face". Doesn't sound flattering, of course, but Ive now learned that my mother had the right idea. She also had some wrong ideas, like putting onions in everything she cooked, but that's another story.
Even in her very unsophisticated way, she knew that the gunk she was putting on her face (it could have been Crisco for all I know) was keeping her wrinkles at bay. Her theory proved itself many times over, but I remember looking at her only days before she left this earth and thinking to myself how young she looked at 78.
At this point, we can no longer depend on our "good" genes. A more proactive approach to skin care is demanded by the goddesses of the epidermis. In this chapter of life, it's all about products. The three cardinal rules for the skin care of the older woman are: exfoliate, moisturize and protect.
Assuming that all of you follow the golden rule of beautiful skin (never, never, EVER go to bed with makeup on your face), cleansing is crucial. Some like to use a scrub occasionally, but I prefer a retinol product at bedtime. Exfoliation works little miracles while you are sleeping by taking away those dead skin cells and rough spots. Put a moisturizer on top of it, giving it a few minutes first to absorb. Depending on the climate you live in and personal preferences, the heavier your moisturizer, the better. (Doris Day used Vaseline)
Protection is the sunscreen you wear every day; sun damage can be repaired up to a point, but why not prevent as much skin cancer as possible? Some skincare products provide moisturizer with SPF, a great way to cover both needs. You can also find tinted moisturizer with SPF, a small bonanza of convenience.
To me, a good dermatologist is as important as a good husband, and probably easier to find. There are many new skin technologies every month and it's good to know your possibilities. NIA24 is a wonderful all-around product that moisturizes the skin and eliminates brown spots at the same time.
When I go out into the world for speaking engagements, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is about how to keep life sexy. As a culture, we are inundated with sexual messages throughout the media. And the only time sexuality is addressed for seniors is when they run the ads for the remedies of sexual dysfunction, subliminally planting the message that it has already passed us by.
Since I am only a year away from turning 70, I believe it's time to redefine what is sexy for a woman my age. A younger woman who wants to be sexy just needs to show some skin....a bare midriff, cleavage, mini skirt (hopefully not all in the same outfit!) Older women dont have that as an option. Her allure has to come from within, which means that it's all in the ATTITUDE. So how does a woman communicate this attitude?
There is only so much we can control regarding our appearance, but what we can control every minute of every day is what we think and how we behave.
I cannot imagine anything more exciting than learning to do something new that I never thought I could accomplish. I learned how to dance. I learned the power of music and movement and the sheer unadulterated joy of dancing in sync with a partner. Some people only see dancing as a social preliminary in the dating ritual. I see it as a sport, not unlike tennis in the way it requires a partner.
Beyond all that, once I had mastered West Coast Swing, I had a whole new swagger happening. It gave me a confidence in myself that I had not yet experienced. It showed itself not only in my posture, but in my general presentation. To feel vibrant and alive makes every day an adventure. Stimulate yourself! If you don't care to dance, learn a new language, or how to cook Thai food or take a course in design. What's sexy is the YOU that thrives on information and expectation.