Your appearance and body shape changes naturally with age. Some changes that affect body image are commonly seen in -
Skin: Skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging. Evidence of increasing age includes wrinkles and sagging skin. Skin will start to become thinner and lose fat as well as produce less oil, which will cause it to become drier, itchy, and less elastic (hang loosely). Due to number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases, large pigmented spots, including age spots, liver spots, or lentigos, may appear in sun-exposed areas. Growths such as skin tags, warts, rough patches (keratoses), and other blemishes are more common in older people.
Hair: pigment cells will become fewer and hair color will start to turn grey. Hair will become thinner on the scalp (much more so in men than in women).
Height: The tendency to become shorter occurs among all races and both sexes. Height loss is related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. People typically lose about 1 centimeter every 10 years after age 40. Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. You may lose a total of 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 centimeters) in height as you age.
Body weight: As body age, it uses less energy. Muscle mass is also reduced, which slows down metabolism as well. Eating the same amount food as in younger years will result in weight gain. Changes in total body weight vary for men and woman. Men often gain weight until about age 55, and then begin to lose weight later in life. This may be related to a drop in the male sex hormone testosterone. Women usually gain weight until age 65, and then begin to lose weight. Weight loss later in life occurs partly because fat replaces lean muscle tissue, and fat weighs less than muscle.
Body fat composition and distribution: The amount of body fat goes up steadily after age 30. Older people may have almost one third more fat compared to when they were younger. Fat tissue builds up toward the center of the body, including around the internal organs.
What is your perception of body image after mid-age? Dissatisfaction or obsessions cause many health issues, such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, cosmetic procedure complications, etc. In fact, your body image is the mental representation you create, but not necessary how others actually see you. Having a poor sense of body image may negatively affect your wellness and quality of life.
How can you deal with aging related body changes to feel better and look better after mid-age?
Golden mindset - Self-compassion and make yourself happy: Show your love to the world by loving yourself first. Treat yourself well, do not feel guilty to use your money to do what you love to do or go where you want to be. (To learn more, go to golden mindset)
Body nourishment -High-quality foods include unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and healthy sources of protein; these real foods nourish heart health, cognitive function, immunity, strong muscles and bones, and overall well-being. (To learn more, go to nourish your body for healthy living)
Keep life in motion - Older adults can try a wide range of exercises to improve their physical health. Aerobics, swimming, tai chi, weight training and yoga are all great options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in strenuous physical activity is not the only way to stay fit and healthy. It is also possible to stay physically active by keeping up with casual daily activities. Walking briskly, taking the stairs, gardening, doing yard work and completing household chores are all simple activities that may make staying active an easier endeavor. (To learn more, go to keep life in motion)
Belly fat control - Healthy eating is the key for fat loss. Calorie intake, especially from refined carbohydrates, has direct impact on body fat as your body will quickly raise insulin levels, which fertilizing the fat cells, and turning the excessive calories into fat storage. Healthy life style will enable a healthy body and longer life with freedom and happiness. (To learn more, go to the tough fight for the belly fat)
Practice self-care means managing your health, your diet, and thinking about what your body and mind needs. According to World Health Organization (WHO): “Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) social-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.”
Self-care consists of intentional measures that you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s a collection of choices, habits and actions that you are responsible to make and that impact your health, preventing or caring for illnesses. The International Self-Care Foundation has come up with the 7 Pillars of Self-care to guide individuals in their role to care for their own health and wellness.
Pillar 1: Health literacy – Getting access to basic health information in order to make appropriate health decisions.
Pillar 2: Self-awareness of physical and mental condition – Being aware of state of health, such as knowing your body mass index, cholesterol and sugar level, blood pressure, etc.
Pillar 4: Healthy eating – Having nutritious, balanced and sufficient diet, adhering to possible restrictions according to your health condition.
Pillar 5: Risk avoidance or mitigation –Staying away from tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, using sunscreens.
Pillar 6: Good hygiene – Adopting good hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently, brushing teeth, washing food.
Pillar 7: Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – Knowing the available health products and services, but conscious of the danger of inadequate self-medication and treatments.
Body image is an important indicator of self-care. For example, paying attention for grooming and appearance, make time for themselves regularly, and take care of their own needs without feeling guilt. Adapting self-care skills in midlife require recognize and prioritize one’s own needs and taking actions toward building better body image.
how to rebuild self-confidence for positive self-image after midlife?
Acceptance – Aging is natural; these is nothing to be ashamed of. Today is always the youngest day in your life. Love yourself as the way you are. Be self-confident and let each day be the best of yourself.
Value your body image for self-worth and make conscious decisions to treat yourself kindly. Stop comparing with young beauty models for self-image critics or negative self-talk of too old. Aging is the natural process across the life span.
Make time for learning and fitness, keep your mind busy and body active. Don’t try to save energy; you will use it or lose it. Enroll a class of interesting topic in your local community college or on-line, enjoy or learning a new hobby, try a new exercise, practice art or musical instruments, and so on; there are a lot more fun.
Nourish your body with healthy food and quality sleep. Body image improvements should not be the results from cosmetic surgeries. Your natural healthy beauty will shine at any age.
Reserve time and energy for your own priorities. Fill your life with enjoyment. Health is confidence.
Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. Your appearance and body shape changes naturally with age. Practice self-care means managing your health, your diet, and thinking about what your body and mind needs. Self-care consists of intentional measures that you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s a collection of choices, habits and actions that you are responsible to make and that impact your health, preventing or caring for illnesses. Body image is an important indicator of self-care. Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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