world_congress_bannerw



Magazine Mockup Cover Opening - freebie - originalmockups

New issue available


sexual

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE. Not just a young person’s problem

Not so long ago, hitting middle age meant a cup of tea and slippers for men and curlers and a dressing gown for women. How times have changed. Today’s 50- and 60-somethings are likely to be confident, attractive, and active in all areas of their lives. And that includes sex. With soaring divorce rates, broken family relationships, older people are just as likely as the younger generation to be starting new relationships and having sex with a range of partners. Statistics are showing a dramatic increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections in middle-aged and older people and are increasing at a faster rate than among-younger age groups.

Sexually transmitted infections don’t dominate on the basis of age – you’re just as likely to pick one up at the age of 50 as you are at 25.

Why sexually transmitted infections are on the rise

‘The current generation of 45 to 60 year olds is known as the post-Pill, pre-Aids generation. They were originally sexually active when the Pill was becoming widely available, so didn’t have to worry about pregnancy and therefore were less likely to use condoms, and it was before AIDs was an issue. There was also little or no teaching about sexually transmitted infections for this generation. The result is that many people of this age group are now coming out of relationships and re-entering the world of dating – but aren’t armed with the safe-sex messages that were drummed into their children.

In fact, many from this generation have a staggeringly flippant attitude. According to statistics nearly a fifth of those aged 45 to 54 have unprotected sex with someone other than a long-term partner in the past five years. Many of them don’t use contraception because they trusted the person they were sleeping with not to have a sexually transmitted infections.

Another assumption is that if you’ve gone through the menopause, using condoms is unnecessary, as you won’t get pregnant. It’s easy to forget that condoms also protect against most sexually transmitted infections and not using them can put you at risk.

Many infections don’t always cause symptoms and could mean that you don’t know you have an infection, and pass it on to different partners without them knowing. The older generation often presumes that if they had a sexually transmitted infections, they’d know about it.

Spotting STIs

The most common sexually transmitted infections, their symptoms, and treatments:

Genital warts are caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). It’s the most common sexually transmitted infections. Close genital contact is enough to spread them, so using condoms won’t always prevent them. Sufferers may notice little bumps on their genitals or near the anus, which may itch. Up to 50 per cent of sexually active men and women are infected with the genital wart virus, but usually only a small number of these people develop warts. Warts can be removed by freezing them off (cryotherapy) or applying a special wart paint.

Chlamydia is spread through sexual contact. It often doesn’t cause symptoms, but if left untreated, it can lead to reproductive and health problems including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. If you do have symptoms, they could include discharge from the vagina or penis, burning and itching, and pain when you go to the toilet. It’s treated with antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea doesn’t always cause symptoms, and if you do have them, they’re likely to be similar to chlamydia – discharge, burning sensation and lower abdominal pain in women. It’s also treated with antibiotics, but you can protect yourself by using condoms.

Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which also causes cold sores. On the first attack, blisters may develop, and you could feel generally unwell and get a burning sensation when you go to the toilet. Subsequent bouts of herpes may not cause symptoms. The first episode can be treated with antiviral drugs, but less serious recurrences don’t always need treatment. We suggests some natural treatments for herpes:

Put cold, wet Earl Grey teabags on the affected area. The tannins in tea help to speed healing.

Apply diluted tea tree, geranium or lemon balm essential oils to the area to soothe and aid healing. Dilute five drops of essential oil in two teaspoons of carrier oil such as almond oil.

Ensure you maintain a healthy and varied diet to stop the herpes recurring. If you are not sure whether your diet is adequate, take a multivitamin. This could make all the difference.

Be safe, get checked

If you’re concerned you may have any of sexually transmitted infections, or if you just want peace of mind, visit a clinic. Some older people believe they should feel guilty that they’re still having sex, which is should be acceptable.

The best piece of advice is to wear a condom. Once you’re happy in your relationship, don’t be afraid to visit a clinic to get tested. You can even go as a couple. It’s important that there’s more awareness about how sexually transmitted infections can affect anyone of any age.

Sexual health DO’S and DON’TS

DO:

  • wear a condom if you’re embarking on a new relationship – even if you really trust your new partner.
  • get yourself and your partner tested for sexually transmitted infections when you want to stop using condoms.
  • visit a clinic as soon as you notice any odd or unusual symptoms.

DON’T:

  • always expect the man to provide the condoms. It should be a shared responsibility so you’re prepared and protected.
  • be afraid to ask your partner to come with you to get tested at al health clinic.
  • be shy about sharing your sexual health history with your health practitioner, so they can offer the best and most accurate advice.

 

VAGINAL-INFECTION

COMMON TYPES OF VAGINAL INFECTION

An infection or change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria can cause inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis). Symptoms include vaginal discharge, odor, itching and pain.

Common types of vaginitis include:

1. bacterial vaginosis, which results from overgrowth of one of several organisms normally present in your vagina;

2. yeast infections, which are usually caused by a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans;

3. trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is commonly transmitted by sex.

Find about causes and symptoms of these types of vaginal inflammation to protect your overall health and your close relationship.

BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS

Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation that results from the overgrowth of one of several types of bacteria normally present in the vagina, upsetting the natural balance of vaginal bacteria

Bacterial vaginosis – not to be confused with candidiasis (yeast infection) or Trichomonas vaginalis (trichomoniasis) which are not caused by bacteria – is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora (the usual bacteria found in a woman’s vagina). Smoking and the use of some hygiene products are linked to a higher risk of developing BV.

Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:

  • Vaginal discharge that’s thin and grayish white
  • Foul-smelling “fishy” vaginal odor, especially after sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal itching
  • Burning during urination

However, many women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms at all.

When to see a doctor

You probably need to see your doctor if you have new vaginal symptoms and:

  • You’ve never had a vaginal infection. Seeing your doctor will establish the cause and help you learn to identify signs and symptoms.
  • You’ve had vaginal infections before, but these symptoms seem different.
  • You’ve had multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. You could have a sexually transmitted infection. Signs and symptoms of some sexually transmitted infections are similar to those of bacterial vaginosis.
  • You’ve tried self-treatment for a yeast infection with an over-the-counter anti-yeast medication and your symptoms persist, you have a fever, or you have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor.

Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of one of several organisms normally present in your vagina. Usually, “good” bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber “bad” bacteria (anaerobes) in your vagina. But if anaerobic bacteria become too numerous, they upset the natural balance of microorganisms in your vagina, resulting in bacterial vaginosis.

Although bacterial vaginosis will sometimes clear up without treatment, all women with symptoms of bacterial vaginosis should be treated to avoid complications. Male partners generally do not need to be treated. However, bacterial vaginosis may spread between female sex partners.

Bacterial vaginosis is treatable with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Two different antibiotics are recommended as treatment for bacterial vaginosis: metronidazole or clindamycin. Either can be used with non-pregnant or pregnant women, but the recommended dosages differ.  Bacterial vaginosis usually clears up in 2 or 3 days with antibiotics, but treatment goes on for 7 days. Do not stop using your medicine just because your symptoms are better. Be sure to take the full course of antibiotics. Antibiotics usually work well and have few side effects. But taking them can lead to a vaginal yeast infection. A yeast infection can cause itching, redness, and a lumpy, white discharge. If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about what to do.

Despite effective treatments for bacterial vaginosis, recurrence of symptoms within three to 12 months is common. Researchers are exploring treatment regimens for recurrent bacterial vaginosis. If your symptoms recur soon after treatment, talk with your doctor about treatment options, one of which is extended-use metronidazole therapy.

ALL ABOUT CANDIDA

We all have some candida, which is a type of yeast, existing naturally in our bodies. If you’re healthy, have good immunity and your body is in balance, then your own friendly bacteria keep the amount of candida in check. But if your body gets thrown off balance through illness, hormonal issues, long-term antibiotic treatment or poor diet, your candida levels could start to multiply and get out of hand-and that’s when the problems start.

Candida can have much wider-ranging symptoms than thrush, which if the condition most people associate with it. In fact, if your health is not as good as it should be, candida can affect your entire body, and in lots of different ways. Given room to reign, candida changes from yeast into its fungal form when the spores travel through your intestinal wall and out into the rest of your body. The fungus can damage the walls of your intestines to point where toxins are able to enter your bloodstream. This condition is called ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and often leads to food allergies, migraines and depression. And, inside your intestines, candida could cause diarrhoea or constipation, bloating and flatulence.

Once the fungal spores from the candida get into your bloodstream, they can travel to any part of your body. They can live anywhere there are mucous membranes. The spores particularly like the vagina, lungs and the sinuses, where they break down cell membranes to provide food for other bacteria and viruses.

Candida has the ability to disrupt your endocrine system, which controls your hormone levels. This could lead to all sorts of unpleasant and diverse symptoms ranging from weight gain or weight loss to PMS, menstrual problems, joint pain, asthma, hay fever, muscle fatigue and chronic tiredness.

There’s no one specific cause of candida. What causes one person’s problem could be very different from what causes another’s. Simply put, there’s no single thing that sends candida into overdrive, but there are a number of contributory factors that could induce it in people who might be susceptible. It could be triggered by taking long-term antibiotics, which kill off the good bacteria that usually keep candida in check. Equally, it could appear because of hormonal imbalances due to the contraceptive pill, HRT and even puberty, pregnancy and the menopause. Even a diet that’s high in sugary and processed foods could give candida fighting chances in your body.

The secret to beating candida for good is to find out what caused it in the first place. Candida feeds on sugar, so if you have a candida overgrowth, it’s important to give up sucrose and glucose found in foods such as cakes biscuits, sweets and many convenience foods. Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is more controversial; some sufferers can tolerate it while others can’t – so it’s worth cutting out the others first before you start to avoid fruit, which has many other health benefits. It’s best to avoid alcohol, which has high sugar levels.

As with many health conditions, it’s good to get as much exercise as you can. Physical activity helps increase the amount of oxygen in your body, which is great for fighting back against candida spores and will also help reduce your stress levels. Coping with candida is very draining, mainly because it can be so difficult to establish what’s wrong. Many people’s symptoms get so bad that they need to have time off work, which is why it’s crucial to get a proper diagnosis.

It’s worth getting your iron levels checked. Like most fungus, candida thrives on a lack of oxygen, so if your blood doesn’t contain enough iron to carry plenty of oxygen around your body, candida will have a field day – and no amount of restrictive dieting will help.

Find out if you have any food allergies or intolerances. If your body finds it hard to digest a certain type of food, it could end up sitting in your gut and feeding your candida, making matters worse. But, rather than haphazardly cutting out wheat, dairy and yeast, it’s best to establish if you have a true allergy in the first place.

Eating a balanced diet is important to help keep your immune system as healthy as possible. Many people with candida are low on essential fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6, so include plenty of these in your diet-flaxseeds and oily fish are good sources or you could take a supplement. A multivitamin and mineral formula is a good nutritional safety net too – if your body is out of balance, you might not absorb all the nutrients you need from your food.

A probiotic supplement such as acidophilus may be useful to help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut, which keep candida in check. An anti-fungal or anti-yeast herbal product may also be worth a try to help kill off candida spores. There is no cure-all supplement for candida – you just need to find the right one for you. Try supplements for a few months to give them a chance to work.

Some people become depressed about the effect candida is having on their life, you can find the right treatment and look forward to feeling healthy and happy again.

SYMPTOMS OF TRICHOMONIASIS

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection, although up to half of all infected men and women have no symptoms. In women, trichomoniasis can cause soreness and itching around the vagina and a change in vaginal discharge. Infected men may experience pain during urination and a thin white discharge from the penis.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis are similar to those of many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and usually develop within a month of infection, although up to half of all infected men and women have no symptoms.

Symptoms in women

Trichomoniasis mainly affects the vagina and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) in women, causing any of the following symptoms:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
  • producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
  • soreness, inflammation (swelling) and itching around the vagina – sometimes your inner thighs also become itchy
  • pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex
  • pain in your lower abdomen (tummy)

Symptoms in men

Trichomoniasis mainly affects the urethra in men, although the foreskin, head of the penis and prostate gland (a gland near the bladder that helps produce semen) are occasionally affected.

The infection can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • pain during urination or ejaculation
  • needing to urinate more frequently than usual
  • thin white discharge from the penis
  • soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis and foreskin (balanitis)

Trichomoniasis can usually be diagnosed after an examination of your genital area and a laboratory test carried out on a swab taken from the vagina or penis. If the test shows that you have trichomoniasis, it is important that your current sexual partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated.

In women, the trichomoniasis parasite mainly infects the vagina and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). In men, the infection most commonly affects the urethra, but the head of the penis or prostate gland (a gland near the bladder that helps produce semen) can become infected in some cases.

The parasite is usually spread by having unprotected sex (without using a condom), although it can also be spread by sharing sex toys. You do not have to have many sexual partners to catch trichomoniasis. Anyone who is sexually active can catch it and pass it on.

Trichomoniasis cannot be passed on through oral or anal sex, kissing, hugging, sharing cups, plates or cutlery, toilet seats or towels.

The best way to prevent trichomoniasis is to have safer sex. This means always using a condom when having sex, covering any sex toys you use with a condom, and washing sex toys after use.

Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Most men and women are treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole, which is usually taken twice a day for five to seven days.

It is important to complete the whole course of antibiotics and avoid having sex until the infection clears up to prevent reinfection.

Your current sexual partner and any other recent partners should also be treated.

 

 

 

GUIDELINES

BASIC GUIDELINES FOR STARTING OUT IN A STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISE

Gyms can be frightening places. Nervously fondling a couple of weights surrounded by ripped regulars powering through their routines isn’t fun.

Far better to start off with some classic body weight exercises in the comfort of your own home. Try busting out as many press-ups as you can, and also have a go at some body weight squatslunges and the plank. This should give you an insight into the kind of mood-boosting endorphin hit training can provide.

Once you’ve tried out some basic moves for a week or so, taking care to rest for at least a day between exercise sessions, start thinking about combining some exercises into a simple body weight workout. Don’t worry if you can’t manage the entire thing. Just do what you can and aim to improve every time you try it.

Whether it is for strength, weight loss, lean muscle gain or just overall fitness this information can help you figure things out and get started off on the right foot towards your health and fitness goals.

Strength training provides remarkable results in those who have tried and failed at overhauling their fitness with just diet or cardio. Consistent training (more than twice per week, for 12 weeks) can provide such benefits as:

  • Increased muscle fibre size
  • Increased muscle contractile strength
  • Increased tendon strength
  • Increased ligament strength

All of these add up to a much healthier, fit and less likely to be injured body; not to mention you end up looking pretty good too!

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Using too much weight, too soon; always start lower than your expected ability and work your way up that first workout. If your form suffers, you are swinging the weight, or using momentum, this indicates you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces the effectiveness to the muscle group being targeted.
  • Not using enough weight; always play it safe, but if you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it’s likely time to increase it a bit. Tip: Increase the weight no more than about 5% at a time.
  • Moving through repetitions too quickly, going too fast; there is nothing gained by lifting weights ‘fast’ some of the perks of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner, include more total muscle tension and force produced, more muscle fiber activation both slow and fast twitch fibers, and less tissue trauma. *Remember, a joint is only as strong as the muscles that cross it; if you haven’t lifted in a long time, or ever, be careful what you ask of your joints.
  • Not resting long enough, or resting far too long; both can be a workout killer. Tip: The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds, for overall fitness.

Choosing your sets, repetitions and weight
Choosing your reps, sets and weight
can be the most confusing part of strength training. How many reps and sets you do will depend on your goals.

  • To lose body fat, build muscle: Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete 10-12 repetitions and 1-3 sets (1 for beginners, 2-3 for intermediate and advanced exercisers). Rest about 30 seconds-1 minute between sets and at least one day between workout sessions
  • For muscle gain: Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete 4-8 repetitions and 3 or more sets, resting for 1-2 minutes between sets and 2-3 days between sessions. For beginners, give yourself several weeks of conditioning before you tackle weight training with this degree of difficulty. You may need a spotter for many exercises.
  • For health and muscular endurance: Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete 12-16 repetitions, 1-3 sets, resting 20-30 seconds between sets and at least one day between workout sessions.

What Exercises Should You Do?
If you don’t know much about weight training or confused about how to choose your exercises consider hiring a personal trainer to help you set up your program. You should work all of your muscle groups each week so that you avoid muscle imbalances, which could lead to injury. For detailed information on a personal trainer call: 91911958 …..

NUTRITION PLANS FOR STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES

Scheduling exercise into a busy lifestyle can be a challenge, and planning meals and snacks around the exercise is another. Eating too much food, or the wrong food before exercise, can hamper your performance or cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, if you haven’t eaten in six hours and try to work out, you may feel weak and unmotivated. The type and time of meal is important. A large breakfast may be troublesome if you are going for a morning run, but it is fine for a jog before lunch.

In terms of food, your goal should be to have fuel in your body from nutritious food that is no longer present in your stomach at the time of your workout. The pre-exercise food prevents hunger during exercise. Carbohydrates are easily digested, but foods high in protein and fat may linger in the stomach for some time, depending on how much you ate. Large meals can take up to six hours to empty from the stomach.

Snacks, depending on their content, take about an hour to leave your stomach. Eating a high-carbohydrate snack two hours before exercising can leave you ample energy and a calm stomach for a great workout. Many athletes avoid food within two hours of a very hard work out, but can tolerate a lighter snack within one to two hours of a light workout.

 

 

Pre-exercise eating tips

Experiment with your eating schedule to see what works best for you. Keep these tips in mind:

  • A high-carbohydrate, low-fat snack is easily digested and normalizes blood sugar.
  • Avoid fatty meals or snacks, because they may stay in your stomach for long periods of time.
  • Meal should be moderate in protein, i.e., just enough to satisfy hunger.
  • Drink lots of fluids. Your snack can be a liquid meal such as a fruit shake.
  • A light workout can be preceded with a light snack, but leave more lead time for intense workouts.

Depending on how heavy a meal you have eaten, wait at least 30 minutes to two hours before exercising. The bigger the meal the longer you will need to wait. If you just eat a light snack such as pretzels or a fruit drink, you should be ready to work out within 30 minutes.

Eating and your exercise routine

If you exercise first thing in the morning, some fruit or a small amount of juice and water should suffice. If you exercise mid-morning, then a breakfast high in carbohydrates will help give you the energy you need to get through your workout. A bowl of oatmeal, wholegrain toast and jam are good choices. If you exercise in the late morning before lunch, you may want to try eating a light snack before working out and then a carbohydrate- and protein-rich lunch (such as a turkey sandwich) that will replenish your body stores after you exercise. People who work out later in the afternoon, from noon to 3 p.m., probably do not have to eat anything before a workout provided they have eaten a well-balanced lunch and breakfast. However, if you exercise closer to dinner, a light snack, like a bowl of yogurt or fruit, will provide some energy. When exercising after dinner, just make sure to wait an appropriate amount of time depending on the size of your meal.

  • Do What Works for You

The above recommendations are guidelines. Each individual is different and has a unique digestive system, so you have to experiment to see what makes you feel best during your workouts. Some days you feel great if you work out soon after a meal, whereas other days you might get cramps and feel nauseous. It varies from person to person and day to day.

  • Keep a Food and Exercise Diary

Write down what you eat, when you ate it and how you feel during your workouts. This will help you pinpoint the foods that enhance your performance and those that make you feel sluggish. You’ll find certain foods work for you and others, no matter how good for you nutritionally, just will not cut it.

  • Keep a Food and Exercise Diary

Write down what you eat, when you ate it and how you feel during your workouts. This will help you pinpoint the foods that enhance your performance and those that make you feel sluggish. You’ll find certain foods work for you and others, no matter how good for you nutritionally, just will not cut it.

Post-Exercise Eating Tips

Eat foods rich in carbohydrates during the hour or two following your workout and you should be enhancing your energy reserves for the next day’s workout. Also, after you exercise, drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body. Research shows that fatigue during exercise can be related to low levels of water and stored carbohydrates. Since we use carbohydrates as energy during exercise (including many forms of resistance training), we need to replenish these storage depots after a workout. This will assist weight trainers but is especially important for people who do a lot of aerobic exercise (more than 60 minutes) on consecutive days.

In addition, consumption of protein is necessary during your post-exercise meal. It will help rebuild the tissues damaged during your workout. In addition, protein will facilitate carbohydrate storage to improve recovery if it is consumed with carbohydrates during the initial two hours after a workout.

FEARLESSLY

HOW TO AGE FEARLESSLY

Greater confidence, higher life satisfaction and increased emotional wisdom. As we grow older there is every reason to believe that the best is yet to come.

Reaching a new stage or decade in our lives can be exciting, yet often we focus on what we’re leaving behind rather than on what awaits us. We could start each new chapter filled with excitement about future goals and priorities, and with the wisdom to build on what we’ve learned about ourselves.

Getting older is something that happens to other people. As children, 20 seems impossibly old, thirty something is unimaginable. But when we reach our twenties or thirties, our notion of old age moves up a decade and then another, and another.

Our society tends to equate age with loss – of looks, energy, fertility, health, potential. Ageing, we are told, is something to be disguised with creams, Botox and hair dye. Although society tries hard to convince us that young is better, growing evidence is that the positives of mid-life and beyond more than outweigh the negatives. We can all list the casualties – eyesight, memory, muscle tone, skin elasticity – but how many of us know that our brains continue develop as we age, creating better and stronger neural networks? Or that our amygdala, a part of brain that plays a key role in emotional processing, starts respond less to negative event, and starts to respond less to negative events, and more to positive events. While there are clear declines in mid-life, our brains continue to grow, so there is a net gain. We’re better at emotional regulation – we have more mixed reactions to anger and sadness that can slow down our responses and give us more time for measured response, nuance and even wisdom. We’re better at judging character. We know what to ignore.

This is positive indeed, but it would be naïve to think that our distaste for ageing is linked to our physical and mental performance alone. It has much to do with how we feel when we look in the mirror and what sort of status society accords us. Mirror phobia affects 90 per cent of women over 40. Celebrities are routinely praised or derided on based on how “well” they are ageing. It means we can feel pressure to look equally good, without the same access to beauticians, personal trainers and diet experts.

Faced with this insistence on youthful looks, women often go one of two ways. They might think about having invasive procedures to hold of appearance of ageing or they pull the proverbial blanket over the heads, doing nothing, which can result in letting themselves go. But there’s a middle ground: be the best you can be, whatever your age. Don’t fight it, don’t try to look younger. Women often try to hold on to their youth instead of moving ahead with life. It’s a mistake. Living in denial about your age can lead to disappointment, insecurity and making decisions based on how others will view you rather than on what is truly best for you.

With age come confidence, experience and liberation from caring so much about what others think, plus the self-knowledge to plan a future that suits us, not one that conforms to external expectations. Use the wisdom you’ve developed to make plans for the future – don’t just wait for things to happen.

APPROCHING 30

It’s easy to feel under pressure to have every aspect of your life sorted out by the time you reach your thirties. But this decade needn’t be overwhelming – it’s about choosing what’s best for you.

The thirties birthday does appear to be quite symbolic of a transition from your youth to prospect of maturity. With that comes the sense that everyone in their thirties is sorted; you’ve found the partner, settled in career, made plans for family. But your worst fear of total meltdown when faced with adulthood (brought on by cripplingly complex finances and home life) is unlikely to take shape. You may feel you’re not ready to turn 30. But it’s like starting a new year in at school. Even though you’ve gone up a year, you’re a year older and wiser, so you will be able to handle it.

The positive changes of reaching 30:

  • You calm down. The best thing about hitting 30 is the lack of worry. It is time of realisation that you care less about stuff that you had previously been obsessed with.
  • You grow confidence. In your thirties you are suddenly being able to say no.
  • You mature in your relationships. You are a lot more realistic about friendships and people’s personalities now. There is an expectation when you’re younger that your friends should all be like you and everyone gets along all the time. In your thirties you accept and celebrate your differences, and have the confidence to be more honest and direct with friends. 

LOOK FORWARD TO FORTIES

After the high expectations of twenties and thirties, the approach of 40 offers a chance to reflect, relax and reappraise your achievements. With the benefits of greater life experience, this is the decade when you can be happy on your own terms. Women in their forties can be seen as those who have consolidated all the hard work they put in during their twenties and reaped rewards of career, relationship, home and family but are having doubts, or feeling overwhelmed with juggling all these things. At the other end of the scale are those who have not achieved what they – or society – had in mind as they approach 40, and whose perceived failure is leading to insecurity and even depression.

The thirties are also the decade when the first physical signs of ageing appear. At this stage women tend to view this as a loss of their fertile, attractive years rather than as a sign of impending mortality.

Prepare for fulfilling forties

  • Taking stock in two ways is important. First, look back and appreciate how much you have grown and accomplished since your twenties, but also recognise old habits that still haven’t changed or goals you haven’t achieved.
  • Secondly, identify one or two important goals for the future – goals you have for yourself rather than the ones other people have for you – and then work out some concrete steps you can begin to take now to move towards those goals

Once past their twenties and thirties, women gain sense of competence and authority as their life experience increase. They tend to look forward to contributing in new and interesting ways to their families, their job and society. For some women, ageing is a crisis, but for most, it is a release from the unrealistic and unhealthy standards of looking like a skinny teenager. Women enter middle age with a strong network of close relationships with people they trust and who reciprocate their empathy, patience, and care. Capitalise on the natural inclination towards to slower pace of life, more localised pleasures and notice what makes you happy, as opposed to what you think ought to make you happy. Reframe ageing as growth and it becomes not a question of survival but thriving.

THE PATH TO 50

The approach to this landmark birthday can be shaded by apprehension, but our fifties may well be marked by fresh creative energy and freedom – with a little preparation, this could be your most fulfilling decade yet.

It’s not surprising that 50 can be a terrifying birthday. We fear ageing because it represents the end of life. For women it can be even harder because our culture is so “lookist”, sexist and ageist. Mothers spend years enabling others to achieve; at fifty something women finally get to be selfish – in a good way. But it would be stupid to pretend that some aspects aren’t scary. Slowed metabolism, insomnia and hot flushes can be coped with, but thought of loss of libido, and harder to achieve orgasms makes us want to cry.

For others illness presents a much greater fear. Worse, of course, our deepest fear, as we head to towards realisation that much=loved parents must inevitably die. This fear brings us face to face with own mortality.

Our fear of ageing isn’t just about death of course. Losing our looks is another concern, particularly when our reflection in the mirror no longer reflects the age we feel inside. Perhaps it’s no wonder we’re obsessed with anti-ageing products and treatments. Yet reaching our fifties and sixties ca be a time when we stop worrying so much about our looks.

Prepare for your fifties

  • Do not stop. Keep working and learning and even when you’re looking after children; try to keep a piece of you that stays for you. Stay connected to friends and family; cultivate a passion, find a purpose greater than yourself; exercise almost every day; eat well.
  • Get healthy and fit, and stay connected to the world: work, volunteer, be creative. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart.

There does seem to be a process that we all have to go through – letting go of past responsibilities and reorganising that 50 plus can be a very empowering time when we are able to explore new horizons.