August 25, 2022
Staying Healthy as We Age
Alison Barney, MA, OSU Health Plan Health Coach

The years of midlife can bring a range of physical and emotional changes for women. Making healthy choices during this time can benefit your well-being for years to come. Consider steps you can take in these five areas to support your wellness plan in this phase of life.

Health Screenings: Although healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent some chronic health conditions that increase in risk during midlife, it is also important to get specific screening tests and follow up regularly with your physician.

Mammograms, bone mineral density tests, blood pressure and blood cholesterol checks as well as colorectal screenings are recommended for women in the ages of 40-64 years. Ask your doctor about other screening tests you may need during midlife.

Healthy Eating: As women get older, often body fat increases and metabolic rate decreases. Eating a balanced diet can help you avoid midlife weight gain. If you are overweight, losing as little as 8-10 pounds can lower your risk for chronic disease as well as help reduce hot flashes during menopause.

Activity and Exercise: Midlife may be the most important time to be active. In addition to lowering your risk for disease and managing weight, physical activity can also help to enhance energy, promote bone and muscle strength, and improve sleep and mood.

Aim for 30-60 minutes on most days and keep it fun to avoid boredom; mix up activities to help strengthen different areas of your body.

Emotional and Mental Health: This phase of life can be one of tremendous change, both physically and emotionally. Taking steps to care for your emotional and mental health is just as important as the physical steps. Physical activity, social interactions, and generating positive emotions are just some ways to care for your mental and emotional well-being.

Although you can take steps on your own, it is okay to need additional help and support. OSU faculty and staff members as well as those in their household can receive up to five complimentary counseling sessions through The Ohio State Employee Assistance Program.

Sexual and Relationship Health: Your body’s hormone production slowly decreases before and during menopause. After menopause, it drops off steeply. This change and other physical shifts can affect your sexuality, lovemaking, and intimate relationship. Your own responses will be unique. Solutions are available for challenges you and your partner may face.

Spending time with your partner doing activities you enjoy can increase your communication and closeness in your relationship. You may also find it helpful to talk with a therapist, either alone or with your partner.

To learn more about this topic, sign up for the four-week group health-coaching series “Midlife Wellness for Women” starting on Monday October 10 at noon. During this four-week series, Health Coach Alison will talk about considerations for Women’s health and wellness to help you come up with a plan that works for you. Click here to sign up today.


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