There are five signs of ageing many of us wish we could deny, from aching feet, sagging boobs and chin hair to incontinence and deafness. We suggest ways of coping with these five tell-tale signs.
If six-inch stilettos are agony that’s a fair cop, but when you can’t go shopping in your favourite plimmies for more than a couple of hours it’s seriously depressing. The fatty pads on the bottom of our feet lose their cushioning effect as we age and there are more specific conditions that cause pain, such as arthritis or heel pain (plantar fasciitis), which is very common, particularly in keen runners. Foot pain shows – not just on your face. There’s nothing more ageing than a stiff walk and strained posture.
What to do:
Don’t wear heels too often, vary the height and stick to under 4cms.
Dump thin-soled pumps and pointy-pointy shoes in favour of well-soled shoes that allow your feet to keep their natural shape.
The 33 joints in the feet and the muscles and tendons around them need regular exercise like standing on tiptoe, sitting on your toes, wiggling them separately, walking, yoga and swimming.
The College of Podiatry has a directory of private practitioners.
Breasts age faster than any other part of your body and a woman’s nipples can drop by a staggering 11cm. Some women also go up a cup size or two as they get older (often related to HRT). Meanwhile, sinking oestrogen levels during the menopause hasten the collapse, as the connecting tissue shrivels and weakens.
What to do
First and absolutely essential: buy a supportive bra, fitted by an expert.
Buy a good sports bra, because nothing takes a toll on ligaments like the dreaded bounce.
Hitch up your bra straps frequently as they tend to loosen.
Press-ups, chest-presses and breast stroke can all strengthen the lax ligaments and pectorals that are responsible for sagging.
Maintain a steady weight as sudden weight loss can make breasts seriously droopy.
Don’t waste your money on magic bust creams and collagen bosom masks: experts agree they aren’t much use.
Rogue chin hairs
Increased levels of testosterone lead to random sproutings of facial hair that is coarser, longer and more deeply rooted. Two in five menopausal women over 45 have excess facial hair, mostly on their chins, according to the British Journal of Dermatology.
What to do
Forget the usual ways of getting rid of unwanted hair: stinky creams, eye-watering waxing, excruciating electrolysis. Just pluck with an excellent pair of tweezers. It’s an old wives’ tale that a clump will grow back in its place.
Eat a balanced diet that includes beneficial foods and oils such as coconut to aid hormonal rebalance.
Going slightly deaf
The most common form of age-related hearing loss (presbyacusis) is due to changes in the inner ear that make it function less efficiently. It often kicks in at around 50 and about 42 per cent of us are affected.
What to do
Check with your GP if it’s not just a common build-up of wax. If that’s not it, the doctor can refer you for a hearing test. Action on Hearing Loss offers a DIY test over the phone or an online test.
A study by Always Discreet revealed that adult incontinence affects 3.5 million Brits, from tiny leaks when you cough or sneeze to larger accidents or needing the loo more frequently. Incontinence is generally caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles. This can happen after pregnancy, childbirth or menopause, and as we get older these muscles weaken.
What to do
Watch this video for daily exercises (that should be done at least three times a day) that help to strengthen your pelvic floor, giving you control over the need to pee. Get them on the Kegel Trainer app or see NHS Choices.
Avoid sit-ups and plank position as these place a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor.
If you do yoga, ask your teacher how to engage your ‘root lock’ (the area around the pelvic floor).
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks after 3pm: they are your bladder’s enemy and promote production of urine, so will make you want to pee more during the night. You can use pantypads especially developed for these kind of leaks.