Battling the ageing clock

Monday, September 23rd, 2019 00:00 |
Esther Wahome is in her mid-40s, yet she looks like she’s in her 30s. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Ann Nyathira

Ageing is normally treated as a problem to be solved. Indeed, the message continuously sold on billboards and the fashion and beauty industries on matter ageing is that it must be delayed by all means necessary.

Today though, there is a group of women who have refused to allow age and the process thereof to define them. However, you would be surprised they don’t look their age.

Take for instance, Esther Wahome, the Kuna Dawa hit-maker. The timeless beauty who is in her mid 40s laments she has a hard time convincing people about her age.

She has come to embrace and appreciate the journey of ageing like the proverbial fine wine.

Esther says she has never struggled with weight issues even after having babies. Her firstborn is in the university and her last born is nine years old. 

“I have a serious beauty regime that I have lived by for years. I normally cleanse and moisturise my skin twice a day, plus I have a half an hour exercise thrice a week.

The secret is to live life with compassion and kindness, be happy with who you are. Being happy is the most powerful beauty secret ever,” Esther says.

Veteran politician and nominated senator Beth Mugo is 80 years old, but you would be forgiven to think she is in her 50s. Media personality Julie Gichuru is 45, songstress Wahu is 39, Terryanne Chebet is 40.

Mature, not old

Joyce Gituro, a media personality does not look a day over 35 years, yet she has just three years under her sleeves before she hits the age that is dreaded by many women—the infamous 50 years. 

Joyce Gituro, 47, says her daughter, 25, is often mistaken for her sister. Photo/PD/COURTESY

 “I am 47 and I know I don’t look anything like that, in fact my daughter is 25 years and people think we are sisters.

Ageing is a normal process, but you can age without losing the lively aspect of your life. It is our role as women to demystify ageing by not demonising the aging process. It is okay to be a 40 or 50 something year old woman and still look and feel young.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that,” says Joyce. She insists though ageing is inevitable, one can still look young physically, mentally and emotionally.

While ageing itself is a biological process, Dr Gladys Nyachieo, a sociologist notes it is socially constructed, meaning the concept of age is understood differently by various groups and institutions and vary around the world.

Consequently, it may be hard to state that a person is old or not. “What it means to be “young” or “old” is socially constructed, every society has its definition of ageing, and is perceived differently around the world.

Therefore, sometimes it is hard to say you are old at such and such age,” explains Nyachieo.

 Joyce who has been in the media industry for almost two decades says she identifies herself as a mature woman.

“I’m at a prime age where I give back to the society because I come with a lot of experience. The older you get, the wiser you become.

Even at work, you gain a lot of experience on the job when you have been there for many years.

It is such an honour to be working in today’s world, mentoring and paving way for our future young women,” she says. 

Her secret? “Make sure whatever you consume is healthy both emotionally and physically. Do not forget to exercise, I work out four days a week, which includes a 5km jog,” says Joyce.

Dr Nyachieo says embracing a healthy lifestyle is key. This includes, quitting smoking, drinking in moderation, getting enough sleep, cutting saturated fat, hydrating, healthy eating and moderating what you eat, exercising and living a positive life.

Age determiners

However, researchers attribute ageing to telomeres. Telomeres are the protective tips at the end of each DNA strand and are indicative of cellular aging.

Longer telomeres are integral to cell replication and associated with longevity. The older you get, the shorter they grow.

Telomere length can be affected by things other than merely the number of years you’ve been around, including environmental toxins, the number of children a woman has, childhood trauma and stress.

A US study concluded that the cells of women who had experienced menopause speed up ageing processes by about six per cent.

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