Practical Tips To Help You Achieve A Healthy Lifestyle After 40
As we age, our bodies gradually lose some of the features we had in our twenties; we become less active, our muscles start to atrophy, and we are not longer mentally sharp as we once were.
All of these changes are physiological and everyone is bound to go through them at some point; however, there are a lot of things that we can do to slow down this age-related deterioration and achieve a healthy lifestyle.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the tips you can follow to adopt a healthy lifestyle after 40.
Note that the tips listed below are not restricted to one particular age group, as anyone seeking to improve their health and prevent chronic diseases can follow them.
Get Enough Sleep Every Night
Getting sufficient sleep every night is crucial to your overall well-being; it is one of the first steps to take if you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Your sleep cycle is controlled by the circadian rhythm, which is the biological clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus inside your brain.
This small structure is responsible for the stimulation and inhibition of melatonin secretion, which is the major sleep hormone that controls when we fall asleep and for how long.
The primary factor that controls this hormone is light. Therefore, getting exposed to a powerful source of light near your bedtime can suppress melatonin secretion, making it difficult to fall asleep.
For this reason, you should prepare an appropriate sleeping environment and avoid any activity that may alert you.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Avoid using your phone or laptop before sleeping
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day
Dim the lights of your room a few hours before your bedtime
Avoid exercising near your bedtime
Limit your intake of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine to the morning period
Limit your naps to 30 minutes during the day
For more information about ways to improve your sleep hygiene, click here.
Schedule A Yearly Checkup With Your Physician
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Many people think that if they don’t have any signs or symptoms, then they are probably fine and there is no need for them to visit a doctor.
However, this could be a big mistake! Getting a regular checkup every year has multiple health benefits and may help prevent some debilitating diseases like cancer.
Your physician will check your medical history, ask you a few questions, measure your vitals, and conduct a thorough physical examination.
All of these steps will help manage the already existing medical conditions, prevent their complications, and help prevent new, potentially life-threatening diseases.
Create A Personalized Workout Plan To Help You Stay In Shape
Staying in shape as we age is primordial to our health. Because we tend to move less and stop exercising when we get older, our risk of developing many diseases will be multiplied many times.
Moreover, implementing strength training as part of our routine is important since it increases lean muscle mass and lowers fat deposition in adipose tissues.
This type of training is aimed at increasing your heart rate and muscle contractions at a rhythmic pattern, which will significantly improve your endurance and promote cardiac health.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that exercising regularly is one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease (e.g. coronary artery disease).
You may have noticed that older people have more fat and their muscles shrink with time. This process is physiological and is due to the decreased physical activity and the slowdown of our basal metabolic rate (BMR).
The best way to counter this process is by integrating strength training into your exercise routine to build up more muscles, which increases your BMR and helps you stay in shape.
Strеtсhing or flеxibilitу training iѕ often done after thе саrdiо аnd rеѕiѕtаnсе training. It helps to сооl dоwn thе muѕсlе аnd reduce the tеnѕiоn in уоur bоdу after a hаrd workout. Aсtivitiеѕ ѕuсh аѕ уоgа and Pilates аrе great in dеvеlорing your bоdу'ѕ flеxibilitу and promoting relaxation.
Such training involves doing exercises that strengthen your core muscles, lower back, and legs (the muscles that help keep your body upright). Balance training has many health benefits (especially for people over the age of 40) so you may want to make it a part of your workout.
When it comes to exercising, the most important thing is consistency! Regardless of the type of exercise you are performing, your ultimate goal should be to do it regularly.
For this reason, you should perform a sport that you enjoy. Whether it’s tennis, jogging, or even walking in the park, moving your body the way you see fit is what matters here. And don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it.
Be Stricter With Your Diet
Keep Your Calories In Check
The BMR is the number of calories your body needs to maintain the functionality of your internal organs and to keep you awake.
This rate is affected by many factors, including age, body type, weight, gender, and lean muscle mass.
Unfortunately, BMR slows down as we get older and the process of gaining weight becomes much easier since we are not burning as many calories as before.
To prevent weight gain, we need to work on our muscles by lifting weight, and doing cardio at the gym and watching the number of calories we consume every day.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
You are probably tired by now of hearing about how beneficial breakfast is for your health, but it is true. In fact, eating a healthy breakfast can prevent many mental health issues, as cited by a 2018 study.
Breakfast iѕ by fаr thе mоѕt imроrtаnt mеаl of thе day, раrtlу bесаuѕе уоur body's blооd ѕugаr level iѕ еxtrеmеlу lоw after a night of sleeping.
A healthy, balanced breakfast will energize your body, аnd hеlр уоu аvоid the tеmрtаtiоn tо ѕnасk оn unhеаlthу foods thrоughоut thе dау tо ѕаtiѕfу hungеr сrаvingѕ.
Eat More Protein, Healthy Fats, Calcium (Bones) And Fiber (Gut Health)
Keep in mind that it is increasingly important to pay attention to the type of food that you eat as you get older.
After the age of 40, your metabolism slows down and it becomes a lot harder for your body to process food, so trading in the bacon and sausage for oatmeal or fruit may make a huge difference for you.
Some of the health decline issues related to age include muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, digestive problems, and cardiovascular disease.
Eating a diet rich in healthy fats such as omega-3, protein, calcium, and fiber may help prevent all the diseases listed above.
For instance, vitamin D and calcium supplements are recommended in post-menopausal women because of the increased risk of osteoporosis.
Eat Whole Foods Instead Of Processed Food
This tip is not exclusive for people over the age of 40. Everyone should favor whole foods instead of processed food since the latter can be detrimental to your health.
Cook Your Own Food At Home Instead Of Eating At Fast-Food Restaurants
This is an important one. Fast food and/or junk food is like the perfect recipe for slow death! It causes obesity, heart disease, and even cancer.
For this reason, you should start making your own meals at home. By doing this, you will start to enjoy the process and learn to appreciate the food you are eating. Not to mention that by preparing the meal yourself, you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what is in your food.
If cooking your own food is not an option for you, then you may want to consider finding a good meal delivery service.
Get Serious About drinking Water
“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.” ― Henry David Thoreau
When it comes to drinks, always choose water over any other beverage.
If you hear about a magical drink with amazing health benefits, you should be careful and activate your scam-radar.
Obviously, you can still enjoy your morning coffee or even an occasional sugary beverage (if you are craving one), but you need to limit your intake of such drinks.
Keep in mind that wаtеr is an еѕѕеntiаl соmроnеnt оf a hеаlthу balanced diet so make it a habit to drink enough of it every day. Your goal here should be to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water daily.
Use Supplements If Needed
Vitamins and minerals are always important and therefore a big reason why a healthy diet is so important to our mental and physical health. However, as we get older our bodies process foods differently and do not absorb as many of those nutrients.
From 40 and onward, we should be more diligent about taking supplemental vitamins along with having a healthy diet. This way we can get enough of the nutrients we need to help our bodies function properly.
As much as vitamins and minerals are important for our health after 40, they are not a universal solution for everyone. The best way to know what supplements you should be taking is to talk to your doctor.
Everyone’s body changes at a different pace and in a different way based on their lifestyle and family’s medical history. The only way to know what deficiencies you have is to get consistent physicals and ask a lot of questions. If you need certain vitamins or minerals, then your doctor should be able to tell you that.
Consider Using A Sunscreen
The incidence of melanoma is on the rise for the past few decades. This is partially due to the extended time we expose our skin to sunlight without any protection.
Using a sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing benign and malignant dermatological conditions, and keep your skin healthy.
Find A Way To Manage Stress
Managing stress is a big part of staying healthy after the age of 40.
Find healthy ways to keep your stress levels in check and not only you will live longer, but you’ll also feel like a million dollars!
Yoga is a great way to combine stress management and exercise. Practicing yoga can definitely improve your body posture, flexibility, blood circulation, and muscle strength. Not to mention that it can help you clear your mind.
Meditation is another effective stress management tool that you may want to consider. Practicing meditation can help you de-stress and relax your body and mind.
Meditation is something that looks different for each person. Some people like to set up a nice bubble bath with ambiance and candles to meditate. Other people simply need to sit in a quiet room and relax.
Nonphysical ways to manage stress like reading books, and listening to music are also important to incorporate into your lifestyle,
Mental illnesses in old age are highly possible for many and forming good habits early on can do a lot to prevent those illnesses from appearing.
Keeping a journal, for instance, is a good habit to start in your 40’s (if you have not done it already). Writing in your personal journal is not only a great way to relax and relieve stress, but also to help keep your mind sharp.
Stay Active But Know Your Limitation
We’ve discussed the benefits of quality sleep, a healthy diet, and physical activity. However, you should avoid pushing your limits.
While our bodies are quite resilient, this resiliency is gradually reduced as we age, and we should be more careful not to push ourselves.
For instance, intense workouts, going out every other night to party, and sleeping for a few hours a day are no longer a viable option. Your 20 years old body might have been able to handle that, but doing this after the age of 40 can have a toll on your health.
Surround Yourself With Healthy People
“Your social networks may matter more than your genetic networks. But if your friends have healthy habits you are more likely to as well. So get healthy friends.” ― Mark Hyman, M.D.
This is one of the best tips on this list! Involving other people in your journey to achieve a healthy lifestyle after 40 can serve as a motivational boost to keep you going.
Moreover, surrounding yourself with healthy people will spread positive vibes that will help you keep your stress under control. You will also receive some valuable tips from such people.
Avoid Smoking And Drinking
Smoking and drinking are extremely harmful to your body, but you already know that.
So, instead of telling you how smoking can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, and how drinking can cause cirrhosis and liver carcinoma, we’ll just advise you to avoid smoking and drinking if you want to keep two of your most important organs healthy.
Another great habit to develop after your 40’s is socialization, which is something many of us stop having time for as we get older.
When you have a family or career, it can be easy to fall into the habit of socializing for the sake of your kids or to network with colleagues or other professionals.
It is important for both your physical and mental health to socialize just for the sake of having fun! Studies have shown that it can improve your heart health, lower blood pressure and fend off diseases like dementia when you reach your later years.
It’s hard to meet new people and form friends in your 60’s and 70’s so make the effort in your 40’s when you are still young enough to enjoy the adventure!