How to Stay Healthy at 40

Couple in living room smilingThe 40s is considered middle age. During this time, so many changes happen to a woman’s body. Some women start to menopause at this age. Other women experience a shift in their domestic life when kids are all grown up. By this time, middle aged women are already well established with their careers.

By this time, lifestyle diseases may also start to set-in. There are also many changes happening to our body. Sometimes, what works for you in your 20s and 30s may not work when you reach 40 and beyond. Below are helpful tips on how to stay healthy at 40 and beyond.

1.     Eat healthy.

Eat more of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid food rich in saturated fat and those high in sodium, cholesterol and sugar. At 40, most middle age people develop lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and hypertension. To avoid these diseases, it is important to avoid unhealthy foods such as fried foods, salty junk foods and sweetened beverages.

2.     Exercise regularly.

As you grow older, you will notice that it is easier to gain weight. This is because metabolism becomes slower. During menopause, lesser calorie expenditure is needed by the body because menstruation (which needs 500 calories) does not occur every month. Muscle mass also decreases, therefore, the body does not need to burn that much calories. In order to maintain a healthy weight, aim to exercise at least three times a week. It will help regulate metabolism and help you build muscle mass at the same time.

3.     Take nutritional supplements and vitamins.

In case eating a well-balanced diet is impossible or difficult, take multivitamins daily. During menopause, women may experience weakening of their bones, so taking calcium supplements is recommended. In addition, get enough sunlight as much as possible for a healthy dose of vitamin D. Another recommended supplement is fish oil for omega 3 to help prevent heart disease.

4.     Have yourself vaccinated.

As you age, your immune system weakens and may be compromised. As a result, older people are more prone to viral diseases. Two of the most common respiratory diseases in older adults are influenza and pneumonia. Get yourself protected by having yourself vaccinated especially if you suffer from diabetes or if you are a smoker.

5.     Monitor blood pressure.

Surprisingly, hypertension is not easily detected due to lack of monitoring or checkup. Other laboratory tests that you should take include blood tests for diabetes, cholesterol and HIV. For women, visit your gynecologist for pap smear (cervical cancer), HPV virus, breast cancer pre-screening and mammogram. For men, they should get themselves tested for prostate cancer. Colonoscopy is also fairly common in middle age and is usually asymptomatic in the early stages. It is also recommend that you do a colon screen when you reach 50 and then repeat the test every 10 years after.

For those who smoke, drink heavily, or do drugs, it is not too late to quit at 40. Quitting smoking, drinking alcohol and doing drugs will minimize your risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and cancer.

 

Photo credit:  LyndaSanchez on Flickr



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