We are mostly a carefree soul during the springtime of our lives.
The 20s and 30s are spent earning money while enjoying life to the fullest, without worrying much about health matters. Mainly because health issues have not started to trouble us yet, and there isn’t a need to abstain oneself from things that may harm us in old age.
We all wish for longevity. However, most of us are either not aware of what type of lifestyle changes can bring it or know what to do but keep holding it off due to mere laziness and other lame excuses.
Sometimes we ignore our health due to demanding careers or family issues such as taking care of an ill elderly or tending to children who are growing up.
Why changing your lifestyle impacts your health after 40
Professor Kylie Ball is a principal research fellow at the Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition.
She explains that in order to decrease the risk of developing coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, and mental disorders, one must start physical activity before turning 40. She says that the 40s is the milestone age when most people start getting diagnosed with chronic diseases.
We don’t realize the value of health, and sooner than we know it, the doctor diagnoses us with conditions such as high blood pressure, borderline cholesterol, and diabetes.
Be it our bones, muscles, heart, kidneys, liver, or brain, every part of the body begins experiencing the wrath of our lousy lifestyle choices at 40.
To reach old age with optimal health, you must adopt lifestyle changes to keep you healthy for a longer time.
in-depth blog covers all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. We have categorized the health-improving modifications so that you can create a plan for yourself.
- Dietary Changes
- Physical Activity
- Hygiene Habits
- Keeping Track Of Your Health
1. Dietary Changes
Our metabolism slows down when we reach the 40s. Till you reach that age where you will have to cut down calories, make a habit of eating in moderation, without stripping off essential nutrients from your diet.
When you are young, getting away with eating fast food, soda, and lots of caffeine is easy. Due to our hectic schedules, preparing homemade meals with fresh and organic resources is far from possible. We usually rely on tinned, processed food, frozen pizzas, or street food like burritos that we can enjoy on the go.
However, as we age, all the processed food starts taking its toll on us in the form of an expanded waistline, fatigue, and an increased risk of diseases that come with it. Make sure to begin with the following as early as possible.
- A balanced diet
Ensure that your daily meal plan is packed with all the nutrients that your health is dependent upon. Proteins and fibers are your friends, which you can get from lean meats, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy products.
A great way to plan a healthy, nutrient-dense meal is to prepare a roasted, grilled, or steamed protein such as chicken, fish, shrimps, or lean beef.
You can also go for lamb and mutton but avoid fatty meats as much as you can. You can either grill or steam some vegetables or boil some whole wheat pasta for a quick side with your protein. You can also opt for healthier options like quinoa or brown rice.
A healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring. Try new healthy recipes from the internet to enjoy the spice of variety. Having lots of vegetables and fruits will give you the required dose of potassium that is necessary for the proper functioning of your muscles and heart.
Omega 3 fatty acids are another vital element you need in adequate doses before you turn 40. Try getting it through natural sources such as fatty fish, walnuts, and flax seeds.
- Dietary supplements
Start taking calcium and vitamin supplements prescribed by your doctor regularly. You can’t be sure whether you are getting the recommended daily amount of these via your diet, so make sure you take them.
Depending upon your health condition and deficiencies, the doctor may prescribe you a magnesium, zinc, or potassium supplement as well.
- What to avoid and healthy substitutes
You must start avoiding alcohol, smoking, fatty foods, processed food, soda, sugar, and spices before entering the fourth decade.
Swap your desserts with fruits. Avoid eating full-fat dairy. Low-fat options are readily available and equally delicious, whether milk, yogurt, cheese, or cream. Try using nut flours such as almond flour as a substitute for regular flour—swap sugar with honey or maple syrup.
2. Physical Activity
In the year 2018, the U.S. Department of Health released the recommended amount of physical activity that you must do to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The “Human services physical activity guidelines for Americans” suggest at least 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic activity (moderate intensity) and 75 to 100 minutes of aerobic exercise (strenuous) each week. You can plan a weekly physical activity chart around the recommended guidelines.
- Yoga and Meditation
Acclaimed fitness trainer and writer Bob Harper once said, “Yoga is the fountain of youth, and you’re only as young as your spine’s flexibility.”
To improve your flexibility and avoid stretching injuries later in life, start engaging in yoga. The health benefits of yoga are immense, and it is one of the forms of physical activity that will give your body a burst of energy.
Doing yoga will increase your muscle strength, improve heart health, weight loss, and prevent backaches by improving your posture.
Another fantastic perk of yoga is explained by a study published by the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. In comparing students who performed yoga vs. those who didn’t, evident improvements were recorded, including attentiveness, self- confidence, and a positive outlook towards life.
You can also try mindful meditation as it is proven to bring inner peace and positivity by bringing down stress levels.
- Brisk walking
Our doctor frequently recommends walking as the best form of physical activity for general health improvement. Before you turn 40, incorporate brisk walking into your fitness routine if you want to add some valuable years to your life.
Walking 30 minutes a day will make your heart and lungs work harder and make them healthier in the long run. It will also work on your large muscles and improve your stamina.
A health report on Australia’s Health in 2016 revealed that up to 56% of Australians falling in the 45-55 age bracket don’t meet the current exercise guidelines.
When you are nearing 40, exercise is no more about reaching specific measurements to please the world around you anymore. It is more about losing the extra weight and staying fit and healthy to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
It is often done to combat various health conditions such as back pain, muscle stiffness, and joint pain.
Regular exercise will also improve brain function by enhancing memory skills and curing depression and anxiety due to the production of neurochemicals like the Gamma-aminobutyric (GABA).
3. Hygiene Habits
Maintaining hygiene is your best bet for youthful skin and several other health benefits that will improve your life quality after the 40s. Take care of the following things to get longevity through cleanliness.
- Taking a bath daily
Common sense, but sadly not so common a habit. Showering daily increases the blood flow in your body, which improves immunity and reduces your risk of being ill and catching infections.
Regular bathing is beneficial for the body for both inducing sleep and refreshing it to make you active. The difference is that a warm shower at night calms your body to help you fall asleep faster. In contrast, a cold shower in the day is highly refreshing and increases alertness.
If you make it a habit to bathe regularly, you will reap its benefits in increased immunity and healthy skin even after 40.
- Maintaining oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is just as important as body hygiene, as it helps curb dental problems, which are a big annoyance later in life. You can easily avoid painful root canal procedures, gum diseases, and other oral cavity problems if you maintain good oral hygiene from a young age.
Besides the cavities, good oral hygiene may also keep Alzheimer’s at bay. Researchers from the University of Bergen found out that gingivitis causing bacteria move up to the brain and produces a protein that destroys the brain’s nerve cells. This can cause memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease later on.
- Intimate Hygiene
Maintaining hygiene in the genital region is crucial for your reproductive health. As your intimate areas are prone to bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections due to moisture, keeping them clean and dry will is essential.
A mild intimate wash will help maintain the groin’s pH, curbing the risk of infections.
Clean undergarments will also protect you from infections. They also provide other benefits to your health. Boxer briefs, one of the most comfortable men’s underwear, are known to boost fertility by avoiding overheating in the genital areas.
4. Keeping Track Of Your Health
The 40s is an excellent time to examine where you are heading in every aspect of life, be it financially, morally, or health-wise. To do so, you need to keep everything in check and maintain regular tracking.
For your health, you must know your numbers so that any health issue can be detected early. Early detection will increase your chance of successful treatment, as well as better symptom management. It will also tell you where you need to slow down in terms of diet and exercise.
Get your immunizations done, and don’t skip your routine testing for blood sugar, hormone levels, cholesterol, kidney, and liver functions. Give special attention to your bone health as well.
- Keep a healthy heart
According to a study, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to an increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis in middle age.
The simplest way to keep your heart health in check is by regularly examining your heart rate and blood pressure. Get routine cholesterol tests and other heart examining tests like the ECG done to detect any cardiovascular disease in the early stages.
- A healthy gut
The importance of having a healthy gut can’t be denied as 80% of our immune system is located in there. You need to maintain the good bacteria that help you fight diseases while removing the harmful ones.
Your gut’s healthy bacteria can be replenished if you add fermented foods (probiotics) to your diet like yogurt or sauerkraut.
- Brain health
Be careful if you notice any symptom of a mental disorder or neurological disease. Occasional anxiety and forgetfulness do not count in that, but you should know when a sign can be counted as a serious one.
Dr. Andrew Moran, the principal investigator at Columbia University, recommends that young adults must not wait to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Remember that an all-rounded healthy lifestyle is a perfect mix of a good diet, hygiene, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy body.