At 40, life can be pretty busy. You might be moving up in your career while the kids turn into adults. At the same time, your body is going through major age-related changes.
Everything calls for a different mindset. After all, you’re not 20 anymore! The possibility of chronic diseases is also much closer.
So treat your body well by adapting these 9 lifestyle habits for your 40s.
1. Increase Calcium Intake
Age-related bone loss usually begins at 40, but there’s still time to strengthen your bones. This is important for preventing fractures and osteoporosis, especially if you’re a woman.
Focus on getting enough calcium through diet or supplements. Aim for 1,000 mg each day, along with 1,000 IU vitamin D to help calcium absorption.1 Regular exercise will also keep your bones nice and strong.
2. Manage Stress
As you age, practice healthy ways of relieving stress. This can be anything from yoga, hiking, or socializing with friends.
3. Exercise Regularly
After age 30, you lose 3 to 8 percent of muscle mass per decade. This increases your risk of falls and other accidents.4
The normal aging process can also stiffen your arteries, making it harder for your heart to pump blood. Luckily, even a light exercise routine can slow down these changes and prevent chronic diseases.
4. Eat Fiber For Digestive Health
As you age, you’re more likely to have constipation and other digestive issues. Protect your gut by eating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This will encourage regular bowel movements and prevent future intestinal problems.5
Drinking enough water will also help by moving fiber through your body6
5. Stay Mentally Stimulated
While mild forgetfulness is a normal part of aging, dementia isn’t. This type of mental decline usually shows up after 65 years of age.7 But since it happens gradually, you have the chance to slow it down.
Keep your brain active by reading or joining a club. Anything that challenges your brain will strengthen your nerve cells, decreasing your risk of mental decline.8
6. Take Care Of Your Eyes
Take care of your eyes by limiting screen time and using proper lighting. You can also protect your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays with sunglasses and wide brim hats.11
7. Stay Hydrated
Aging naturally causes changes in sodium and water balance. This places older people at risk of dehydration, causing confusion and irritability.12
But staying hydrated is also important for keeping aging skin healthy. It can relieve constipation, which is a common issue in older people. Men should aim for 13 cups of fluid each day. Women should go for 9. Keep it healthy by choosing water over sugary drinks.13
8. Improve Immunity
Age-related oxidative stress can hurt your immune cells, making it harder to fight disease. But you can strengthen your immunity by fueling up on antioxidants like vitamins A and C.14 These can be found in fresh fruits like oranges and veggies like broccoli.
Since your gut is your first line of defense, it might also help to have probiotics. This will keep your gut bacteria balanced and promote good digestion.15
9. Maintain Healthy Weight
A healthy weight can ward off chronic diseases such as osteoporosis. It can even prevent urinary incontinence, a common consequence of aging.
About 40 percent of adults aged 40 to 74 are also pre-diabetic, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But a healthy weight can prevent these illnesses from completely developing.16
You can’t stop yourself from aging. But you can definitely change how your body handles it. If you’re trying to adopt a new lifestyle change, start small and work up from there. Remember, it’s never too late!
|↑1||Healthy Bones at Every Age, orthoinfo.aaos.org|
|↑2||Healthy Aging, mayoclinic.org|
|↑3||Stress! Don’t Let It Make You Sick, aarp.org|
|↑4||English, Kirk L. and Paddon-Jones, Douglas. “Protecting muscle mass and function in older adults during bed rest.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 13.1 (2010): 34–39.|
|↑5||Concerned About Constipation? nia.nih.gov|
|↑6||Healthy Eating After 50, nia.nih.gov|
|↑7||Salthouse, Timothy A. “When does age-related cognitive decline begin?” Neurobiology of Aging 30.4 (2009): 507-514.|
|↑8||Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, alz.org|
|↑9||Adult Vision: 41 to 60 Years of Age, aoa.org|
|↑10||The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group. “Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the United States.” Arch Ophthalmol. 122.4 (2004):564-572.|
|↑11||Aging and Your Eyes, nia.nih.gov|
|↑12||Schols, Jos M.G.A., C.P.G.M. De Groot, Tischa van der Cammen, and Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert. “Preventing and treating dehydration in the elderly during periods of illness and warm weather.” The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging 13.2 (2009): 150-157.|
|↑13||Nutrition and healthy eating, mayoclinic.org|
|↑14||De la Fuenta, M. “Effects of antioxidants on immune system ageing.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56.3 (2002): S5-8.|
|↑15||Hebuterne, Xavier. “Gut changes attributed to ageing: Effects on intestinal microflora.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 6.1 (2003): 49-54.|
|↑16||8 Areas of Age-Related Change, medlineplus.gov|