Turning 40 doesn't mean that your health is going to nosedive; in fact, you can stay strong and healthy well into your 60's and beyond if you take some simple, common sense steps toward living a healthy life. Here are just a few tips:
You likely already know the importance of daily exercise; taking the stairs, going for a walk after dinner, parking your car at the back of the parking lot instead of closer to the doors - but did you know that as you age your metabolism not only slows, but you lose muscle mass as well? That's why it's so important to add strength training to your cardio exercises. That doesn't mean you have to spend hours in a gym bench pressing hundreds of pounds. Start small with 3-pound hand weights, or if you prefer, use your own body weight to build muscle. Push-ups, jumping jacks, squats and lunges are all great ways to build strength and lean muscle.
You probably don't want to hear this, but your days of filling up on pizza, chips, popcorn, chocolate and candy without gaining an ounce are long gone. If you want to stay healthy and fit in your 40's and beyond, you're going to have to adopt a healthy diet. Whole grains, lean meats, and plenty of veggies and fruits should be your diet staples. Find new recipes to try and take an extra few minutes in the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store to find some interesting and colorful selections. Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring! The trick is to find healthy foods you love and incorporate them into various recipes. Go ahead and have that glass of wine or birthday cake once in a while; then get right back on track!
Being healthy is more than just eating right and exercising. It is critically important to get regular physicals each year, and that includes a mammogram. Talk to your health care provider about conditions that run in your family, such as diabetes or heart disease. Early detection is the key to maintaining a long and healthy life.
Taking care of your inside is just as important as taking care of your physical side. Learn to quiet your mind by meditating, journaling, or praying every day. If you need help with past or current issues, consider seeking the help of a counsellor. Finding peace within yourself will go a long way to learning how to deal with stressful and emotional issues. Depression, anxiety and other disorders can be kept at bay in part by learning how to handle every day life.
Staying healthy in your 40's and beyond is not difficult, if you take a common-sense approach to living. Celebrate life's milestones with cake, ice cream and wine, but for the most part, engage in healthy eating habits, and include plenty of lean proteins and veggies. Get at least 30 minutes of activity in each day, even if it means just walking around the block. Take care of your mental health, and visit your doctor for annual checkups. That's the recipe for a long and healthy life.