At 40, many of us have a million things on our plate. Our kids are still young and demanding, our parents are still around and need some help, our jobs still take a big chunk out of us – and there are so many niggling issues our body keeps bringing to the table, including difficulty in losing weight.
The 40 Checklist
Much as we’d like to think of us as being the same when we were 30, we aren’t. Our body is changing, or rather, it’s aging, and as it ages it tends to degrade itself, inside out. From cholesterol to increased risks of cancers and strokes, from visible wrinkles to chronic aches and pain that just won’t go away – 40 is the time for you to sit up and take stock of your health so that your body can last many more healthy decades to come. So if you are 40, or nearing it – here’s a checklist of things to do to make sure your body -- and you -- can be at your healthiest…
- Make fiber your best friend: A whole lot of problems that your body may be facing, including fatigue and back pain, probably originate from your gut. To keep your digestion in mint condition, make fiber your best friend and the best sources of fiber come from plants! Temper your meats with all kinds of plant matter – beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits and of course, raw veggies.
- Take stock of numbers: A yearly test of cholesterol, blood counts and all other things that have gone wrong in your family is a good thing to do once you hit 40 for both women and men. This is the time all those burgers and pizzas start to clog the arteries and all those late night snacks shoot up that bad cholesterol. Check your family history for heart disease, diabetes or liver disease and get those annual check-ups and tests in place – prevention is always better than cure!
- Reading the fine print: Your eyesight tends to get affected in various ways once you turn 40 – including a gradual loss of near vision, chances of cataract and glaucoma and so on… Annual visits to your ophthalmologist can keep your eyes and vision in perfect health and detect any budding problems as quickly as possible.
- Choose muscle over mass: One you hit your 40s, you begin to lose muscle mass – the reason for that beer belly, flabby arms or jelly legs… This muscle loss is even faster in your 50s. The best way to keep your body in healthy shape is to make sure you get your blood pumping with exercise on an everyday basis. Hit the gym or try jogging, swimming or brisk walking. Or simply dance to your favorite tunes – exercise is one great way to keep yourself fit as a fiddle, in your 40s – or 50s and 60s as well…
- Make lifestyle changes: You looked awesome in your 20s and your 30s were pretty rocking too. Now in your 40s, you may see a loss in the luster of your skin and hair or a body that’s not the shape you’re happy with. You may even be experiencing unusual fatigue or mood swings. To get your act together in your 40s, get your act together! All those promises you kept making yourself – now’s the time to act on them. Make positive lifestyle changes – reduce the stress, get exercise, opt for a good, organic beauty routine and eat healthy. 40 years have passed so let go of any regrets and live the rest of your life as happy and healthy as it can be.
- Check those glands: 40 is the time the thyroid decides to sort of upend and leave. Which means this is one time that your thyroid may be producing more or less of this essential hormone than it should – leading to weight loss or gain, dull skin and hair and a fatigue that just doesn’t quit. Modulate your thyroid levels by first getting them checked and then following yours doctor’s orders to the T (of the thyroid)!
- Chuck the butt: Smoking is injurious to health. Can we be clearer than that? And the risks of smoking double up after you turn 40 – so getting that cancer or heart disease is all the more possible. Get rid of this nasty habit as soon as you can and hey, use all the help that you need. The aim is to quit; the means can be yours to choose.
- Get your plumbing in order: A failing sex drive? Unexplained pain or lumps down south? Trouble peeing or having period problems? Get your reproductive organs checked up by a physician – prostate exams for men, and cervix and pap smears as well as breast checks for women are key when you turn 40. And yes, being 40 doesn’t mean you need to slow down in the sack – a healthy sex life will keep you and your organs in good health as well keep you in a good mood!
If you are healthy and living the healthiest lifestyle you can, then 40 is indeed just another number. Just a few changes towards a healthier life can make your next 40 years even better than the previous ones!