Many women look forward to their 40s: there’s so much joy to be had! That’s why maintaining your health over 40 is so essential. With the right approach, you can keep your body feeling energetic and limber for decades to come. Getting fit over 40 means you can focus on the important things: long summer walks, spending time with friends, enjoying happy hour after work–everything you love about your day to day life.
After all, 40 is just a number. But it’s a good time to check in with your OBGYN and see what you should be doing to take an active role in maintaining your health and wellness.
1. Change the Way You Exercise
No matter how old you are, your doctor will probably have two pieces of advice for you: eat better and exercise more. That’s still true as you approach 40… but it’s also different.
As you age, your ligaments and tendons can start to tighten up or weaken–and your joints can start to feel the wear and tear. This can make an athletic injury–everything from a pulled muscle to a ruptured Achilles tendon–more likely to occur.
So your doctor may tell you that getting fit over 40 means changing the way you exercise. In general, that means following some advice:
- Listen to your body: When you were 25 you might have fought through those aches and pains. But you’re wiser now. Sudden pain or soreness is your body trying to tell you something! Better health over 40 means being smart enough to listen!
- Warm up: You should take five or ten minutes before every workout to warm up a little bit. You could go for a fast-paced walk around the block or even try out a light jog–just make sure it’s low intensity. Warm ups are designed to get you limber and make athletic injuries less likely.
- Stretch before and after: No matter what kind of exercise you engage in–whether you’re playing racquetball or going for a run–it’s important to stretch before and after your workout. It’s good for your muscles, sure–but it’s also essential for those tendons and ligaments.
2. Work on Building Muscle and Developing Flexibility
Staying in the exercise vein, the next way you can help maintain your health over 40 is to place a slightly different emphasis on your workout.
As most women reach the age of forty, they’re usually advised to start putting a focus on building muscle and flexibility. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the primary factor is that your body’s ability to build muscle diminishes significantly with age.
The muscle you create (and the flexibility you develop) when you’re 40 will be incredibly useful as you get older. As a result, adding some weight lifting or muscle building activities to your workout can help you maintain your wellness as you age.
Getting fit over 40 means not only do you need muscle–you need flexibility, too. The flexibility you gain in your 40s can really come in handy as you age. Adding yoga or pilates to your workout routine might be just the thing to help you feel good and stay flexible.
3. Eat Breakfast
If you’re in your forties, you’re probably realizing one thing: you’re busy! Your career is successful, you’re managing your household, maybe you’re even starting to get your kids ready for college–you’ve got a lot to do! So you might be tempted to skip breakfast once or twice… or seven times a week.
The first meal of the day might seem trivial, but there are plenty of studies which suggest that eating a healthy (and filling) breakfast can be essential. In part, that’s because your metabolism changes as you age. Skipping breakfast when you’re over 40 might leave you hungrier throughout the day or otherwise throw off your eating routines. In general, try to:
- Eat a high carb or high protein breakfast everyday. This will help keep you fuller longer. (Though you should always ask your physician what kind of diet is going to keep you healthy over 40.)
- Try to keep your breakfast balanced and nutritious. But if the thought of oatmeal makes you want to skip this meal, it’s okay to eat something else instead.
- Consider adding supplemental vitamins and minerals to your breakfast. If your doctor says you might want to start building up your calcium or get some extra vitamin B or D, breakfast is the perfect time to get your pills out of the way.
4. Get to Know Yourself
Your 40s are a perfect time to take a breath and… look inward. Get to know yourself a little bit. There are a couple of ways that this could have a big impact on your wellness and health over 40. For example:
- You can get to know your family history: Knowledge is power. The more information you’re able to gather or collect about your family’s medical history, the better you’ll be able to understand your own risks. If your family has a history of certain types of cancer, for example, you may wish to begin some screenings earlier.
- You can get to know your own personal health: Turning 40 is the perfect moment to start thinking long term about your own health. That means taking the time to become familiar with your own numbers: your cholesterol, your body weight, your blood sugar levels. These all have a bearing on your wellness moving forward–and 40 provides an excellent moment to take a benchmark reading of all these numbers.
- Quit some of those bad habits: If you’re a smoker, 40 is the perfect time to stop. That’s because, frankly, any time is a good time to stop smoking! We certainly understand it’s not always easy, that’s why your physician is here to provide help if you need it. Quitting smoking can be a big step–and it’s one your health will thank you for.
5. Pay Attention to Your Reproductive Care
You’ve just turned 40, which means it’s a great time to talk to your OBGYN! As you age, your reproductive system goes through significant changes. Perimenopause will usually begin sometime during your 40s, so it’s important to pay attention to changes in your reproductive health. You’ll want to be on the lookout for changes in your periods, of course, but most OBGYNs recommend a more comprehensive approach.
Discussing these issues candidly can help you address problems quickly and effectively, so you can get clarity and know what to expect every step of the way.
Maintain Your Health Over 40!
Staying healthy over 40 is all about one thing: making sure you have the time of your life! There’s so much you want to be doing, and your 40s are the perfect time for travel, adventure, and family. With the right approach, staying healthy over 40 means you can stress less and enjoy more.