Now that you are past age 40, you’re finding that weight doesn’t stay off as easily as it used to. The subtle signs of aging can be daunting, but don’t get discouraged! The 40’s are the perfect time to start creating healthy habits that will affect you for years to come, starting with making it a priority to stay fit. Here are 7 ways to start improving your health and fitness immediately.
Starting at age 40, our metabolism slows down and we lose about 1% muscle mass each year. People will get the most benefit by incorporating both weight-lifting exercises and cardiovascular exercise into a consistent weekly routine. Even if it’s as simple as curling soup cans each morning, any type of resistance training will significantly combat muscle loss. Exercise is a good way for anyone to stay healthy, but it becomes absolutely necessary in our later years.
2. Eat Breakfast
As I mentioned above, our metabolism starts to slow down once we hit age 40, and it continues to decline 2% each year there on after. Eating breakfast is essential to jumpstart your metabolism and ensure you are burning calories throughout the whole day. It also provides your body with long lasting energy that fuels activity. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast lose more weight and sustain their loss more effectively than those on a low-carb diet who make breakfast their smallest meal. That being said, breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge meal either. As long as you are eating something in the morning, your metabolism will be the most effective.
3. Manage your stress
You may be concerned about your age, job, and looking after a family. All the stress this causes can lead to unhealthy changes in the body such as increased blood pressure, lower libido, faster cell death, and stronger signs of aging. Stress is a known factor for heart disease, which is the number 1 killer of those aged 45 to 54. That is why it is so important to manage stress, especially as we get older. One easy way to destress is to take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds and exhale it out for 4 seconds at least twice a daily. Slow breathing activates the vagus nerve which runs from the brain to the pelvis, relaxing the heart, muscles, and blood vessels.
4. Eat More Protein
As we age, we become more prone to low moods and forgetfulness. Eating protein rich foods at least twice a day boosts levels of mood-lifting neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help with symptoms of depression and poor memory. Fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, and quinoa are all healthy sources of protein to keep you feeling good throughout your 40’s.
5. Take Calcium and Vitamin D
We lose bone mass as we age, which can cause osteoporosis, where bones can become so thin that they break. Because of this, maintaining strong bones is essential. Give them a boost with calcium and vitamin D which you can get naturally from foods such as salmon. There are also supplements you can take to ensure you are getting your dose of bone food every day.
6. Get plenty of ZZZ’s
Life can get so busy and you may find yourself sleeping less, but it is still crucial to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night according to The National Sleep Foundation. Getting enough rest reduces signs of aging, boosts metabolism, and increases mood. If you are having trouble sleeping enough try reducing caffeine consumption late in the day, limiting screen time before bed, and sticking to a consistent routine.
7. Spend time with friends
I know right? You’re welcome. We saved the best for last…
Make sure to schedule some time with your friends in (person!). Not only does having a good social life reduce stress and boost self-esteem, but it can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Maintaining a work life balance is vital to overall health.