Milestone birthdays are either looked forward to or, more likely, dreaded. Each year that goes by means one more year closer to being your best or one more year wondering where the time went.
One milestone birthday that especially makes us pause is our 40th. The 40th birthday is a milestone marking the halfway point of our lives. As the saying goes, “40 is the old age of youth,” yet no one is saying that everyone who turns 40 is automatically over the hill – far from it! This pivotal decade can determine the fate of your health, solely dependent on how well you prioritize self-care.
How to remain healthy after the age of 40
If your 20s and 30s blew past like a strong whirlwind of activity, just wait until the 40s. This decade has become more complicated, bringing growing children, aging parents, and added work responsibilities, which boils down to less time to be more physically active and paying attention to what we eat. Yet, this decade is critically important for preventing future health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer. If you haven’t taken the best care of yourself until this decade, now is the time to start.
The two main ways of keeping fit and healthy after 40 are through diet and exercise. Neglecting either during this decade is a mistake that will come back to haunt you in terms of excess weight gain, loss of muscle mass, reduced energy, and the development of chronic health issues.
Tips on eating well during this decade:
- Maintain a regular, consistent schedule of 3 meals daily with 2-3 snacks.
- Do not make it a habit of skipping meals – it slows metabolism.
- Eat mostly nutritious foods – fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
- Avoid foods composed of white flour and white sugar – these add no nutritional value and can contribute to weight gain.
- Reduce salt intake to avoid water retention and increase high blood pressure– greatly limit processed foods such as boxed or canned items, and processed meats such as sausage, bacon, and bologna.
- Choose water as your main beverage limiting sweetened beverages.
- Recognize emotional or mindless eating – stress can result in eating when not hungry, contributing to weight gain.
Exercise tips to stay fit during this decade:
- Make exercise a daily priority and keep it consistent.
- Carve out time throughout the day to achieve a minimum of 150 minutes throughout each week of moderate to vigorous exercise. This means at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week.
- Find physical activities you enjoy – vary your exercise routine to avoid doing the same thing repeatedly. This helps to work different muscle groups providing a more well-rounded exercise routine.
- Strength training or lifting weights is a must for both men and women. As we age, we will gradually muscle mass unless we are actively lifting weights to maintain or slow the loss.
- Always include aerobic exercise – brisk walking, jogging, running, bicycling, swimming, tennis, or anything that elevates the heart rate to boost metabolism and burn more calories.
- Include stretching and balancing movements each day. Everyone must stretch aging muscles, tendons, and joints to maintain flexibility, making everyday activities much easier.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.