Turning 40 is a milestone, and certainly one that should be celebrated. However, this ripe age also brings with it a greater risk of developing health issues.
Whether it is a demanding and stressful job, teenage kids or parents that are getting older and need looking after, it is all too easy to set our health aside, when in actual fact, 40 is the perfect age to start evaluating our health and wellbeing and plan for the long-run. It is time to take a deep breath, recognise that although you have a lot of other outside commitments and concerns, some introspection on making sure you stay healthy throughout your later years is essential.
So, what are some possible health issues that may need addressing as we head into life after 40?
Leanne and Fitness Tips Say:
Keep on top of your vision
When we turn 40 our vision starts to deteriorate and it is important to have your eyes checked by an optometrist. As we age, it is imperative that we are able to read the fine print on labels, for example medicine bottles. If you have not been prescribed reading glasses, and cannot read the small print, you may miss out on some vital information. Wearing a good pair of sunglasses is also important to protect from harmful UV rays.
Know your numbers
Reaching the age of 40 is a good time to start looking at numbers surrounding cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and blood sugar. It is important to know your cholesterol levels, and if you haven’t checked before, now is the time.
Next time you are at a pharmacy, take the time to have your blood pressure measured, and ask your GP to take a simple and quick blood sugar test. Knowing these numbers can help you and your health professional identify potentially hidden disease risk factors. Those with higher blood pressure are at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
It is time to explore your family history
When you reach your fifth decade, it is important to delve deeper into your family genetics to see if there is any history of things such as cancer or heart disease. Once you hit 40, if things start to go down hill, you need to think of things such as the c-word, and it’s an important time to understand your family history. You can have certain tests, for example testing your calcium levels to see if your arteries are starting to harden, to then take steps to change your lifestyle to try and prevent things such as heart disease.
Time to muscle up
When we reach 40, we start to lose muscle mass at a rate of about 1% per year and we also become less flexible. Even if it is picking up soup cans to do some bicep curls, some form of weekly physical activity and resistance training is crucial at this stage of life.
Pilates can also help with flexibility, core strength and balance. If we are able to maintain our strength and muscle mass, then as we get older, we are able to still enjoy all the things that we have in earlier life.
Let fibre be your friend
Those days of eating whatever you want, whenever you want are over! At the age of 40 your metabolism starts to slow and eating fewer calories can be beneficial to your health. However you need to make sure you are getting enough fibre and water.