Although it not be strictly true that forty is the new thirty, it’s a fact that these days, we’re all living longer, healthier lives. One of the reasons behind this is that many of us have become more health conscious about the lifestyles that we lead.
Not unsurprisingly though (and despite our heroic efforts), our bodies at the age of forty simply don’t work the same way they did when we were twenty. Muscle mass starts to deteriorate, energy levels wane, we’re much more likely to put on weight and diseases like cancer and heart illnesses may catch up in the coming years.
For these reasons and many others, staying on top of your health during this time of your life is important because it might very well determine how well you age in the decades to come.
1. Keep Your Bones Happy and Healthy
Osteoporosis occurs when the bones in our body become so brittle that they may break or fracture from the slightest fall. It also disproportionately affects women more than men. At some point, usually around age 35, women start to lose bone mass  and depending on a number of different factors, that loss will only increase as you get older. But osteoporosis is preventable.
Once you hit your 40’s it is definitely time to make sure that your diet includes plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Exercises like weight training are also a great idea. These few adjustments can make all the difference between developing Osteoporosis a few years down the line or escaping it.
2 – Exercising to Keep Illness Away
It should come as no surprise that as you head into your forties exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Regular exercise keeps the muscles loose and limber, it improves your joint flexibility and increases your cardiovascular fitness. You don’t have to take up extreme sports, climb mountains or run a marathon -unless you want to! Instead start slowly with things like walking, jogging, swimming or yoga. Join a walking club or exercise group in your neighborhood to make it a more social and fun event.
3 – If You Can’t Give Up Two of These, Try to Give Up at Least One.
Alcohol and Smoking.
Both Alcohol and smoking are risk factors for many medical conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and a variety of different cancers.
In addition to this, both smoking and alcohol age you prematurely and add years to your overall appearance. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that your skin receives and in doing so, causes the skin to age faster – sometimes adding as much as 10 or 20 years to your appearance . Alcohol also causes visible signs of aging according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health .
4. Eat Mediterranean
Diet matters. Swap red meat for organic white meat, butter for olive oil and go easy on carbs. The famous Mediterranean diet (primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) places a strong emphasis on Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known as the ‘good’ type of fat. The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are numerous. It has been shown to reduce the chance of developing conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, some cancers, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease .
5. Taking Care of Your Sexual Health
Just because you’ve reached a certain age, it doesn’t mean that your sex life has to disappear completely. A healthy sex-life is a normal part of any relationship but at times, changes to your body like hormonal swings, low sexual desire or sexual dysfunction -which may affect anywhere from 30%-50% of women  can mean that a healthy sex-life appears to be out of reach.
As a first step, speak to your Ob-Gyn about any specific sexual health issues that you may be dealing with. Your doctor will be a great resource to help identify problems and point you in the right direction for possible solutions.
They may recommend anything from kegal exercise to short office-based procedures like Vaginal laser therapy (Monalisa touch) or Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation which treats issues like vaginal dryness or enhances vaginal muscle tone and strength, all of which can address problems that many women face.
Sexual health in your 40’s doesn’t have to be ignored. Your doctor can provide a tailored approach to address your specific concerns. So a visit to your health practitioner is a good place to start.
1) WebMD. Causes of Osteoporosis. Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on November 18, 2017
2) National Health Service (NHS). How smoking affects your body – the facts
3) Schou, A. L., Mølbak, M. L., Schnor, P., Grønbæk, M., & Tolstrup, J. S. (2017). Alcohol consumption, smoking and development of visible age-related signs: a prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health, 71(12), 1177-1184.
4) Patient.co.uk. Mediterrean diet. Dr Gordon Brooks. Last checked 20/06/2016.
5) Srivastava, R., Thakar, R., & Sultan, A. (2008). Female sexual dysfunction in obstetrics and gynecology. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 63(8), 527-537.