Thankfully, turning 40 isn’t what it used to be. Because women are taking more initiative when it comes to their health, the phrase “Over the Hill” has become over the hill! In fact, women over 40 are often in better shape than they were in their 20s. We have more information and research than we did even five years ago. We know more about how certain foods affect our body chemistry and metabolism, about the importance of individualized exercise plans, and on how overall self-care can add years to your life. Being 40 or older today, is just a fact on your driver’s license…not a reason to hold back!
Now is the time to live your best life! To do that, follow these tips for creating and implementing healthier habits into your day:
1) Choose the right fats
The thing we were once taught to avoid, we can now eat again! Only this time, we’re smarter about the types of fats we include in our diets. Did you know that monounsaturated fats can actually fire up your metabolism? They also can be heart-healthy, make your skin smooth, and keep your joints mobile.Get in at least one healthy fat with each meal. This includes foods like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, salmon, or sunflower seeds.
2) Don’t skip meals
Remember when all we did to lose weight in our twenties was basically think ourselves thin? While our metabolisms may not be what they used to be, you can still give it a boost. Eat three meals a day with a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack. It may sound counteractive to eat so much, but when you go long periods of time without eating, your body thinks it’s starving itself and then stores food as fat. Keep your blood sugar and your metabolism balanced throughout the day with calorie-friendly foods every 3-4 hours. Aim for snacks like a ¼ C of almonds, a Greek yogurt, a green apple with peanut butter, or even hummus and veggies.
3) Limit processed foods
You have the ability to change your body and your health by making smart food choices that don’t include things like soda or chips. While tasty, foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and high-fructose corn syrup can do a ton of damage to your health. In addition to being calorie-laden and hard on the waistline, processed foods can increase your chances for heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and other serious life-threatening conditions. Do your grocery shopping on the outer limits of the grocery store where they keep the fresh produce and meats. Choose lean proteins, fresh produce, whole grains, and don’t forget to wash it all down with plenty of water!
1) Strength train
Building and maintaining muscle is your golden ticket to living a long, active life. While muscle helps you move, it also helps keep your metabolism up. Strength training also keeps your bones strong to help prevent bone breaks or bone related conditions like osteoporosis. Aim for 2-3 whole body strength-training sessions every week. Workout programs like Kaia FIT’s year-round program are perfect for staying trim and strong!
2) Be active everyday
Something you may not realize is that even though you get in a morning workout, if you sit all day for work, you’re still at risk for developing health conditions. Stand up and move at least once an hour. Get up to stretch, take the long way to the water fountain, take the kids to the park, or go for a walk to the store for a healthy snack.
3) Stretch it out
Thank your body for the crazy amount of work it does throughout your week by squaring off some time to stretch, foam roll, and breathe. If that last one caught your eye, it’s no surprise. Many of us don’t realize how shallow of breaths we take each day. During your moment away, place one hand on your stomach and one on your mid to low back. Breathe in deep enough that you feel your hands being pushed away by the expanding of your ribs. Full breaths lower blood pressure and help clear any mind-clutter.
Furthermore, stretch out your hamstrings with a forward fold, revive your back with a spinal twist, and open up your chest by clasping your hands behind your low back. Use a foam roller to break up knots and loosen up muscles. Just 15-20 minutes a day of self-care can go a long way!
SEE THE DOC
1) Get an annual physical
You don’t have to be sick to go to the doctor. Preventative care starts with scheduling a yearly annual physical with your primary care physician and/or your gynecologist. It’s also a smart idea to schedule all of your doctor appointments during the same month every year so you don’t forget. A simple test can go a long way to living longer and living better!
2) Schedule a mammogram
For most women, doctors recommend getting a mammogram every year after the age of 50. However, if you have a family history or have had breast issues, your physician may suggest starting sooner. Since an estimated 1 in 8 women get breast cancer in their lifetime, early detection is key!
3) Don’t ignore warning signs
Maybe your digestive system has changed, your metabolism has stalled, your skin has a few new moles, or maybe you just feel more sluggish than usual. While some of these things seem like normal everyday things, noticing any new changes in your body can be a signal of something else going on in your body. If you’ve noticed changes-like any new moles, write them down and make an appointment with your physician.
BEAUTY AND SELF-CARE
1) Use sunscreen
Sunscreen is not just for kids or the fair-skinned. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, roughly 35,000 women get diagnosed with skin cancer each year. And since our poolside tanning habits earlier in life affect our skin as we get older, now is better late than never to prevent skin cancer. Plus, sunscreen can help prevent early onset age spots and wrinkles. Use an SPF 20 on your face daily and SPF 50 on your body. Double up and uses a daily moisturizer with sunscreen!
2) Get a massage
Massages aren’t just a luxurious way to relax anymore. Since we are staying active longer, massages help heal sore muscles and soft tissue strains. They also help ease anxiety, digestive issues, insomnia, headaches, and arthritis. Injury prevention at any age is important, that’s why massage is a helpful maintenance tool.
3) Go organic
When we hear the word “organic,” we often associate it with food. However, what you may not realize is that the products we use on our skin, hair, and nails can also affect your health. Many products, like the hair-straightening treatment keratin, include formaldehyde. According to EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, personal care products can have ingredients that are possible carcinogens, can affect your endocrine system and hormones, and might even alter your fertility. Pay attention to your beauty products and check the EWG Skin Deep database for more info.
1) Daily meditation
Reserving even five minutes a day to meditate can have lasting effects on your nervous system, energy levels, and even your blood pressure! Download apps like Headspace or Meditations for a guided experience to relieving stress and finding more room for positive energy!
2) Take up journaling
Quiet time is important to decompress from the day and to allow for your body to restore itself after a long day. Keep a journal with you and jot down things that happened that day, things that inspire you, that scare, or even just write down some of the random thoughts that flutter through your head. Having a place to let go of your thoughts can help you find solace, resolution, and a place to remind yourself of all the reasons to be grateful!
3) Be social
Between work, home, and everything else, it can be tough to get out with the girls for an adult evening out. But maintaining a strong network of friends and social circle is just as important as getting in sleep and exercise. Not only do you get emotional support from friends, you’re more likely to stay active and keep your weight in check. Plus, social support can also help lower blood pressure, decrease depression and anxiety symptoms, and even possibly lower inflammatory responses in the body due to stress. Stay social by joining in one of Kaia FIT’s workout programs and get double the health benefits!
Being 40 is absolutely just a number! However, with every year, it’s important to get better at taking better care of your body. We all know to eat right and exercise. But maybe it’s adding sunscreen or just finding some quiet time to your health regime that will make all the difference!
Live your best life today and every day! Stay strong and fit with us at Kaia FIT!