Turning 40 is a milestone that should be celebrated. However, this big birthday is also a time for reflection on your health as changes happen in your body.
These changes don’t have to be scary, and many are preventable with the right habits. Here, we’ll take a look at what health means after 40 and provide some steps you could be taking to look after yourself.
Make sure you’re getting that much needed sleep
Long gone are the days in your twenties where you could sleep for four hours before getting up and heading to the next event. As we age, our ability to bounce back after a restless or short night’s sleep reduces, so it’s important to set aside the time to get enough rest. The recommended amount of sleep is 7–8 hours, however as we age this could be longer for some individuals.
Take a look at those bad habits
Haven’t taken that step to quit smoking like you planned? Have a little more weight than you would like? Have a diet that is lacking? As we age, the potential for complications to occur because of bad habits increases, so this may be a time to look at those things you always wanted to improve or give up. A great way to keep yourself accountable is by getting a loved one to partake in the same journey. Track your progress and reward yourself.
It’s not all about the physical
It can be all too easy to become preoccupied with our physical health that we forget all about our mental state. In your forties, it’s common for you to be pulled in many different directions, whether that be with kids, your career or simply a busy schedule. It’s important for us to remember that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. In fact, some mental conditions can present physical symptoms such as disturbed sleep and digestive upset.
If you feel your mental state is not where you would like it to be, speak to your medical professional and they can provide further information and a reference to a counsellor or psychologist if required.
Get those checks
Whether it is our busy schedules, putting others first or a fear of doctors or dentists, many of us are putting off getting the check-ups we need. However, there are many health concerns that need to be addressed in our forties and older, and the sooner we get these checks and make necessary life adjustments the better. Just some of the things you should keep in mind are:
Make sure you visit your dentist to ensure your oral health is being taken care of. Enamel wears away over time, which can cause other issues further down the track.
Vision loss is common for people in their forties and you may find you require glasses even if you have never needed them before. Make that optometrist appointment. You should also be taking steps to preventing further damage to your eyes, such as wearing sunglasses to lessen the chance of cataracts.
Those all important numbers
We’re talking cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight. Knowing these numbers will give you and your doctor the ability to identify some hidden disease risk factors that can be addressed early.
Muscles and bone
Muscle mass and bone density will decline as we age, which can lead to further problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis and back pain. It’s a good idea to ask your GP how best to slow down these processes and whether supplements are necessary.
There are types of diseases that are more prevalent in older people. The risks are even higher for those who have a family history of a particular cancer or disease. Go through your family history thoroughly (three generations) and have a chat with your GP about your risks, early detection and prevention.