Aging is an inevitable part of life. And we promise it’s not all bad! As we grow older, we become wiser, stronger, and more resilient. Just think of all that you didn’t know back in your twenties! However, we won’t pretend that everyone is excited to get older... we get it. Look, you can’t stop time, but you can slow down its effects. Let’s dive into what you do have control over.
Eating well not only lowers your risk of experiencing health problems like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, but also gives you more energy to do the things you love. Remember to eat everything (even the healthy stuff) in moderation. Incorporate high-fiber fruits, veggies, and whole grains into your diet. And indulging in a sweet treat here or there isn’t a bad thing…
Move, move, move. Regardless of your age, flexibility, or body type, it is important to exercise regularly. Did you know that your heart is actually a muscle? And just like your other muscles, it needs exercise. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for a 30-minute workout, try doing your workout in 15-minute intervals. Take a few minutes of your lunch break to walk around town or even implement cardio sprints like jumping jacks or pushups during your nightly TV commercial breaks.
Visit the Doctor
Make time for your health. Visit your primary care provider, dentist, gynecologist, and any other medical providers on a regular basis. Ask your primary care provider which tests you should be having at your age. Forty is a significant milestone in a woman’s healthcare requirements. At this age you should begin scheduling your yearly mammogram (if you have a family history of breast cancer, you should begin mammograms earlier). Screenings like these can detect life-threatening cancer in its earliest phases, exponentially increasing survival rates.
Pro tip! No matter what screening you have, try to consistently return to the same testing facility. This makes it easier to accurately compare results year after year.
Make "Me Time"
Taking time for yourself may be the most important thing for your mental health and well-being. You may be thinking, “I don’t have a second for myself during the day…” But you could! Make time to reflect and relax, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Find activities that interest you and prioritize them. When you’re feeling your best, you will notice your energy level is higher, your mood is happier, and your stress level is lower. Chronic stress has been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Work to decrease stress levels by creating healthy habits—start your morning off with a yoga class, and away from your phone, kids, and distractions.
Protect Your Skin
As you walk down the cosmetics aisle of your go-to shopping center, you will see hundreds of “anti-aging” creams and serums. It’s no secret: the best way to avoid age spots and wrinkles is to protect your skin from the sun. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the sun can damage your skin in many ways. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply, reducing collagen protection and causing those unwanted wrinkles. UVB rays cause harsh sunburns and aging spots. Using a broad-spectrum (aka UVA and UVB) sunscreen will help protect your skin and keep you looking younger for longer.
Our last tidbit of advice is to listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone, and nobody else is going to take care of it for you! Don’t hesitate to voice any and all concerns when speaking to your medical providers. We’re here to help!
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