If You're Over 40, These Tips Can Improve Your Life

May 05, 2021Sonali Pandey

One minute you’re snoozing, and the next moment you find yourself awake at 3 a.m., or just like a ringing bell sounds a warning, the noise in your ears alerts your whole body, or your skin wrinkles when it comes in contact with water. Sounds familiar? Well, our body undergoes several changes as we age. And by the time we reach our 40s, it may seem like we’re stuck in several ways. But don’t worry! If you change a few habits—especially in terms of your health, you’ll be good to go. So here are a few—ok, more than a few tips that can improve your health if you’re over 40!

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FIX SLEEPING ISSUES

You've learned how vital sleep is, and you've seen how awful it can be when you don't get enough of it. However, once you reach your 40s, you might need to reevaluate how much sleep you're getting. Most people experience sleeping disorders due to stress, hectic schedules, or lack of proper nutrition. However, it may also be caused due to a medical or mental health condition in some cases. So how do we fix the sleeping issues? Well, there are several ways to help you do so, including medical treatment or lifestyle changes, such as eating fresh vegetables, exercising daily, adhering to strict sleeping schedules, and drinking less water before bedtime. 

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AVOID PRUNEY SKIN

You might’ve noticed that your skin becomes wrinkly after you’ve taken a long bath or spent time in a pool. This condition is called pruning, and it's often harmless and disappears on its own. However, pruning that doesn't occur due to water may be a sign of a medical problem, such as dehydration, vitamin deficiency, or thyroid disease. The cause of pruning determines the kind of treatment you should take, so make sure you consult a medical professional for help.

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DON’T SKIP MEALS

People often skip meals due to busy schedules and don’t eat three times a day. This is an unhealthy practice, and going without food for a long period can cause several problems, such as a decrease in blood sugar level, an increased risk of diabetes, and poor skin. Even if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, don't skip meals because you'll lose water weight and muscle, not fat. 

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DON’T IGNORE YOUR GUT

While eating healthy and maintaining body weight is important, it’s not just the size of your stomach that you should be worried about! Your gut constitutes about 80 percent of your immunity, so safeguarding your microbiome should be a top priority. You can do so by avoiding artificial sweeteners and eating more prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and asparagus.

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GO SWIMMING

Swimming is one of the most effective total-body exercises. It activates every muscle in your body, and if you’re someone who hates sweating while working out, then it’s perfect for you. Some people say that you can swim for 20 minutes and reap the same health benefits as 40-50 minutes of running. And not just that, swimming builds muscle strength, increases stamina, and improves cardiovascular health.  

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GO BEYOND CARDIO EXERCISES

Going beyond running and other aerobic exercises in your 40s can benefit you in several ways. For example, training with weights for two to four days a week helps build muscles and preserve bone density. Weight training also makes it easier to manage your weight because a leaner, more muscular body is more metabolically active and consumes more calories throughout the day.

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INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE

Building and preserving muscles isn’t possible if you don’t eat enough protein. According to USDA’S recommendation, even 5.5 ounces is "unnecessarily poor" and "doesn't reflect the amount of protein needed for optimal health, muscle maintenance, and development." In your 40s, you should consume 0.7 to 1 gm protein per pound of bodyweight every day to maintain and develop your muscles. 

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REDUCE CAFFEINE INTAKE

Nobody can deny that coffee has its advantages: it wakes you up, boosts your alertness, and helps you stay focused. But it becomes a problem when people drink too much of it—more than 3-4 cups a day. The recommended daily dose for healthy adults is only 300-400 mg. A study shows that caffeine overdose can cause panic attacks.

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AVOID SODA

Soda, including diet soda, can be harmful to your health. In fact, a study suggests that sugar present in soda damages telomeres, which affects how cells age and leads to a decrease in life expectancy by 4.6 years! And not just that, consuming large quantities of soda can cause weakened immune systems, slowed metabolism, dehydration, and even hypertension!

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AVOID OVER EXERCISING

Working out more than the body can handle is extremely harmful. It gives you a feeling that you’re constantly exhausted, and eventually, you start relying on artificial ways to boost your energy, such as energy drinks. In addition to that, you begin to crave sugary, high-carbohydrate comfort foods, and you begin to overeat. So overexercising should be avoided.

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GET RID OF ALARM CLOCKS

If you want to ensure that your sleep isn't disrupted in an unnatural and unhealthy way, get rid of your alarm clock. And that’s not just for the sake of your sleep cycle. According to a study published by Industrial Health, using an alarm clock increased the subjects' blood pressure and heart rate, but the blood pressure and heart rate increased in a healthier way when they woke up on their own.

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SAY NO TO GADGETS IN YOUR BEDROOM

When it comes to sleep, 40-year-olds are the worst. And the majority of their sleep problems are caused by excessive use of gadgets. While these devices, especially mobile phones, have many advantages, such as entertainment and ease of connectivity, they can also be harmful to your mental health and the formation of healthy habits. So avoid gadgets at least two hours before bed, and opt for a book instead!

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AVOID SITTING FOR LONG HOURS AT YOUR DESK

Most of the jobs that people have in their 40s need extensive computer work, which compels them to spend long hours at their desk. So how do we avoid spending long hours at our work table? It’s simple! Take micro-breaks during the day to stretch or walk around your office campus, or invest in a standing or treadmill desk.

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ADD NUTS TO YOUR DIET

A 2019 report published in the British Medical Journal suggests that individuals who consumed nuts daily had a lower chance of weight gain and obesity, and hence, a lesser risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases. Now you know why doctors are nuts for nuts, especially when their patients get older.

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VISIT A DERMATOLOGIST ANNUALLY

The risk of developing melanoma, also known as skin cancer, increases with age, and the average age of diagnosis is 65. So seeing a dermatologist becomes particularly important if you’re above 40. Make sure you get your skin tested at least once a year so that even if you're diagnosed with skin cancer, it can be treated early.

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DRINK ENOUGH WATER

Water plays an important role in digestion, absorbing nutrients, and transporting them, which is essential for good physical and mental health. So drinking enough water is important. Not keeping your body hydrated can cause several problems such as dry skin, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

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APPLY SUNSCREEN REGULARLY

Applying sunscreen is a good habit in general, but it's crucial in your 40s. The risk of melanoma increases with age, and reducing your exposure to UV rays will protect your skin and lower your chances of developing skin cancer. So, find the type of sunscreen that can protect you from melanoma and fight off those wrinkles at the same time!

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REDUCE THE TIME YOU SPEND WATCHING TV

Watching TV for too long can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And not just that, TV and other electronic devices emit blue light, which affects melatonin levels. Moreover, too much time spent watching television has negative consequences, such as weight gain. So make sure you are not spending too much time watching TV!

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TAKE CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D

Bone density reduces with age, so giving your bones a boost with calcium and vitamin D, which is present naturally in food items like milk and salmon, is crucial. Experts suggest that women in their 40s should consume 1000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D per day.

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LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS

Stress can inhibit natural heart rate and lead to harmful changes in the body, such as elevated blood pressure, decreased libido, and faster cell death. And these factors contribute to aging faster. So how do we manage stress? Well, it’s simple! Make some healthy changes in your lifestyle, such as meditating regularly and surrounding yourself with positive people, and you'll be good to go!

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SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS

Make sure you stay in touch with your friends (not just on Facebook and Instagram!) Because going out and spending time with them not only relieves stress and boosts self-esteem but also lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. So when are you catching up with your friends?

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HAVE SOME DARK CHOCOLATE

Who would've thought that healthy food which is actually so delicious exists? Well, dark chocolate is proof that eating a healthy snack does not lead to weight gain, diabetes, or chronic heart disease. Chocolate contains cocoa, which is high in antioxidants and other chemicals that improve your overall health.  But it's important to search for chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. Otherwise, you're just eating a snack that's high in calories and sugar.

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TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES

It’s important to take care of your eyes because failing to do so can result in eye disorders, including vision issues. But don’t worry! Taking care of your eyes is actually much easier than you think! Just visit an eye doctor regularly and eat nutritious foods containing omega-3, vitamin A, zinc, and lutein.

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DON’T IGNORE YOUR THYROID

The thyroid gland, a tiny gland at the base of the neck, produces hormones that control several body functions, from heartbeat and burning of calories to skin turnover and forming memories. So it’s important to take care of your thyroid. Fatigue, feeling depressed, sudden appetite loss, and mood swings are indicators that something's wrong with your thyroid.

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AVOID EXCESS EXFOLIATION

Over exfoliation can cause irritation, breakouts, and even a stinging sensation. Your skin type and condition determine the frequency with which you should exfoliate. If you're just getting started, take it slow. Exfoliating once or twice a week, in the beginning, will be sufficient. 

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TAKE NAPS

If you’re looking for a quick, energetic break, power naps are the best! They are usually 15-20 minutes long, provide immediate relief from the constant stress, and helps you become more alert. But that’s not all! It also improves reaction time, learning ability, and cognitive functioning. 

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MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Staying optimistic can help you reduce stress and avoid unnecessary anxiety. Positive people stay motivated, they are generally happier than pessimistic people, and they appreciate life much more than those who dwell on its flaws. And not just that, keeping a positive attitude also improves cardiovascular health.

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LAUGH AND SMILE OFTEN

Laughing easily and freely when you find something funny and getting into the habit of smiling when you enter a room is not only infectious but also good for your health! Mayo Clinic suggests that laughter boosts your mood, reduces stress, and also helps in improving your cardiovascular health.

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MAKE TRAVEL PLANS

Do you have any idea when was the last time you took a break from work?  Most probably, you don’t even remember. See, taking a break from work is just as important as working. Vacations not only refresh your mind but also lower your blood pressure and stress-related cortisol levels

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MEDITATE DAILY

Our world is way too fast, and there are way too many risks that our body and brain need to avoid. In this situation, meditation can do wonders as it improves both mental and physical health. It can slow down our natural reactivity and can help us manage things in a better way. 

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TAKE WARM BATHS

You’ll find it strange, but taking a warm bath can actually help you burn calories! According to a 2017 study published in the journal Temperature, sitting in a hot bath for 60 minutes burns 130 calories, the same amount as walking for 30 minutes. And not just that, staying in hot water for an hour can also lower blood sugar levels and inflammation.

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USE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH

Electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes in a variety of ways. They remove plaque more effectively, keep your gums cleaner, and are simpler to use. There's no reason not to upgrade now that there's such a wide variety of designs and price points to choose from—your teeth and gums will thank you. 

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ADD MORE ACTIVITIES TO YOUR DAILY LIFE

Vacation isn’t the only way to alleviate the stress in your life. Start scheduling positive activities into your daily schedule, such as catching up with friends, jogging, seeing a relative you haven't seen in years, and so on. You'll notice that once you start scheduling positive activities, you'll do more of them and feel better.

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SPEND TIME OUTSIDE

Spending ample time outside can benefit you in several ways. Firstly, ultraviolet light, even in small doses, dilates blood vessels and decreases blood pressure significantly. In addition to that, those who spent more time in green spaces have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST

Well, if you have never been a breakfast person, it's high time you introduce changes in your morning routine. Eating breakfast is necessary for our body’s metabolism, and it’s advisable to recharge our bodies by consuming breakfast within two hours of waking up. 

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ACTIVELY COMMUTE TO WORKPLACE

If your workplace is not too far from your home, consider commuting to your workplace by walking or riding a bike. It’s the perfect way to start the day as being active in the morning has long-term mental and physical benefits. Walking to work also lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

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AVOID TOO MUCH OF SODIUM

Sodium has a habit of sneaking into people’s diets. It’s present in bread, cheese, sauce, and even processed meat! As a result, most people end up consuming more sodium than what their body requires. The daily recommended limit is about half a teaspoon. Too much of it can cause hypertension. 

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AVOID PROCESSED FOOD

Grabbing a packet of chips is definitely not the best way to satisfy your hunger. The secret to making processed food such as sugar, fat, and sodium can take a toll on your waistline and your body over time. The correct way to curb your hunger is to replace processed food with whole grains and fresh produce. 

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EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS

Not only is it important to kickstart your day with a nutritious breakfast in the morning, but it’s also necessary that you eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Eat every four to six hours after breakfast to keep your body fueled, and utilize those calories efficiently to achieve your body goals!

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HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

The biggest cause of distress after 40 is the loss of enthusiasm and motivation to do something. To save yourself from this, make sure you always have something to look forward to. It does not have to be something huge—even looking forward to the next season of your favorite show can do the trick.

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DEVELOP HOBBIES

Learning a new craft or gaining new knowledge not only helps you grow as a person but also keeps your brain active, improves neural links, and keeps you mentally fit over the years. Moreover, it keeps you engaged and doesn’t let unnecessary things occupy your mind.

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We hope you find these tips helpful in improving your lifestyle. By the way, would you like to add something to the given list? If yes, don’t forget to hit us up in the comments! See you soon. Until then, keep reading!

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