25 Things to Do in Your 40s to Live a Longer, Better Life from 25 Things to Do in Your 40s to Live a Longer, Better Life

25 Things to Do in Your 40s to Live a Longer, Better Life

25 Things to Do in Your 40s to Live a Longer, Better Life

People can’t ignore their age. Making this mistake can lead to weight gain, heart problems and chronic illnesses brought by unhealthy lifestyles. Now is the time to change bad habits. The body gets more and more resilient as it gets older – it has been mistreated for too long with refined sugar, processed foods and other bad things, so it takes longer to get better.

Don’t skip meals

Don’t skip meals

Shutterstock

People don’t always eat three times a day with light snacks in between due to busy schedules. But making time is crucial because going through a long period of time without consuming food can lead to a series of health problems – blood sugar levels dive, stress hormones are released, you get hungrier, you increase your chance of developing diabetes, and your skin and hair suffer. Don’t even think about not eating because you’re trying to shed a few pounds because you lose water weight and muscle, not fat. 

Don’t do only cardio

Don’t do only cardio

Shutterstock

Running, and other cardio workouts that burn more calories, won’t necessarily lead to fat loss. You need to be able to burn more calories when you’re resting in order to drop the few extra pounds. This can only happen if you build muscles by doing strength training. Ten pounds of muscle will burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn only 20. Lifting weight also helps prevent diabetes. Glycogen is stored in muscle tissue and the liver. As we age, we lose muscle mass and glucose disposing tissue.

Avoid soda and alcohol

Avoid soda and alcohol

Shutterstock

Soda – even the diet kind – and alcohol can wreak havoc on your body. A recent study made a connection between soda and life expectancy decrease by 4.6 years because sugar damages telomeres, which affects how cells age. Diet sodas taste the same as regular ones because they have artificial sweeteners. They play tricks on the brain in a worse way than sugary sodas. Drinking too much can lead to weaker immune system, slower metabolism, dehydration, arrhythmia, and hypertension.

Focus on diet, not exercise

Focus on diet, not exercise

iStock

It is possible to have too much of a good thing, and working out more than what your body can handle is highly detrimental. Exercise addiction often starts with the remarkable feeling you have when you push yourself hard to get to the next level and see the results of your sweat. You are constantly tired and find artificial ways to boost your energy such as coffee and energy drinks. Also, you make yourself a very easy target for injuries. Finally, you start to crave comfort foods, filled with sugary, high carbohydrates, and begin to overeat.  

Check your hormones

Check your hormones

Shutterstock

Everything changes with age. Watch for signs that your hormones may be out of balance. Stress is usually the first answer when a person does not feel well whether the symptoms are physical or mental, but the reason may be more complicated. Some of the signs, which are not usually sudden, include chronic fatigue, cravings, puffy eyes, mood swings, thinning eyebrows, muscle mass loss, and belly fat.

Cut back on caffeine

Cut back on caffeine

Shutterstock

No one can argue that coffee has its benefits either – it wakes you up, increases alertness and helps you stay focused. The problem is that when people drink too much of it – or more than 3-4 cups a day. This is not uncommon as people try to get too many things done in a day. The safe amount for most healthy adults is 300-400mg a day, which is equivalent to two 5-Hour Energy shots, one Starbucks Venti brewed coffee, and 2.5 16 fl. oz. Monster energy drinks. Anything more than that can lead to arrhythmia, chest pain and even death, he adds. A study has linked caffeine overdose to panic attacks.

Stay away from sugar

Stay away from sugar

Shutterstock

Sugar is also one of the worst things you can put in your body. The liver is overloaded, your cholesterol is up, tooth enamel gets destroyed, it makes you tired, your immune system is weakened, and you are at risk of becoming depressed, according to research.

Include protein and fiber in every meal

Include protein and fiber in every meal

Shutterstock

Protein is used in every single cell in the body. It keeps your metabolism running as well. Studies have shown that if you consume more calories from protein, your overall metabolic rate increases because it is harder to break down and body works harder to convert it into energy. Protein should be about 30 percent of your diet, or about 150 grams. High-quality protein foods include fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken breast, beans, nuts and sea food.

Drink more water

Drink more water

Shutterstock

The body is dehydrated when it has lost more fluid than it’s taken in, resulting in not having enough water to allow it to perform at optimal level. Drinking water is a vital part of digesting, absorbing and transporting nutrients, which is crucial for good overall physical and mental health. Ignoring that fact can make you sick – kidney problems, dry skin, muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, swollen feet and arms, high cholesterol, and constipation.

Stop watching TV so much

Stop watching TV so much

Shutterstock

A study has linked prolonged television viewing with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. Also, televisions and other electronic devices emit blue light, which affects the levels of the sleep-inducing melatonin more than any other wavelength. Another problem is what you’re watching. Chances are a movie or a late show that you find will be more stimulating than relaxing, keeping you awake, which has many side effects, including weight gain.

Wear sunblock every day

Wear sunblock every day

iStock

Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen all the time when people are outside. Everyone gets incidental exposures of sun that in some cases can cause sunburn and significant skin damage. Wearing sunscreen on a regular basis can help prevent this. And whatever you do, don’t use suntan booths. They are incredibly dangerous; you are exposing your skin to ultraviolet radiation. “Even before you’re 35, you increase your chance of developing skin cancer by 75 percent; each session increases it by additional 20 percent.

Go swimming

Go swimming

Shutterstock

This is one of the most efficient total-body workouts around. You can kill many birds with one stone (figuratively speaking) if your stone is swimming. It activates every muscle in your body. It’s perfect if you don’t like being sweaty because the water keeps you cool even though your heart rate is rising. You can swim for 20 minutes and enjoy the same health benefits as if you were running for 40-50 minutes. It builds endurance, muscle strength and improves cardiovascular fitness.

Do squats and weightlifting

Do squats and weightlifting

Shutterstock

Squats are many people’s favorite exercise for building muscle, which is crucial as you get older. They boost your lower body strength. Strength training workouts will increase your muscle mass and as a result, also increase your metabolism. Lifting weight also helps prevent diabetes. Glycogen is stored in muscle tissue and the liver. As we age, we lose muscle mass and glucose disposing tissue.

Train for an event

Train for an event

Shutterstock

Register for an upcoming fitness occasion,  a walk or race, and ask friends to join you as well. There are a lot of charity events year-round. Having something to train for will help you stay focused on a long-term goal. Consider an under-the-radar marathon so you don’t feel the pressure to do well. Just don’t set unrealistic goals because you will be sabotaging your success.

Learn another language

Learn another language

Shutterstock

The brain is a muscle and it needs to be exercised. Recent research has found that brain age decreases by 0.95 years for each year of education (and by 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed). So keep your mind occupied. Also, taking your mind off the usual stuff and concentrating on something new and exciting can boost your mood significantly.

Have some chocolate

Have some chocolate

Shutterstock

Who would have thought that a healthy kind of food which is also delicious actually exists? Dark chocolate is evidence that munching on nutritious dessert does not mean weight gain, diabetes and chronic heart conditions. The magic ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, which is packed with antioxidants and all kinds of other healthy chemicals that improve your overall health. It’s important to look for chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa. Otherwise, you’re just consuming a snack that is packed with calories and sugar.

Check your eyes

Check your eyes

Shutterstock

It’s important to maintain your eyesight; eat the right foods, get enough sleep and visit your eye doctor regularly. Without proper care you may find yourself victim of eye diseases and vision problems. Slowing down the aging of your eyes is actually easier than one would think. Nutrients such as vitamin A, omega 3s, zinc and lutein have been proven to benefit the eyes. 

Volunteer

Volunteer

Shutterstock

Did you know that volunteer work actually increases happiness more than paid employment?  Helping others makes people feel happier, purposeful and self-confident, according to a York University study that included more than 700 people. Some were asked to be compassionate towards someone for 5-15 minutes a day. About six months later, they reported to be in a much better mood than those who were not helpful.

Get your thyroid checked

Get your thyroid checked

Shutterstock

One of the most important parts of the body is also one of the smallest ones. So take care of it. The tiny gland at the base of the neck produces hormones that control many essential body processes, from the beating of the heart and burning calories to skin turnover and forming memories. Just as there are many aspects to what affect the thyroid gland, there are multiple signs that it’s not working right

Don’t apply too much skin cream

Don’t apply too much skin cream

Shutterstock

One ounce of cream should cover your entire body,” Adam Mamelak, MD, FRCPC, FACMS from Sanova Dermatology, says. This is especially important for sunscreen, he adds. “If you think about it, most sunscreen bottles are 6 or 8 ounces. That means six or eight applications should finish the bottle. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen.” With serums, 4-5 drops is enough, Dr. Schlesinger adds. “You should apply the liquid-based or cleansing product first and then the cream.”

Remove makeup before bed

Remove makeup before bed

Shutterstock

Many people don’t but this is a major mistake. Makeup is made to last longer and longer; some women have it on for 12 hours. You absolutely want to take it all off at the end of the day in order for your skin can breathe. All the dirt traps inside the pores and changes the pH levels under the skin – it becomes very oily or dry.

Don’t exfoliate often

Don’t exfoliate often

Shutterstock

Over exfoliation can often lead to breakage. The frequency that you should exfoliate often depends on your skin and skin type. If you are just starting, go slow. Once or twice a week at the beginning will suffice.

Take naps

Take naps

Shutterstock

Quick power naps, which may be a secret to live a long, happy life, can make you more alert.  Napping during the day is especially beneficial to people who work in shift. The best kind of nap is 20-30 minutes long and taken around the same time during the day. Avoid extended naps after 4 p.m. because they can mess with your ability to fall asleep later.

Have a positive attitude

Have a positive attitude

Shutterstock

People who never get sick are optimistic. Handling life’s curve balls with a positive attitude will help avoid unnecessary stress that could potentially make you sick. Looking on the bright side will help you cope easier and avoid worrying. Positive people are more motivated. They tend be healthier than negative people and enjoy life much more than those who focus on the negative aspects of it.

Travel more

Travel more

iStock

Travel is good for you. It gets you moving, alleviates stress and it helps the mind. Traveling, especially somewhere completely new, stimulates and even challenges the mind. That stimulation, it seems, is great for overall cognitive health. According to Dr. Brendan Kelley, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, “Many studies have associated greater cognitive stimulation with preserved brain health… The key seems to be engaging in activities that we find interesting and that stimulate our minds.”

25 Things to Do in Your 40s to Live a Longer, Better Life