One massive benefit of aging is the increased wisdom and grace that come from many rich experiences of living life. Of course, along with our collection of life lessons, many of us also collect health issues as we age.
The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 77% have at least two. Nearly two-thirds of all deaths each year can be attributed to just four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Women often have additional issues to look out for, such as breast cancer and menopausal hormone shifts that cause weight gain that leads to other health issues.
Family history can play a role, but doctors agree that a large part of your continued vitality after 40 lies in your hands.
Check out these 5 tips every woman over 40 should know to stay healthy, vital, and strong for the long haul.
Protect Your Sleep
Many middle-aged women report trouble sleeping. Whether that’s due to menopausal hormone-related troubles, partner snoring, or chronics stress, one thing is certain—not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc on your health, especially as you age.
The health issues caused by the lack of high-quality sleep are well documented and shouldn’t come as a surprise. Major health risks that come along with poor sleep include:
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Higher risk of diabetes
- Weakened immunity
- Impaired balance
Do yourself a favor and put a high priority on the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Start by making sure your bedroom is clear of any potential toxic bedding or mattresses and opt for all-natural and organic options instead. Keep clutter clear and create a soothing bedroom environment that limits noise and light, and you’ll be off to a great start.
Maintain Your Balance
In addition to lifestyle balance and reducing stress, longevity can be greatly increased if you focus on maintaining a strong physical balance.
As we age, women are 50% more likely to have a fall-related injury than men. If you’re thinking 40 is too young to worry about falls, think again.
What you don’t maintain now will be even harder to get back in twenty years.
All the core muscles and balance receptors in your body rely on balance to determine where your body is in relation to its surroundings. It’s the message our brain sends to our muscles that help us navigate uneven terrain and avoid falling when we get jostled or off-balance.
This requires ongoing training to maintain if you want to avoid falls as you age.
Along with your cardio and weight training, incorporate exercises that require balance and the use of one limb at a time. Something as simple as standing on one foot while you do the dishes can be enough to challenge your balance.
This type of balance activity sends a message to the brain that says, “Keep those skills sharp! We’ve got lots of living yet to do.”
US dietary guidelines recommend no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women, but it turns out even a little alcohol can increase health risks by a large margin.
In fact, just three alcoholic drinks per week can increase a woman’s chances of breast cancer by 15%.
Along with the standard warnings about alcohol and liver health, high blood pressure, dehydration, and an increased likelihood of accidents are also a risk factor.
If you want to remain healthy, drink moderately. Even better, whenever you can, opt for tea, coffee, and water, or low-calorie beverages that don’t increase your risk of chronic disease and death. It’s just smart living.
Focus on Fiber
Your body has to work hard to detox from outdoor and indoor air pollution and chemicals in food, water, and even personal care products.
Fiber helps us rid the body of toxins. If we don’t effectively eliminate waste it has nowhere to go and creates a less-than-healthy environment in our intestines.
The best way to keep all the toxins moving through our system and out of it is to get plenty of fiber. Consume a variety of fibers from a variety of plant-foods to help your body detox from the chemicals you’re subjected to every day.
Drink Plenty of Water
Speaking of waste...water is another important tool available for helping rid the body of toxins. It not only helps keep your body healthy, but it also keeps your skin looking fantastic too.
Focus on getting several large glasses of water a day, but remember that fresh fruits and veggies also pack a lot of H2O. You don’t have to lug around a gallon-sized water bottle every day to get enough water. Eating your water gives you hydration along with important nutrients your body also needs for graceful aging.
Making healthy choices now will put you well ahead of the curve as the years progress. Stay informed and try to manage stress while you feed and move your body, and you’ll be looking young and feeling younger regardless of your age.