13 things you need to do now to be healthy in later life

August 10, 2020

As we get older, we tend to try and revive our youth, relive the golden years and put our now 40 something year old self through things we should have done or did do in our 20s and 30s. After all, they do say that 40 is the new 30!

However, it is rather unfortunate that this does not ring true for our health. Whether or not you are doing the things you would in your 20s or 30s, your body is still 40, and needs to be cared for as such.

That being said, with some alterations to your lifestyle, there is no reason why your 40s means an unhealthier you!

Before we dive in, let me firstly say that I am not a medical professional, and that these are just my theoretical suggestions. As always, if you have any health concerns speak to your GP or health professional.

So, lets dive in

How to future proof your body – Fitness

As we get on in life, there are common conditions that we naturally become more preexposed to such as back and neck pain osteoarthritis, mobility and heart problems. A short 30 minutes a day of exercising your body can help delay the possible onset

1. Resistance training – Lifting weights can help you overcome strength and muscle loss associated with aging. Additionally, resistance training can help reduce physical vulnerability and build resilience. No need to overdo it! Manageable weight with low resistance and relaxed movements it is good enough.

2. Yoga and Pilates – As we get older our mobility can begin to descend down a slippery slope. By engaging in activities such as yoga or pilates, you can increase the range of movement and flexibility throughout your body. Yoga can also improve your sleeping habits and have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

3. Daily mobility– Starting your day with a short 5 minute workout will allow you to optimise the use of hormones such as testosterone that are highest in the morning. This will also release endorphins making you feel great and help towards a positive start to your day. Try simple exercises that open your spine and rotate your hips such as squats and cat stretches.

4. Low Intensity Cardio – An oldie but goodie! A light bike ride or gentle jog / walk should do it. Why not try a fun dance class or aqua aerobics. The options are endless, but the aim is to raise your heartbeat within 105 – 120 bpm.

5. Listen to your body – It goes without saying, our body does not bounce back and repair as well as it did in our youth. Listen to signs your body needs rest and do not train through injury.

How to future proof your body – Nutrition

As we get older, our digestive system slows down and the risk of conditions such as diabetes increases. Therefore, nutrition becomes even more important as we age.

6. Stay hydrated – water is necessary for nearly every bodily function and can ward off conditions within the kidney and urinary tract. You should drink a minimum of 6 to 8 glasses a day, and more when working out.

7. Eat a balanced diet – you need to ensure you are consuming enough nutrients for your day. 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats is a good target. Don’t forget to make your plate colourful to include the likes of fruit and vegetables for your vitamins and minerals.

8. Avoid inflammatory foods – certain foods such as dairy, gluten and processed meats encourage swelling in the stomach. It’s worth understanding how these food groups may affect you.

9. Limit alcohol and caffeine – this goes without saying. Many of us enjoy our coffee in the morning and a sip of red wine with our meal. There are arguments suggesting some benefits to caffeine and red wine. Just be smart and enjoy in moderation.  

10. Joint care – Shorter and sharper sessions may be more beneficial to you once in your 40s. Your joints may become a little less forgiving to those endurance sessions. There are supplements such as glucosamine, cod liver oil and collagen that you can take to support your joints.  

How to future proof your body – Mental Health

Your mental state is as important, if not more than your physical. Taking care of your mental well-being early on and adopting some good habits can support a happier healthier you.

11. Meditation – 5 minutes of meditation a day can help control anxiety, reduce stress and enhance self-awareness. It can also support emotional health and generally make you feel happier.

12. Keep up appearances – it’s good to get out and socialise with your nearest and dearest. They say smiling and laughing is good for your soul, well it’s definitely good for your mental health.

13. Have a goal – setting goals for yourself and holding yourself accountable gives you targets to work towards and celebrate. Whether big or small, personal goals will keep your mind focused and get you motivated. The natural endorphins that flow through your body when on track and achieving your goals will keep you wanting more!