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Maintaining Health & Fitness in Your 40s

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 8 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Health Maintaining Fitness Exercise

When they are young, many people give little thought to their long term health, feeling confident that they will always feel fit and vibrant, but by their fortieth birthdays, most are giving consideration to maintaining and improving their health. By making sound choices about diet, exercise, stress management, and medical care, robust health and fitness can be had throughout the forties and well beyond.

Diet and Exercise in Your 40s

Many people first notice the slowing of their metabolisms when they are in their forties. Weight gain is common, so diet and exercise become more important then ever before. Choosing a nutritious diet with a focus on whole, unprocessed foods, can help. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other legumes, and lean sources of protein should make up the bulk of the diet, with sweets and fatty foods reserved for only occasional indulgences.

Exercise matters, too, so couch potatoes will need to give some thought to fitness if they hope to maintain good health. While it's not necessary to have the rock hard abs of a twenty year old, making time for training, both cardio and strength, can make an enormous difference to overall health and stamina in the middle age years and beyond. Investing in a gym membership (and then showing up!) is a wise choice for those in the over-40 crowd.

Rest and Relaxation in Your 40s

Stress and sleep deprivation can take their toll on both health and fitness levels. Overstressed people increase their chances of developing a host of illnesses, from cardiovascular disease to some forms of cancer. Additionally, putting the body under too much stress and failing to give it the rest that it needs creates cravings for sweets and fatty foods. Giving in to those cravings can increase the chances of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes.

Stress reducing techniques, including exercise and meditation, have been proven effective in maintaining both physical and emotional health. Although sleep disturbances are common in the forties due to fluctuating hormone levels and urinary symptoms, people in midlife need to see that they get at least 7 hours of restful sleep each night.

Dental Health in Your 40s

Periodontal disease is common in midlife, but many people fail to get good dental care because their health insurance doesn't offer sufficient coverage. Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum tissue, is caused by a buildup of plaque, so proper at home dental care is necessary.

Brushing and flossing after meals and again before bedtime, along with semi-annual visits to the dentist for professional cleanings can help keep teeth and gums healthy. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, resulting in receding gums, shifting of teeth, and ultimately, tooth loss.

Health Screenings in Your 40s

Establishing a habit of seeking routine medical care and scheduling health screenings can help to keep people healthy and catch potential problems when they are at their earliest and most treatable stages. Keeping abreast of health news can help those in their forties in maintaining their good health. Armed with reliable health information, middle aged people can make choices that support healthy living.

Caution must be taken to assure that medical information is sought from solid sources, such as a trusted GP or well respected medical organisations though. The internet is brimming with misinformation, and taking advice from the ill informed may be worse than not taking action at all.

Most people in their forties would benefit from a basic annual physical, including screenings for heart health, diabetes, and colon cancer. Colon cancer can be deadly, but if caught early, is highly treatable. Most colon cancers begin as polyps, which are non-cancerous, and if they are detected at that stage, they can be removed before they pose a threat to life.

Sexual health changes throughout the forties, with women usually experiencing the most noticeable symptoms. Fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone can induce hot flushes, as well as interrupting sleep and causing moodiness. Falling testosterone levels can be troublesome for both men and women in their forties.

Men may experience sexual dysfunction, low energy, and mood variations due to their natural lowering of testosterone, while women may notice a diminished libido, vaginal dryness, and fatigue. The GP can offer a variety of solutions, including prescription testosterone cream.

Feeling fit and vibrant needn't be reserved for the young. When they take care of themselves and see to their physical and emotional needs, people in their forties can be fit, healthy, and walk with a spring in their step.

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