If you are 40 years young, you may begin to notice your favorite jeans getting snug, your vision may be fuzzy reading the morning paper, and stress might be creeping into your life a bit more. No need to fret, you can build a healthy and fit you at any age, especially over 40, by making your age a number you write on a medical form and not a representation of how you feel.
Developing a health and fitness plan to battle the bulge, knock out stress, and improve heart health can be achieved with these six essential actions.
- Make fitness a top priority
Various medical problems that occur in men over 40 are associated with obesity and poor heart health. Taking action and increasing your heart rate a few times a week is an essential step to a healthier you. Sure, exercise may seem more daunting than before and your joints may nag you at the beginning, however, stretching and sticking to your routine will help you power through.
A study by the American Heart Association in 1996 found that regular exercise “can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity.” The same study also noted exercise as one of the key factors for decreasing cardiovascular disease.
Putting a little activity into your week will get you looking good while adding longevity to your life. Get in the gym or head to your neighborhood park for some low impact circuit training that will decrease your BMI and produce healthy cardiac output.
- Feed your muscles more fish
As you enter your fourth and fifth decade of happy living, your muscles will begin to fade. Research by The Gerontological Society of America (1995) found men over 40 will begin to lose muscle at a rate of approximately 12 percent per decade. The good news is you can battle age-associated muscle loss by adding weight training into your exercise routine and eating healthier food with loads of essential protein.
You do not need to become Arnold Schwarzenegger and start bodybuilding at the beach, but high reps of easy lifting can keep your muscles toned and sticking around for longer. Your healthy diet should contain salmon and tuna, which are natural superfoods containing the highest levels of protein with less calories. A delicious, 100 gram serving of salmon will supply your muscles with 26 grams of protein.
- Unplug and reduce stress for a better life balance
As you get older, you may begin to feel more anxious and stressed. One reason for your stress may be too much work and not enough play. Stress can cause unhealthy habits, such as overeating or lack of motivation to get out and about on your days away from the office. Those two evil habits can put you at risk for multiple health conditions after 40.
Developing a better life balance is essential for alleviating stress. A study published in Stress and Health (2005) touches on the importance of a better life balance. Men over 40 can reap the rewards and become mentally fit by ending the work day earlier to spend essential time with friends, family or a bit of deserved “you” time. Unplugging on the weekends is also an important aspect for a healthier mind. Closing your laptop and turning off your cellphone will put your mind into stasis and allow you to relax.
- Eat more tomatoes to keep your prostate in check
Many men over 40 run for the hills at the very mention of a prostate check. Although daunting, this is an unavoidable medical checkup you need in order to stay healthy. Growing older means more responsibilities, and this is one responsibility essential for optimum physical and mental health. Once you get your prostate checked, and after you get the good news from your doctor that “everything looked great,” you will no longer have the “what if” looming over you.
Tomatoes are one of nature’s defenses against prostate cancer, and adding them into your diet could be more than beneficial after 40. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant noted for its prostate cancer fighting power. Research published in The Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (2013) found that tomatoes “may play a modest role in the prevention of prostate cancer.”
- Eat more greens for better vision
After 40 years, your vision may become a bit blurry and out of focus. Aging and a decrease in vision come hand in hand. You may remember teasing your dad for wearing those ridiculous reading glasses. Well, age karma befalls us all when it comes to vision.
A study published in Geriatrics (1995) notes macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy as the top-four, age-related vision diseases.
Adding more vegetables into your diet is a natural healthy way to slow vision loss after 40 by raising your intake of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Eating more greens like kale, broccoli and spinach will help you keep your eyes healthy, with other amazing health benefits to boot. These healthy cruciferous vegetables have been found to “help prevent age-related eye problems” in a study published in the Journal of Nursing and Health Science (2013).
- Lower your cholesterol with almonds and omega-3
As you surpass 40 and reach your more graceful and wiser years, cholesterol and heart health should become one of your highest priorities. Lowering cholesterol will keep arteries fat-free and keep your risk for heart disease at a minimum. Your cardiovascular system will also thank you for not having to work as hard after 40 years of “heart pounding” adventures.
Eating almonds and getting a healthy dose of omega-3 from fish will lower cholesterol and help keep you on a path free of heart disease. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994) discusses the cholesterol lowering benefits almonds pack in such a small little nut. Keeping a tiny tin of almonds at your desk during the work day and a small sashimi roll for lunch will keep you feeling great, over 40 or not.
Take action and put your health first. Aging over 40 is a right of passage, a time in your life when you can get stronger, healthier and more active than you might have been in your thirties. A combination of weight control through fitness, making diet changes that benefit men over 40, and mandatory medical checkups will keep you feeling and looking good into retirement.
— Stephen Seifert
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flare for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.