10 Healthy Habits to Form Before Age 40
Women over 40 tend to be some of the most inspiring on the planet. From Christy Turlington to Diane von Furstenburg, our favorite fierce females seem to grow more radiant, intelligent, and confident with age. We can’t help but want to know all of their lifestyle secrets. Don't you?
In order for us to stay the course toward becoming strong, healthy, and happy women, we researched the most effective habits to form before the age of 40 (without having to drastically change your life too much). Scroll through and start strengthening your lifestyle now.
Wear sunscreen. Avoid the sun, and protect your skin from those UV rays whenever you’re outdoors. We spend a lot of time thinking about our faces when it comes to skin protection, but one of the earliest areas to show signs of sun damage (and age) is our hands. Make sure to lather up with at least SPF 50 on all exposed parts of your body. It will help you avoid skin cancer and keep you looking youthful longer.
As you age, your ability to feel the sensation of thirst weakens, meaning you may naturally consume less water. Get your water intake routine down now to avoid the consequences of dehydration later in life. According to this scientific study, coffee can count as a non-dehydrating fluid. Be mindful of cutting out sugar-heavy drinks and large amounts of alcohol from your liquid diet.
Don’t just wing your annual checkups. Think about your health and take any pain you’ve been having or concerns you may have seriously. There’s no need to be embarrassed. Doctors are there to help, and they can only do so with the information they are given. Prepare for your doctor’s appointments like you would for any other meeting, and never be afraid to ask questions.
The importance of flossing has been reiterated and reinforced since our early childhoods. The oral hygiene routine is especially crucial in your 20s and beyond. Gum disease often appears in your 30s and 40s. According to WebMD, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums. The bacteria can then stick to the fatty plaque in the bloodstream, which can contribute to blockages and cause heart problems. Bottom line: Make flossing a part of your morning and evening routines.
It’s important to make time away from your screens a priority. Don’t just connect with friends via Facebook messages and Instagram. Schedule a friend date, whether that be a picnic, walk, brunch, or coffee date. Put in face time. It’s especially important to make a habit of unplugging several hours before you go to bed. A recent study published by Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that the blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and laptops thwarts any chance of a good sleep. It disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythm, making it harder to get quality sleep. So read before bed, or chat with a friend or partner.
We’re not saying that you need to eliminate all guilty pleasures, but staying away from the heavily processed guiltiest ones are a must. When you want to indulge, make yourself a delicious healthy dessert or calming bath. Even a not-so-healthy dessert, if homemade, is better than anything store-bought or processed.
There are numerous reasons weightlifting is important, especially for women. Researchers have found that when people of a total-body resistance training regimen work out with only three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms stay raised for the following 39 hours. Weightlifting also builds stronger bones, gets you in shape faster, makes you look better in clothes than doing only cardio, and leads to faster, smarter brain function.
Sadly, more people are getting divorced in their 30s than ever before—in fact, there are more divorces for 30-somethings than any other age demographic, and the male infidelity rate is at an all-time high. We’re not saying have sex to keep someone else happy. But an active sex life, especially when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, is essential for happy and healthy marriage. It’s a common saying that for women, sex is more about what’s between the ears, not the legs. So start making a habit of giving yourself the right amount of “me” time so you can feel sexy throughout your entire life.
There is a horrible myth that if you skip meals, you lose weight. This is not the case, especially post-40. In fact, skipping meals can cause your metabolism to slow down and make you more likely to splurge on junk food later in the day, which, in turn, can lead to diabetes. The best way to keep your metabolism steady and your energy strong throughout the day is to start each morning with a healthy breakfast. Katharine Taber, MD, a gynecologist and director of the Women’s Wellness Center at LifeBridge Health, says breakfast does two things. “A, it helps with weight loss; B, it gives you more energy and concentration throughout the day,” she told Health magazine.
What healthy habits are a part of your life? Share your morning and evening routines with us.
This post was originally published on July 6, 2016. Updated by Sacha Strebe.