Turning 40 is a milestone that should be celebrated, but it can also signal an age when some health conditions start creeping up. It's time to look at your health and lifestyle and take stock of what is beneficial and what should be changed. Many people this age put their health aside to tend to aging parents, demanding jobs or growing children, but it is important to take a deep breath, plan for the future and ensure optimal well-being.
Explore family history to get more information about which diseases and conditions run in the family. Go back three generations for a complete record, recommends Genetics Home Reference. Knowing your history can provide key info so your physician can recommend preventative measures to reduce the risk of conditions such as heart attack, stroke and different types of cancer.
Learn your numbers to better understand personal risk for chronic diseases. Ask your doctor to measure levels for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides. Measure your waist circumference, body mass index and know your body weight, as well. Values and numbers that are out of range may indicate the presence of, or risk for developing, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Follow your doctor's recommendations to restore your numbers to healthy ranges.
Eat more fiber to normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, achieve a healthy weight, maintain bowel health and control blood sugar levels. Men age 40 to 50 should be getting 38 grams of fiber each day, and women, 25 grams, says ChooseMyPlate.gov. Eat whole-grain foods, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits and legumes. There are also fiber supplements and fortified foods that can boost your fiber intake. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.
Build more lean muscle to improve the symptoms of arthritis, prevent osteoporosis, reduce or eliminate back pain, prevent diabetes, prevent obesity and lower the risk of depression. Each year after a person turns 40, she starts to lose muscle mass, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report. Work to build and maintain muscle by strength training all major muscle groups at least three days per week.
Before changing your diet and exercise plan, consult your general physician.