The Ultimate Health Guide for You (and Now Me) at 40

By Sara Butler

Active Woman in Her 40s

I’ll be 40 in a week. Maybe it’s the fact that I still feel incredibly immature inside, but I sure don’t feel like I’m knocking on the door of 40 at all. People say age is just a number and while that may technically be true, things sure don’t feel the same as they did when I was 20 or 30. I blame my kids.

To say I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the big 4-0 would be an understatement. I recognize there may be a few things I need to do differently now that I’ve officially entered mid-life. So, in an effort to feel better about my age, I teamed up with The Joint Chiropractic to bring you a few lessons about staying healthy after 40. Put on those bifocals and see what we’ve come up with!

The Cold, Hard Facts

The reason 40 feels so old is that even experts agree that it’s a point in life when the risk of health conditions increase. It’s time to hit pause and take a look at your numbers -- specifically, your cholesterol, body weight, and blood sugar. Make sure you have a baseline reading to operate from so you know if risk factors for disease are lurking.

It’s also really important to know your family medical history. If your great Uncle Claude had diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, you need to know. Your genetics increase your risk for certain diseases, so know what might be hiding in your family tree.

Muscle Up

According to the Mayo Clinic, at age 40 you begin to lose about one percent of muscle mass each year. That’s certainly not depressing at all.

That’s why, when you turn 40, you have to incorporate some sort of weight-bearing exercise into your fitness routine. Talk to the chiropractors at The Joint to help you understand better what you need to do. In general, you should have a weekly activity plan that incorporates cardiovascular exercise with strength training. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get all beefy and buff, but you should work on that muscle mass before you wither away like your great Aunt Myrtle.

Also, be aware that as you age, you become less flexible. The good news is that your chiropractor can help your spine and other joints to retain their range of motion and flexibility, but the bad news is that now that you’re 40, you actually have to work on it. Try a yoga or Pilates class to help you improve your core strength, flexibility, range of motion, and balance in conjunction with your regular chiropractic adjustments.

Make Fiber Your Friend

Turning 40 doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start guzzling the prune juice, but it does mean you need to start making peace with the fact that you need more fiber in your life. That’s because fiber, among other things, helps you to feel fuller for longer when you eat. Since your metabolism also slows down at 40, eating less can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Most people don’t consider gaining a pound a year as a real problem, but if you begin gaining a pound a year at age 40, that’s an extra 30 pounds of baggage you’re carrying around at 70.

The days of eating a large pizza by yourself and not gaining an ounce are coming to an end. They were glorious days, but it’s time to let them go. Make sure the calories you cut from your diet come from things such as sweet treats (and pizza pies), not from nutritious foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals your aging body needs.

There’s a part of me that expects to walk into the chiropractor’s office once I officially turn 40 and have them say, “There’s nothing more we can do, sorry.” But that’s all in my head. The chiropractors at The Joint are here to help all of us age as gracefully and healthily as we can. So, let your chiropractor be your partner in after-40 health.

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