Have you reached 40? The age marks what many men deem is the start of their best decade. But, as 40 turns into 41, 45, and beyond, it becomes even more crucial to take care of your health. Here’s what you can do.
1. Eat healthy
It’s important to eat foods brimming with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A clean, nutrient-rich diet helps to normalize bowel movements and achieve healthy weight.
Grains, beans, and green tea are excellent sources of antioxidants, help maintain your blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Feeling tired in the afternoon? Instead of reaching for caffeine or sugary foods, opt to eat whole foods to cruise through a mid-afternoon slump.
2. Cut (empty) calories
Donuts and pastries, soda and sports drinks, pizza and ice cream. What do they have in common? They’re full of empty calories—which means they have an extremely high number of calories and provide no nutritional benefit. Those sugary lattes in the morning are chock-full of empty calories, too.
3. Ace your tests
Screening tests, that is. Age 40 is the time to start regular health screenings. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, and blood sugar scores.
For instance, higher blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Work with your doctor or a dietitian to course-correct if your tests don’t come back with flying colors.
4. Keep up your strength
Muscles start to shrink as we age. If you’re not already, add weights to your exercise routine to maintain your muscle stores. Increasing them is even better.
Strength training is considered better than cardio to help prevent losing muscle mass, and it’ll help improve symptoms of arthritis, prevent osteoporosis and diabetes, and lower body-fat percentage.
5. Maintain balance
At the end of the work day, turn off your laptop and take fewer peeks at your cellphone. Stress is a known factor for heart disease, which is the number 1 killer of men aged 45 to 54.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance helps keep stress at bay. So does exercise and meditation. Not into either of those? Think about attending stress management classes.
6. Take your heart, well, to heart
Our heart keeps us pumping. Higher fiber foods are healthful for your heart, as well as lowering your cholesterol. Consider switching to healthier fats and oils—think avocados and olive oil—if you haven’t already. Be sure to skip over processed meats like bacon as well.
Once you reach 40, it’s time to take quitting smoking seriously. Stomping out those butts for good decreases the risk of heart and lung diseases, as well as stroke and lung cancer.
7. Pump up your protein intake
The more muscle you have, the less fat you’re likely to carry. Keep up your muscle mass by consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein every meal, whether from beef, chicken, yogurt, peas, or quinoa. It’s even more important to ensure you’re getting enough protein after every workout.
A review in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism notes that athletes over 40 did not recover as quickly as their younger counterparts. Aim to consume 35 to 50 grams of high-quality protein post-workout: that’s about five ounces of grilled chicken breast, lean meat, or seafood.
8. Increase your calcium intake
It’s not just your muscles that shrink. Bone density starts to decrease as we age, as well. To maintain bone density and to avoid developing osteoporosis, consume 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium—or three servings of dairy—daily. Calcium is great for decreasing fat storage as well.
9. Get plenty of sleep
You may find that you’re sleeping less, but the National Sleep Foundation still suggests you get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. To help you sleep, try exercising regularly for better quality sleep, turn off your smartphone and TV before bed, and try to set a regular schedule.
These 11 tips are really a just a few steps you can take to maintain your health once you hit 40. We’re saying cheers—to your health!
Previously published at Goodmenproject.com