5 must haves to life the fullest in your 40s

5 must haves to live your life to the fullest in your 40s

In Your 40s…

The Advantages

Professional success and deeper personal relationships make you more confident. As they say, you may be "living your best life." 

The Drawbacks

Aches and pains appear, and it's harder to lose fat and gain muscle.  Hormone levels begin to fluctuate in your 40s.

Your Action Plan

Your body is aging, there's no denying it — it's simply a part of life. Your metabolic rate is slowing down even more, so to help keep weight in check, try to spend more time working on strength and mobility (this also helps prevent accidental injuries). However, a drop in metabolism isn't the only thing that can cause weight gain in your 40s. Fluctuating hormone levels are also culprits.

This is important for your overall health, too. A drop in estrogen also means less protection for your bones and heart.  If you find that hormone changes cause symptoms for you (like depression and hot flashes), you may want to try some herbal support. Black cohosh helps with mood and hot flashes, and eleuthero has the added benefit of supporting adrenal function and improving mental clarity. (Both are ingredients in our Menopause Support Formula.) Essential fatty acids and fermented soy can also be helpful.

While vitamin and mineral requirements (think iron, calcium, and vitamin D) remain unchanged in your 40s, now is the time to be proactive for the next few decades — prevention is the best medicine. Pay particular attention to vitamin D. It's essential for calcium absorption, it supports immunity and it also protects against certain cancers. Vitamin D levels drop as we age and it's often difficult to get enough through your diet alone, so take a supplement of 600-1000 IU daily.  

And, just like in your 30s, antioxidants are superstars when it comes to aging well.

Chronic diseases are partially due to free radical damage, which antioxidants help counter. While supplements are available, it's more helpful to adjust your diet because food provides vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and protective phytochemicals. Include foods high in vitamins C and E, which are powerful antioxidants (citrus fruit, Brussels sprouts and sunflower oil are good sources). Other dietary antioxidants include beta-carotene (found in sweet potatoes and carrots) and selenium (found in tuna, shrimp and turkey).

Important health screenings in your 40s:

  • Monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Screening for breast cancer — the frequency will depend on your family history.
  • Continue to get HPV tests and Pap Smears every 3-5 years.

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    Written by 
    Dr. Elise Weiss, MD, a Columbia and Cornell trained Physiatrist, a medical speciality devoted to achieving better physical health and healing without surgery.