Life begins after 40, while for some, 40 is the new 30. Irrespective of your view, life no longer slows down when you’re 40. The 20s feel like a fast lane with so much to do, while the 30s may be spent settling down in a career or starting a family. So, in your 40s, the stress from the last two decades can try to catch up and take a toll on your general wellness. Luckily, there are some things you can do to stay youthful and healthy in your 40s.
Read on to find out.
Watch Your Diet
As years go by, the food you eat can affect your appearance, fitness, and quality of life. The body relies on some nutrients in the natural aging process while some slow signs of aging. While eating specific foods may not make you appear younger, nutrition can help you age well. Add nutrient-dense food to your diet to remain youthful.
Here are some nutritious foods to promote healthy aging:
High in antioxidants, green tea helps fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are byproducts of cell functioning and unstable molecules that can damage your cells. The antioxidants in green tea stabilize free radicals, reducing signs of premature aging, heart disease, and chronic diseases. If you look closely, most skin care products have green tea extract for its anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
They are nutrient-dense and very low in calories. Vegetables contain antioxidants and carotenoids, which protect the skin from UV rays, the main reason for premature skin aging. Most vegetables contain Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps with collagen production, a fundamental building block for the skin. Have at least two vegetables at each meal and eat vegetables of different colors since each color offers different antioxidants beneficial for your skin. Vegetables high in Vitamin C are broccoli, leafy greens, tomatoes, and bell pepper.
Like fruits, pomegranates are loaded with healthy nutrients. Pomegranates are high in Vitamin K, fiber, and potassium. They also contain antioxidants that support healthy skin aging by preventing UV skin damage and spots caused by exposure to the sun. These antioxidants also protect the skin’s collagen and promote the skin to make more collagen.
You have always heard that fat is bad, so you may have been avoiding fatty fish. However, fatty fish is highly nutritious and promotes healthy skin. Fatty fish is loaded with omega-3 fats, which help prevent inflammation, heart disease, and other issues. Omega-3 fatty acids also act as a skin barrier and protect the skin by decreasing inflammation which can damage the skin. A popular type of fatty fish is salmon, which is suitable for your skin. Salmon also has a carotenoid antioxidant, astaxanthin, which helps with hydration and skin elasticity.
They contain lignans, a type of polyphenol with amazing antioxidant benefits, which lowers your risk of suffering from a chronic disease. Flax seeds are also a good source of omega-3-fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which maintains a healthy skin membrane by ensuring your skin remains hydrated. A study on women consuming flax seeds for 12 weeks showed they experienced smoother skin and increased hydration.
While low-carb diets are mainly recommended to aid weight loss, they offer additional benefits, like anti-aging. Low-carb diets help with the skin, making the skin appear more youthful and energetic. Catalysts of the aging process are insulin, glucose, and triglycerides. A low-carb diet keeps glucose, insulin levels, and triglycerides to a minimum. Thus, they positively affect the skin and your health, controlling aging and acne.
Low-carb diets contain limited amounts of carbohydrates and refined sugar. A diet with high sugar leads to glycation that weakens collagen, resulting in tight skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. So, reducing the consumption of sugars and carbs improves the appearance of the skin.
Additionally, low-carb diets emphasize eating foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6, which help with acne, inflammation, and collagen production. The diet also helps control acne by reducing glucose. Glucose oxidation increases the free radicals which damage the skin and cause acne. Low-carb diets replace glucose with fat, reducing the free radicals and thus, reducing acne, leaving you with smooth and clear youthful skin.
Have a Cheat Meal
There are numerous advantages of sticking to a low-carb diet. However, you can add a cheat meal and indulge in other foods. Cheat meals can ensure you remain committed by acting as a reward system.
Besides keeping you committed, a cheat meal can improve your metabolism. A cheat meal increases leptin levels, an anti-starvation hormone that sends hunger messages to the brain. It tricks your body into thinking food is plentiful and burns through fat stores.
Cheat meals also help reset hormones that regulate insulin and metabolism. It helps replenish glycogen which increases energy and keeps calories burning. However, you shouldn’t just indulge—plan in advance for your cheat meal. Strategically plan your cheat meal for a time when you have a social gathering, e.g., a birthday party for a loved one, or a weekend when you are likely to crave junk or fatty foods.
Planning for a cheat meal ensures you fit it within your calorie intake and avoid overindulging. Cheat meals are a source of psychological relief that frees your mind. However, letting a cheat meal turn into cheat days is easy. So, avoid binge eating on cheat days, and change your mentality to view your diet as making healthy choices and not as a restriction. Have you already turned your cheat meal to cheat days? Here are tips to get out of cheat days.
As we age, somebody mechanisms that help protect our bodies from dehydration begin to lose their ability. Besides, older adults have reduced thirst signals, and failing to take enough water can cause dehydration, slow performance, and make them feel more tired. Other side effects of dehydration include low blood pressure, dizziness, heat stroke, and increased risk of falling.
Ensure you stay hydrated to improve and increase skin elasticity. When you are hydrated, the skin remains moisturized, thus, preventing sagging of the skin and avoiding premature wrinkles and fine lines on your face, giving you a youthful look.
Choose an Effective Workout Routine
There are many tips and tricks available on the internet to help you look young and slow down the aging process. Following a skin care regimen and eating a healthy diet can help. However, don’t overlook the need for an effective exercise routine to help you look youthful.
As we reach our 40s, our bodies change as we lose speed, muscle mass, power, and endurance. At 40, growth level hormones and testosterone levels drop. So, if you want to look young, you need to add resistance in your workouts and use band work. Your primary focus should be on strength training to grow your muscle mass. Here are some exercises to help you look younger:
Bulgarian Split Squat
- Assume a standing position
- Rest your back foot on a couch or bench
- Step out with the other foot a few feet from the bench
- Hold a pair of dumbbells
- Lower your body straight down while exercising control
- Let your back knee close to the ground while the front knee assumes a runner’s lunge
- Come a quarter of the way, then back down, using your weight to return to standing
- Flex your quads and glutes as you rise from the position
- Repeat 8 – 12 times before switching to the other leg
- Sit on the lat bench
- Grip the lat pulldown bar
- Slightly lean back and pull the bar down towards your sternum using your elbows
- Resist on the way up while maintaining tension in your lats
- Stretch enough by letting your shoulder blades up
- Do 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps
Dumbbell Renegade Rows
- Get in the pushup position
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand
- Keep your core tight
- Lift one dumbbell off the floor while the other arm supports you
- Make sure and lift the dumbbell until it is slighter higher than your torso
- Slowly return the dumbbell to the ground
- Switch to the other arm
- Do 3 sets of 7 reps on each arm
Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Sit on an incline bench
- Grab dumbbells with fully extended arms as you face up
- Keep your elbows tucked, and curl up the weight
- Flex your biceps at the top
- Resist when lowering the weights using your biceps, and get a good stretch before repeating
- Perform 3 sets of 12 reps
For best results, combine strength training with high-intensity interval training to keep your metabolism high in your 40s. HIIT helps burn calories and improves cardiovascular health. In your 40s, your metabolism is low, and your weight could start creeping up slowly. HIIT training is demanding and keeps your metabolism high even after the workout session.
You can join an exercise class to make workouts fun, engaging, and social. Additionally, you will have an instructor monitoring you, and they can help clarify any questions or recommend modifications to your routine. The presence of a fitness pro can also ensure you use proper form when training to avoid injuries. Here is a guide on how you can balance HIIT and cardio.
Have Some Rest Days
A break allows your body to recover and repair its muscles. Therefore, rest is essential to progress, and skipping rest days could lead to burnout or overtraining. When you exercise, there are some microscopic tears in your muscle tissues. Rest days allow cells to repair the muscles to heal, which will ultimately help them grow.
Rest days are not lazy days as they help prevent muscle fatigue. When exercising, the muscles burn glucose, depleting the glycogen levels in your muscles. Without a rest day, these stores aren’t replaced. Therefore, you will experience soreness and muscle fatigue.
By resting, you also reduce the risk of injury in your workout. When your body is overworked, you are likely to drop weight, fall out of form or take a wrong step which can result in injury. Overtraining also repetitively strains your muscle, increasing the risk of injuries. If you are training heavy for the first time, here is how to remain safe during training.
The late nights and early mornings can catch up fast in your 40s. However, it is never too late to reverse time. Follow our tips above to look more youthful and walk around feeling decades younger.