Age 40 is a milestone when the risk of many health conditions increases. This makes the birthday a perfect time for taking stock of your health, experts say.
Whether people have demanding jobs, aging parents, growing children or all of the above, it’s easy to put health aside. But 40 is the time to evaluate your wellbeing, and to plan for the long-run.
Keep your eyes open for vision problems
At age 40, vision can start to worsen, so have your eyes checked out. You need to be able to read the fine print on medicine labels, and lots of different labels. If you don’t have reading glasses and you can’t read the fine print, you might miss some important information.
The leading cause of blindness in the elderly is a condition known as macular degeneration. It affects 9.1 million people over age 40.
Wearing sunglasses can prevent further damage. Too much sun exposure can increase cataracts, so sunglasses are a good idea. Make sure they have the UVA and UVB protection.
Know your numbers
Age 40 is a good time to look into your numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and body weight. People need to know what their cholesterol level is and if they haven’t checked before age 40, they should.
When you visit a pharmacy, take time to get your blood pressure measured, and visit your doctor to get a simple blood sugar test, he suggested. Knowing these numbers will help you and your doctor identify potentially hidden disease risk-factors.
Starting at age 40, we lose about 1 percent of muscle mass per year.
So people can benefit from incorporating weight-bearing exercises, along with cardiovascular exercise, into a weekly physical activity plan. As we age, we also become less flexible. You can incorporate yoga or Pilates in your daily workout, which can help improve flexibility, core strength, balance and range of motion.
Fiber is your friend
The days of gorging without gaining weight are over. And as your metabolism slows around age 40, eating fewer calories can boost health. But you should also make sure to get adequate fiber and fluids.
People who feel worn out, and are gaining weight and whose hair and skin have lost their luster, may consider getting their thyroids checked. This neck gland helps control energy levels and regulates hormones, and 40 is a time.
Keep injuries and joint pain away
As we age, we tend to get tighter in our tendons and muscles, which increases our risk for injury. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and lower the chance of injuries. It also helps to lessen joint pain.
Keep bones healthy
As people age, they are more susceptible to bone loss, or osteoporosis. To preserve bone density, it’s crucial to do weight-bearing and resistance exercises.
While traditional weight training incorporates weight machines, you can add in more full-body functional weight bearing exercises – using free weights or resistance bands. Squats, lunges, shoulder presses and bicep curls are a few examples. These mimic the moves you do in real life, such as lifting boxes or walking up stairs.
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