Life changes with every decade, and while women of every age should commit to self-care, over 40, it becomes more important than ever. There may be few visible signs of aging, but your body starts going through some subtle changes that start to manifest as you get older.
Regular health checks are important if you want to take preventative health measures and implement a self-care regime suited to your age. Here’s what a woman over 40 needs to know to make sure she stays healthy as she ages.
1. Regular health checks are vital
At the age of 40 and over, regular health checks are more important than when you’re younger. Have a yearly checkup with your primary healthcare provider, who will usually check your blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and do a physical exam. You may need blood tests to check your thyroid, cholesterol, and other factors. You will also need a cervical swab and mammogram.
Picking up health problems early, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar, means they can be treated to keep them under control and prevent any further damage to your physical health.
DripHydration, SunQuest, and GlycanAge administer at home lab screening to help you identify health issues and optimize your overall wellness. A licensed medical professional will come to your location to do a lab draw. Your sample will be sent directly to a laboratory and your care team will interpret your test and help you to understand the results.
2. Your metabolism slows down
Your metabolism slows down every decade. Even if your daily activities don’t change, you burn fewer calories. This reduces your energy, and any calories you don’t burn turn into fat. Keeping track of your calorie intake and ensuring you exercise regularly can help you maintain your weight and energy levels.
In your 40s, it is more important to eat breakfast than ever before. It helps to get your metabolism going so you will burn more calories. It can also give you an energy boost that helps you to get more done.
Eating a healthy breakfast may be associated with a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. People who eat breakfast find it easier to maintain their weight, as those who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to have a higher overall calorie intake later in the day.
3. Your menstrual period can become unpredictable
Long before you reach menopause, estrogen production can fluctuate. This can result in your menstrual periods being closer together or further apart. Sometimes you may hardly have a period at all, whereas at other times, you may have a heavy flow. Eventually, your periods cease altogether, but before this happens, the unpredictability can make life difficult.
A healthy lifestyle can help to ease the transition into menopause. This means eating healthily, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep on a regular basis, and managing your stress. Stress can make your perimenopausal symptoms worse. It’s important to consult a medical practitioner if changes in your period make life very difficult for you or if you’re worried about heavy bleeding that lasts for long durations.
4. You lose bone density
When your estrogen levels start dropping, you experience more bone loss, which makes you more prone to fractures. Women over 40 are more prone to develop osteoporosis, a disease that weakens their bones.
Taking a calcium supplement may be necessary for your heart, nerves, and muscles to function properly. Women in their 40s and over should consume adequate vitamins – particularly vitamin C and vitamin D – every day. Oral supplements can help ensure that you get the daily vitamins you need. Other measures you can take to reduce bone loss include exercise, avoiding heavy alcohol use, and giving up smoking.
5. You lose muscle mass
After the age of 40, you lose muscle mass. This is accelerated if you’re inactive. Doing the right types of exercise can help prevent muscle loss. All you need is about 30 minutes of exercise a day, but your exercise routine should incorporate strength exercises. You should do strength exercises at least twice a week that include all your major muscle groups. Resistance training will not only build muscle but help to keep your weight under control.
Fat tends to accumulate in the abdominal area of women over 40, and this adipose tissue is linked with various chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. As your muscle tone improves and you increase your strength, it can help you from developing many different chronic health conditions. Maintaining a healthy, strong body is possible at any age.