Age 40 isn’t what it used to be. Today, people are looking and feeling younger at an age that used to be considered over the hill. But there is a biological reality that can’t be ignored: After 40, certain health risks increase. And some of us compound the natural aging process with unwise everyday habits. The good news: You can make some easy lifestyle changes that will keep you feeling young for decades beyond your 40s. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
When you work out, don’t skip strength training. Not only does it boost metabolism by promoting lean muscle growth, it keeps bones strong. By age 40, our bone density drops by about 1 percent annually. Weight training causes muscles to pull on nearby bones, which increases their density. Studies show that even light weight lifting with higher reps can have that effect. Experts recommend two strength-training workouts per week.
After age 40, the chances of developing certain chronic diseases rise, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. Cutting back on sources of added sugar in your diet—particularly sugar-sweetened drinks, refined grains, processed foods and fast food—can reduce your risk of every one of them. “Added sugar is the number one most significant health threat in America,” says David Zinczenko, best-selling author of Zero Sugar Diet. “The more added sugar that sneaks its way into your diet, the less healthy food you’ll eat the rest of the day. And the faster you will age.”
Can sex make you look five to seven years younger? That’s the finding of a British psychologist who spent a decade interviewing people about their sex lives. Study participants between the ages of 40 and 50 who looked younger than their peers reported having sex 50 percent more often, reported Dr. David Weeks. The potential reason: Orgasm releases human growth hormone and stimulates other biological processes that keep you looking and feeling young.
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression can surface with age, even in people who never experienced it in their younger years. Signs can be subtle—if you’re experiencing increased irritability, fatigue, or impaired sleep, talk with your doctor.
A study published last spring in the journal Aging found it was possible to reduce biological age by three years in eight weeks by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes. That’s what researchers found in a test group who consumed a largely plant-based diet with a probiotic supplement, exercised for at least 30 minutes daily, did relaxation exercises, and slept at least seven hours a night. The scientists found that the study participants’ DNA became 3.23 years younger, on average, after only two months. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.